Jupiter Belgium pro league Recap #2159

Belgium Football

Eliot Ben-Ner
The Football Hub
10 min readMay 27, 2024


Club Brugge an Improbable Champion

Club Brugge had one of the biggest turnarounds we have ever seen in the Jupiter Belgium pro league. Club Brugge to a degree has dominated Belgium football over the last 5 years or so. Last year Royal Antwerp ended winning the title. The previous three seasons Club Brugge had won the title. However, if we are following the context It is actually stunning that they ended up winning the title. If you take this season from start to finish. I think you would be hard-pressed to find any one person that thought going into the playoff that club Brugge was going to get anywhere near the title. During the first half of the season they finished 5th. They ended up with 51 points, 14 victories nine draws and seven defeats. This was during the first portion of the season. The league leaders at that time was Saint Union. They had 70 points Club Brugge was 19 points away from So even going into the playoff, they were not in a very good situation to go and win it. In fact, they were only five points away from potentially not making championship playoff round at all. They had a horrific regular season. Then they sacked the manager before bringing in Nicky Hayden This completely changed the complexion of their season. In the playoffs they ended up winning seven of their 10 games along with three draws. They ended up with 24 points from 10 matches. Saint Union lost their first four matches. Anderlecht also did very well in the playoffs. However, it was Saint Union’s struggles that gave a platform for Club Brugge to take back Belgium. It was all very close in the end. Their final three matches were against Saint Union, Anderlecht and Cercle Brugge. These final three matches were going to dictate whether or not they were going to win the title. They got a draw against Union honestly they probably should have won on that occasion. A late equalizer from Saint Union prevented them from taking maximum points. The second to last game of the season the most important clash a victory for them would have put them in the driver’s seat they went to Anderlecht and narrowly beat them 1–0. All that needed to happen was get a draw in the Brugge Derby against Cercle and they would be Champions. Union ended up winning and Royal Antwerp came from behind to beat Anderlecht neither of the two sides could put the pressure on them. Club Brugge played out a goalless draw as they take the title. It was a roller coaster of a ride of a season. They never should have been in a position to win the title. So it’s not purely on them alone. They put together an incredible 10-game run. They also made it to the conference League Semifinal. The only loss they had since the playoff began was in the semi-final against Fiorentina. Since Nicky came in, they did not lose another. They had some pretty special individuals that had good seasons. However, they really kind of came on strong during this 10-game run and ultimately played a huge role in them winning the title. Skov Olson was probably the most dynamic player on the team and a secret weapon. He ended up with 26 goals and eight assists in all competitions, Tiago was the top scorer with 29 goals and six assists and fullback Maxim De Cuyper end it up with five goals and 15 assists. They contributed all season but when all the money was in the middle of the table, they thrived under their circumstances and was able to deliver. They have won the title again for the fourth time in 5 years. However, there’s something incredibly special about this season, in particular, considering what they had to overcome to become Champions again. This shouldn’t have happened. However, when they had opportunities to close the gap and do something significant in the playoff, they delivered on it! Once they got the ball rolling in the playoff. No one could stop them as they win title number 19!

Anderlecht: Falls short of Title but Back to Europe

Anderlecht Last season was coming off their worst campaign in over a decade. The purple side of Brussels is the most successful team in Belgium. They have won the title 34 times. However, they’ve gone through a bit of a drought. The last time they’ve won the title was the 2016-17 season. They haven’t really put themselves in position to become champion again. However Last season was their worst in such a long time. They didn’t sniff Europe. They found themselves away from the championship playoff. That’s how poor they were. The yellow side of Brussels consistently has beaten them since they were promoted from the Belgium second division. Saint Union has called their number and has for the most part dominated. Last season their top scorer only scored eight goals in the league. Their top scorer in all competitions only scored 11. They were drowned out completely and had a horrific season. They then lost the opening match of the season to Saint Union. It felt as if it was going to be another disappointing season. As it turns out though, they had a lot better season than anyone expected. They brought in some weaponry with Casper Schmichael as the starting goalkeeper on a short-term deal. They got Ludwig Augustinsson At left back on loan from Sevilla, Hazard from Dortmund, Thomas Delaney from from Sevilla, Louis Vasquez from Boca Juniors, Mat Rits from Club Brugge and Kasper Dolberg from Nice. They did their due diligence in the transfer market and actually it paid off for them. Almost everyone I mentioned contributed to a team that already had the experience and leadership with Jan Vertonghen and a young rising Talent in Midfield in Yari Verschaeren. Casper Dolberg scored 15 goals and five assists this season. Anders Dreyer ended up with 21 goals and nine assists. They actually show that they have a bit more quality than the 11th place showing from the season before. In the regular season they were a lot better than anyone expected. They finished with 63 points with 18 victories nine draws and only three losses. They started a reasonably well in the playoff. They then beat Saint Union for the first time in many years to at the time go top of the table. Now they drop points after that and maybe didn’t have the proper conviction in many ways to then maintain their level and when the title however they didn’t come up too short. Four wins, two draws and four losses isn’t a great showing nevertheless, they made leaps this season. They lost narrowly to Club Brugge in the second to last game of the season had they not lost they could have got their hands on the title That’s how close it was. They lost their last match of the season but in the grand scheme it didn’t matter because even if they had won that game it wasn’t going to stop club Brugge from winning the title unless they were to lose. However, the most important thing is they made huge progress in getting back in business. They made the right sort of adjustments. They brought the right pieces in. However, most importantly after missing out on Europe completely They will be making a return to the Europa League as they will be in the playoff for the group stage. Unfortunately, they finish third three points behind their rivals but making a return to the Europa League will be very important for them. Considering their reputation in Belgium, a return to Europe is essential. A few more pieces added and they could be right in the thick of it again next season. They went from 11th to 3rd in one season. That’s a huge jump in the right direction and will be a bit even bigger threat next season.

Saint Union: Ends trophy drought but Second Again

Saint Union had another terrific season but fell short of the mark once again. Ever since they’ve been promoted, they have been knocking on the door to win the league title. Next season will be their fourth attempt to secure it. As it has been grabbed from them each of the last three seasons. Saint Union has been in a prime position to win their first title since 1934. Yet they have failed time and time again to get it over the line. To say it simply, they have choked away the title yet again. There are several positive aspects of this season that they can attribute to one thing or another. However, the big picture is they have failed to do so again. After the regular season Saint Union ended up with 70 points. Second place had 63 points. They had a relatively good cushion. They only lost two matches during the regular season. With 21 wins, seven draws and two losses. They had dominated the competition and was thriving ahead of Club Brugge A team that had struggled during the first part of the season. They had the head-to-head against their crosstown rivals and continue to show that they are the best of the best in Belgium. It looked as if they were going to get it over the line finally. However, despite all that it came crashing down again. They have gone through three managers over the last three seasons continuing to make changes. Hoping that they can finally get their hands on something significant. Last year Royal Antwerp grabbed it out of their hands in the final seconds of the Season. 88 years of nothing was about to end and then obviously it didn’t. They continue to put together some really strong squads. I have nothing but respect for the way they’ve gone about their business. So as much as we can rag on their inability to close they adapted quite well. Victor Boniface departed for Leverkusen and Simone Adingra returned to Brighton after spending last season at St. Union on loan. He scored 14 goals in all competitions while a Boniface scored a 21. That is 36 goals that walked out the door. However, the attack was the least of their problems. Cameron Puertas Probably the player of the season ended up with 14 goals and 23 assists. One of the best stat lines of any player in Europe this season. To put things in perspective, he had more assists than Wirtz who is the best young player on the planet. 37 Goal contributions by himself. Gustaf Nilsson added 17 goals and seven assists and Amoura had 23 goals and eight assists. Their attack produced 54 goals and all competition. Just those three that’s not accounting for the quality that they have back to front. They had everything necessary and collectively I believe actually Alexander Blessing I did a really good job. Just not good enough. They went into the playoff with all the leverage. Then what do they do? In choke artist fashion, they lose their first four games including losing to the purple side of Brussels for the first time in multiple years. Then by the time they get themselves in order Club Brugge is absolutely flying. They gave up the title. That’s just the reality of the situation. The last few years they also did this. However, the way they did it this season is completely inexcusable. They drop four matches in a row to start the season that loosened their Gap substantially allowing the possibility of a different Champion. They end up in second place. Missing the title by one point. Think of that for a minute. If they had lost three of the first four instead of four of the first four, they might have still won the title. I would not make too many changes. I think this squad has a lot of quality and obviously they’re probably going to lose a piece or two but they’ve continuously brought in good pieces that have seen them progress forward. However, to throw away the league the way they did was almost a work of art. That’s how erratic it actually was. That said, they do deserve a bit of credit. They had not one a trophy of any kind. In 88 years. They didn’t come through completely empty-handed. They won the Belgium cup going through Anderlecht and Club Brugge to get to the final and ultimately win it. The Belgium cup should give Alexander Blessing another year to get this right? He did so many good things this season on the bench but just failed miserably at the start of the playoff and it really killed the momentum of the season. It is a successful season based on the fact that they won a trophy for the first time after a nearly 90-year wait. However, the title still has to come and the expectations of the title was clear from the beginning. They ultimately failed to do that, but they don’t go completely empty-handed with the Belgium Cup now in their possession. However, next season there is just no excuse. They must win the title or else big changes should come. However, I don’t think they should make any rash decisions yet. The way they threw it away is obviously unacceptable but winning the trophy should give them a little leeway but next season the expectations are going to be at a sky high and they’re going to be very clear on what they expect. It was a great season in a lot of ways and the growth continues, but being in the driver’s seat to win the title and seeing it slip the way it did sees them fall short of the mark again Perhaps 4th years is the charm?