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Season review: Belgium

Published: Wednesday 2 June 2010, 12.57CET
After R. Standard de Liège's two successive titles, RSC Anderlecht  responded with their 30th championship, leading from November to claim their first crown since 2007.
by Berend Scholten
Season review: Belgium
Anderlecht captain Olivier Deschacht (centre) and chairman Roger Vanden Stock (right) collect the league championship trophy ©Getty Images
Published: Wednesday 2 June 2010, 12.57CET

Season review: Belgium

After R. Standard de Liège's two successive titles, RSC Anderlecht  responded with their 30th championship, leading from November to claim their first crown since 2007.

RSC Anderlecht were the dominant force in Belgian football, leading the table from November and comfortably claiming their first league title since 2007. With deposed champions R. Standard de Liège ending the regular season in eighth position, there were some unexpected names in the upper echelons of the table.

Champions: RSC Anderlecht
After Standard's two successive titles, Les Mauves responded by claiming their 30th championship – adding a third gold star to their shirts in recognition of the achievement. Ariel Jacobs' side were thankful for the goals of Mbark Boussoufa and Romelu Lukaku for opening up a 12-point lead after 28 matches, Anderlecht increasing their advantage to 18 following the new championship play-offs.

Cup final: Cercle Brugge KSV 0-3 KAA Gent
KAA Gent completed a memorable season in which they had already finished runners-up in the league by claiming the Belgian Cup for the third time. Elimane Coulibaly opened the scoring in the 35th minute before late goals from Mbaye Leye and Christophe Grondin confirmed the trophy would be heading to Ghent for the first time since 1984. Coach Michel Preud'homme ended their long wait for silverware, having guided Standard to the title in 2008 25 years after their previous success.

European places*
RSC Anderlecht – UEFA Champions League third qualifying round
KAA Gent – UEFA Champions League third qualifying round
Club Brugge KV – UEFA Europa League play-off
KRC Genk – UEFA Europa League third qualifying round
Cercle Brugge KSV – UEFA Europa League second qualifying round
*Subject to final confirmation from UEFA

Player of the year: Mbark Boussoufa (RSC Anderlecht)
The Amsterdam-born Moroccan international playmaker was a key figure in Anderlecht's title success, scoring 14 goals and providing 20 assists. He was chosen as player of the year by his fellow professionals for the second year in succession, the third time he has won the award following his success at Gent in 2006 – making him only the fourth player to pick up the prize on three occasions.

One to watch: Romelu Lukaku (RSC Anderlecht)
Still just 17, the tall, powerful forward nevertheless became a regular at Anderlecht this season having become the club's youngest ever player when making his debut against Standard on the final day of the 2008/09 campaign just eleven days after his 16th birthday. The son of a former professional, Lukaku finished with 15 goals – more than any other player.

Surprise package: K. Sint-Truidense VV
Having won promotion as second division champions, Sint-Truidense led the table after six matches – the first time they had occupied first place in 44 years. They took ten points from a possible 12 against Standard and Anderlecht and finished fourth in the championship play-offs, only missing out on next season's UEFA Europa League after losing to KRC Genk in the two-legged qualification play-off final.

Leading scorer: Romelu Lukaku, RSC Anderlecht (15)

Relegated: KSV Roeselare; R. Excelsior Mouscron were declared bankrupt in December

Promoted: K. Lierse SK, KAS Eupen

Number: 16 
Romelu Lukaku became the youngest player ever to finish as top goalscorer in the Belgian league at the age of 16.

Quote:
"At first it looked like I had been bitten by a shark. They gave me an ocean of painkillers in the first few days as I was in real pain, but it got worse after the fourth operation. My wife told me I was biting my pillow to get through it."
Anderlecht defender Marcin Wasilewski describes the double fracture of the leg he suffered in a league game against Standard on 30 August 2009. He made his return to a standing ovation in the final game of the season against Sint-Truidense.

Last updated: 02/06/10 19.25CET

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http://www.uefa.com/memberassociations/association=bel/news/newsid=1494123.html#season+review+belgium

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