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Belgian football : Belgian First Division 2017/2018 season preview

Anderlecht clinch 34th Belgian title

Anderlecht won a Belgian league record 34th title and their first in three years with one game to play last season. After Brugge dominated the early part of the season, Anderlecht strongly came back and recovered the lead in the 30th and final round of the regular season. They never looked back in the decisive playoff mini-league among the top six finishers, whose points from the regular season had been halved. The top finish gives Anderlecht a place in this season's Champions League group stage.

  • Champions: Anderlecht (Champions League group stage)
  • Club Brugge (Champions League QR3)
  • Gent (UEFA Europa League QR3)
  • Oostende (UEFA Europa League QR3)
  • Cup winners: Zulte Waregem (UEFA Europa League group stage)
  • Relegated: Westerlo
  • Promoted: Antwerp

Westerlo were relegated after finishing last in the 2016/17 season, while second-division champions Antwerp returned to the first division after 13 years.

teamtitles12/1313/1414/1515/1617/18
Anderlecht3411321
Club Brugge1433212
Standard10424109
Mechelen49117117
Genk356948
Beveren21213141314
Gent1710133
Zulte Waregem-241366
Lokeren-658911
Kortrijk-1486710
Charleroi-119585
Oostende--71154
Mouscron---101215
Sint-Truiden----1412
Eupen-----13
Antwerp4-----

The number of titles since 1896. Cercle Brugge - the Belgian champions 1911, 1927 and 1930. Beerschot, the Belgian champions 1922, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1928, 1938, and 1939, merged into Germinal Beerschot Antwerpen (GBA), now Beerschot.

Ivan Leko returns to Brugge

Ivan Leko is Club Brugge's new head coach. The 39-year-old Croatian has signed a two-year contract to replace Michel Preud'homme, who decided to leave the club after four seasons. Leko started as a trainer at Leuven and also worked at Sint-Truiden. His playing career took him to Hajduk Split, Malaga, Club Brugge, Beerschot and Lokeren. He had 13 caps for the national team of Croatia. Meanwhile, former Espanyol and Eupen manager Tintin Marquez has been named as new boss of Sint-Truiden.

This page contains additional information about the 2017/2018 Belgian First Division season. Latest news, statistics, results and predictions you can find on our main Euro Football > Belgium page.

Sa Pinto named coach of Standard Liege

Former Portuguese international Ricardo Sa Pinto, 44, has been named as the new coach of Standard Liege. Sa Pinto played for Standard towards the end of his playing career. Last season, he coached Greek outfit Atromitos, while he previously coached Sporting Lisbon amongst others. Standard are 10-time Belgian champions but have just endured a disappointing season, missing out on the Belgian championship play-offs for the second season running.

#teampointsg.dif.win-draw-loss
Championship play-offs
1Anderlecht5286-3-1
2Brugge4524-3-3
3AA Gent4154-4-2
4Oostende37-33-3-4
5Charleroi3532-4-4
6Waregem33-91-3-6
Group A
1Sint-Truiden22167-1-2
2Mechelen16-95-1-4
3Beveren15-25-0-5
4Standard1434-2-4
5Union SG10-43-1-6
6Lierse10-43-1-6
Group B
1Genk26228-2-0
2Lokeren1513-6-1
3Eupen1303-4-3
4Kortrijk12-73-3-4
5Mouscron8-112-2-6
6Roeselare7-52-1-7

Belgian football league playoff standings for season 2016/2017

Other coaching changes

Philippe Clement has been appointed as the new coach of Waasland-Beveren. He was part of the Club Brugge staff since 2011 where he was youth coach first and assistant-coach afterwards. Clement replaces Cedomir Janevski, who left his post at the end of last season. Former coach of Nancy, Rennes, Monaco and Lens Laszlo Boloni is the new manager of promoted Royal Antwerp. Former Roda manager Yannis Anastasiou has signed a three-year deal with Kortrijk starting this season. Anastasiou was also manager of Greek side Panathinaikos where he won the Greek Cup in 2014.

Bookmakers tip Anderlecht for Belgian title

According to online bookmakers, Anderlecht is the favourite team to win this year's Belgian championship. Their main title rivals are Brugge and Gent.

teamoddsteamodds
Anderlecht2.5Mechelen101
Club Brugge3.25Antwerp251
Gent6Kortrijk251
Genk9St Truiden301
Oostende21Lokeren401
Standard Liege26Eupen501
Zulte Waregem51Waasland-Beveren501
Charleroi67Royal Excel Mouscron1001

Preseason odds for the outright winner of the 2017/18 Belgian football league

Belgian Cup finals in last five years

2017   Zulte Waregem - Oostende   3:3   (4:2 on penalties)
2016   Standard Liege - Club Brugge   2:1
2015   Club Brugge - Anderlecht   2:1
2014   Lokeren - Zulte Waregem   1:0
2013   Genk - Cercle Brugge   2:0

Key players
(transfer market value in m€)

Anderlecht

Goalkeeper Matz Sels (5); Defense: Kara (7), Andy Najar (5), Ivan Obradovic (3); Midfield: Leander Dendoncker (15), Sofiane Hanni (7), Nicolae Stanciu (5.5), Sven Kums (5), Adrien Trebel (5); Forward: Lukasz Teodorczyk (12.5), Henry Onyekuru (7).

Brugge

Goalkeeper Guillaume Hubert (1.2); Defense: Bjorn Engels (8), Stefano Denswil (5), Laurens De Bock (3), Ricardo van Rhijn (3); Midfield: Ruud Vormer (6), Hans Vanaken (5), Marvelous Nakamba (3); Forward: Jose Izquierdo (14), Jelle Vossen (4.5), Abdoulay Diaby (3.5).

Charleroi

Goalkeeper Parfait Mandanda (0.6); Defense: Clinton Mata (3), Steeven Willems (1.2), Dorian Dessoleil (0.8), Nurio Fortuna (0.8); Midfield: Christophe Diandy (1.2), Enes Saglik (1), Dodi Lukebakio (0.8); Forward: Chris Bedia (1), Amara Baby (0.9), David Pollet (0.9).

Eupen

Goalkeeper Hendrik Van Crombrugge (1.2); Defense: Ibrahim Diallo (0.7), Abdelkarim Hassan (0.7), Jordan Loties (0.5), Moussa Wague (0.5); Midfield: Jean Thierry Lazare Amani (1.3), Nils Schouterden (0.8), Diawandou Diagne (0.7); Forward: Eric Ocansey (1.5), Nicolas Verdier (0.9), Akram Afif (0.6).

Genk

Goalkeeper Laszlo Koteles (0.6); Defense: Omar Colley (3), Jakub Brabec (2.5), Sebastien Dewaest (2.5); Midfield: Alejandro Pozuelo (8), Ruslan Malinovsky (4), Sander Berge (3.5), Pierre Desire Zebli (2.7); Forward: Nikolaos Karelis (4.5), Leandro Trossard (4), Siebe Schrijvers (3.5).

Gent

Goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic (5); Defense: Thomas Foket (3.5), Samuel Gigot (3), Stefan Mitrovic (2.2); Midfield: Renato Neto (5), Franko Andrijasevic (4), Brecht Dejaegere (3.5), Kenny Saief (3); Forward: Yuya Kubo (5), Moses Simon (4.5), Kalifa Coulibaly (3).

Kortrijk

Goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski (0.9); Defense: Bryan Verboom (0.8), Vladimir Kovacevic (0.5), Tomislav Barbaric (0.4); Midfield: Hannes Van der Bruggen (1.2), Elohim Rolland (1), Abdul Ajagun (0.9), Christophe Lepoint (0.7); Forward: Pylyp Budkivsky (2), Teddy Chevalier (1.5), Herve Kage (1.2).

Lokeren

Goalkeeper Davino Verhulst (0.8); Defense: Stefano Marzo (1.5), Ari Freyr Skulason (0.9), Mario Ticinovic (0.9); Midfield: Killian Overmeire (0.9), Mehdi Terki (0.8), Joher Khadim Rassoul (0.8), Steve De Ridder (0.7); Forward: Luciano Slagveer (1), Guus Hupperts (0.8), Tom De Sutter (0.8).

Mechelen

Goalkeeper Colin Coosemans (1.5); Defense: Uros Vitas (1.3), Aleksandar Bjelica (1.2), Seth De Witte (1), Edin Cocalic (1); Midfield: Mats Rits (2.5), Rob Schoofs (1.2), Dimitrios Kolovos (1.2), Ahmed El Messaoudi (1); Forward: Andy Kawaya (0.5), Nicklas Pedersen (0.5).

Oostende

Goalkeeper Silvio Proto (1.2); Defense: Antonio Milic (2), Nicolas Lombaerts (1.8), Zarko Tomasevic (1.5); Midfield: Fernando Canesin (2.2), Sebastien Siani (2), Andile Jali (1.2), Michiel Jonckheere (1.2); Forward: Knowledge Musona (2.5), Richairo Zivkovic (2.5), Yassine El Ghanassy (2).

Royal Antwerp

Goalkeeper Sinan Bolat (0.5); Defense: Moustapha Sall (0.9), Steve Colpaert (0.5), Frederic Duplus (0.5); Midfield: Johanna Omolo (0.5), Geoffry Hairemans (0.5), Faris Haroun (0.5); Forward: Ivo Rodrigues (0.9), Tuur Dierckx (0.8), Joeri Dequevy (0.5), William Owusu Acheampong (0.5).

Royal Excel Mouscron

Goalkeeper Logan Bailly (0.3); Defense: Bruno Godeau (0.9), Dino Arslanagic (0.9), Mergim Vojvoda (0.6), Jeremy Huyghebaert (0.4); Midfield: Omar Govea (0.7), Aristote Nkaka (0.7), Dimitri Mohamed (0.6), Selim Amallah (0.3); Forward: Filip Markovic (0.9), Jonathan Bolingi (0.5).

Sint-Truidense

Goalkeeper Lucas Pirard (0.9); Defense: Stelios Kitsiou (1), Djene (0.8), Jorge Teixeira (0.8), Fabien Antunes (0.6); Midfield: Charilaos Charisis (1), Sascha Kotysch (0.6), Steven De Petter (0.5); Forward: Igor Vetokele (1.2), Yohan Boli (0.9), Cristian Ceballos (0.7).

Standard

Goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa (3); Defense: Alexander Scholz (4), Konstantinos Laifis (3), Milos Kosanovic (2.5), Corentin Fiore (1.5); Midfield: Uche Agbo (3), Razvan Marin (2), Valerii Luchkevych (1.2); Forward: Ishak Belfodil (6), Edmilson Junior (3.5), Mathieu Dossevi (3.5).

Waasland-Beveren

Goalkeeper Merveille Goblet (0.7); Defense: Laurent Jans (1.2), Jonathan Buatu Mananga (0.7), Rudy Camacho (0.7), Erdin Demir (0.7); Midfield: Ibrahima Seck (1.2), Julian Michel (0.9), Jens Cools (0.7), Ryota Morioka (0.7); Forward: Zinho Gano (1.2), Ronnie Schwartz (0.8).

Zulte-Waregem

Goalkeeper Sammy Bossut (1); Defense: Timothy Derijck (1.2), Brian Hamalainen (1.2), Michael Heylen (1), Sandy Walsh (1); Midfield: Julien de Sart (2), Onur Kaya (1.4), Sander Coopman (1.3); Forward: Nill De Pauw (1.8), Aaron Leya Iseka (1.3), Ivan Saponjic (1).

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