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Belgium prepares for novel denouement

Published: Thursday 25 March 2010, 21.40CET
Defender Carl Hoefkens said the title was "a realistic goal" for Club Brugge KV as they head in to the inaugural Belgian end-of-season play-offs second in the rankings behind RSC Anderlecht.
by Berend Scholten
Belgium prepares for novel denouement
Club Brugge defender Carl Hoefkens knows all is not lost ©Getty Images
Published: Thursday 25 March 2010, 21.40CET

Belgium prepares for novel denouement

Defender Carl Hoefkens said the title was "a realistic goal" for Club Brugge KV as they head in to the inaugural Belgian end-of-season play-offs second in the rankings behind RSC Anderlecht.

Following the conclusion of the regular season last weekend, Belgian fans are now awaiting the inaugural Eerste Klasse end-of-season play-offs, with everything still to play for.

The 15 sides in the top flight have all played each other home and away so the league now splits into three, with the top six battling for the title, the teams placed seven to 14 vying for a chance of a UEFA Europa League slot and 15th-placed KSV Roeselaere fighting for survival against the teams placed second, third and fourth in the second tier.

RSC Anderlecht finished the regular season 12 points clear of Club Brugge KV, but with every side's final total halved, they will go into the play-offs with just a six-point lead. Club Brugge defender Carl Hoefkens is drawing encouragement from this reduction, saying: "We are going for the title. That seems a realistic goal, although we know that closing the gap in a small number of matches won't be easy."

The top six will play each other home and away before the end of the campaign with the top team taking the title and, along with the runners-up, a place in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round. Third place brings a UEFA Europa League third qualifying round berth, while the side in fourth (or fifth if one of the top four wins the Belgian Cup) have further work ahead. Read on.

The clubs in the second play-off section have had their points' totals returned to zero and have been split into two groups (KV Mechelen, KSV Cercle Brugge, KVC Westerlo and KSC Lokeren OV in Group A; R. Standard de Liège, KFC Germinal Beerschot Antwerpen, KRC Genk and R. Charleroi SC in Group B). They will play each other home and away, with the winners of each group meeting in a final home-and-away tie.

The winners of that game will play the fourth (or fifth) placed side in the first play-off group, with the winner taking a UEFA Europa League second qualifying round place.

Last updated: 26/03/10 10.34CET

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