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Season review: Belgium

Published: Tuesday 4 June 2013, 10.14CET
John van den Brom negotiated RSC Anderlecht's 32nd league crown in his first season in charge, edging out surprise package SV Zulte Waregem on the final day of the season.
by Berend Scholten
from Diest
Season review: Belgium
John van den Brom savours Anderlecht's title success ©Getty Images
Published: Tuesday 4 June 2013, 10.14CET

Season review: Belgium

John van den Brom negotiated RSC Anderlecht's 32nd league crown in his first season in charge, edging out surprise package SV Zulte Waregem on the final day of the season.

RSC Anderlect pipped SV Zulte Waregem to the title on the final day of an engrossing season after Mario Been had steered KRC Genk to their fourth Belgian Cup.

Champions: RSC Anderlecht
John van den Brom's men held a four-point advantage over second-placed Zulte Waregem going into the end-of-season play-offs. The gap was down to two with one game to play, setting up an enticing winner-takes-all showdown at the Constant Vanden Stock stadium. Zulte Waregem were on the cusp of glory when Jens Naessens headed in shortly after half-time before a deflected free-kick from Lucas Biglia confirmed the home team's 32nd league crown.

Cup final: Cercle Brugge KSV 0-2 KRC Genk
Relegation-haunted Cercle Brugge held Been's charges at bay for long periods and Portuguese striker Rudy might have put the underdogs ahead in the first half-hour. Genk's Benjamin De Ceulaer then had an effort saved by Bram Verbist, while Stef Wils' header fizzed past the post. Genk seized the initiative after the interval, and with extra time looming Bennard Kumordzi turned in Khaleem Hyland's free-kick. Jelle Vossen chipped Verbist in the dying seconds as Genk sealed their fourth Belgian Cup success.

European places*
RSC Anderlecht – UEFA Champions League group stage
SV Zulte Waregem – UEFA Champions League third qualifying round
KRC Genk – UEFA Europa League Play-off round
Club Brugge KV – UEFA Europa League third qualifying round
R. Standard de Liège – UEFA Europa League second qualifying round

*Subject to final confirmation from UEFA

Player of the year: Carlos Bacca (Club Brugge KV)
The explosive striker found the net 25 times to help his team finish third and clinch a UEFA Europa League spot. A Colombian international, Bacca's robust approach is complemented by technical proficiency and a neat touch. Having topped the scoring charts, he was voted player of the season by his fellow professionals.

©Roberto Ricciuti/TotalFootball.am

One to watch: Dennis Praet (RSC Anderlecht)
The 19-year-old (right) enjoyed a breakthrough season and caught the eye with his delicious range of passing, tight ball control and artistry. Praet gained invaluable European experience, featuring in five of Anderlecht's UEFA Champions League group games, and seems a certainty for full international honours – maybe sooner rather than later. 

Surprise package: SV Zulte Waregem
The decision to bring back coach Francky Dury – who took the club from third division obscurity to the dizzy heights of Belgium's elite league – proved a masterstroke. Despite missing out on the title by two points, the players were given a civic reception for their magnificent achievements.

Leading scorer: Carlos Bacca, Club Brugge KV (25)

Relegated: K. Beerschot AC

Promoted: KV Oostende

Number: 10
Anderlecht missed ten of their 17 penalties in the league and wobbled again in the Belgian Cup semi-finals, failing to convert from the spot on four occasions in a shoot-out defeat by Genk.

Quote
"I have never won the championship as a coach so this is something beautiful. Now it's time to get drunk." John van den Brom reflects on his first title triumph with Anderlecht. 

Last updated: 04/06/13 10.29CET

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http://www.uefa.com/memberassociations/association=bel/news/newsid=1958474.html#season+review+belgium

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