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Season review: Luxembourg

Published: Monday 2 June 2014, 9.21CET
F91 Dudelange clinched their 11th league title in a dramatic final-day fixture against rivals CS Fola Esch but missed out on the double when FC Differdange 03 won the cup final.
by Andreas Königl
Season review: Luxembourg
Dudelange are champions of Luxembourg once again ©Getty Images
Published: Monday 2 June 2014, 9.21CET

Season review: Luxembourg

F91 Dudelange clinched their 11th league title in a dramatic final-day fixture against rivals CS Fola Esch but missed out on the double when FC Differdange 03 won the cup final.

Regular champions F91 Dudelange bounced back from a barren season to claim their 11th title in Luxembourg since the turn of the century following a tight end-of-term run-in. The double eluded them, however, as they fell to FC Differdange 03 in the cup final, the latter lifting the trophy for the third time in the last five years.

Champions: F91 Dudelange
The race for league glory has rarely been more exciting than this year. Dudelange and defending champions CS Fola Esch marched clear for over half the campaign and were never separated by more than three points. The side from Dudelange finally overtook their title rivals four games before the end, only to then surrender top spot on the penultimate matchday with their third defeat of the season. The championship was ultimately decided on the final day as the two challengers went head to head, with F91 recording a 3-0 home win against Fola to secure the First Division trophy.

Cup final: FC Differdange 03 2-0 F91 Dudelange
After losing last year's final to AS Jeunesse Esch, Differdange were able to celebrate their third Luxembourger Cup win since the 2009/10 campaign. Playing in front of close to 2,900 spectators at the Stade Josy Barthel, Antonio Luisi put Michel Leflochmoan's team in front in first-half stoppage time. Dudelange lost Romain Ney to a red card shortly after the restart and Geoffrey Franzoni then settled matters from the penalty spot, wrapping up a 2-0 victory in the 54th minute.

European places*
F91 Dudelange – UEFA Champions League, second qualifying round
CS Fola Esch – UEFA Europa League, first qualifying round
FC Differdange 03 – UEFA Europa League, first qualifying round
AS Jeunesse Esch – UEFA Europa League, first qualifying round

*Subject to final confirmation from UEFA

Player of the year: Sanel Ibrahimović (AS Jeunesse Esch)
The name says it all – and even though Sanel is not related to Paris Saint-Germain ace Zlatan, that did not stop him finishing top scorer, much like his namesake in France. It was the second time the 26-year-old has received the accolade and this term his tally of 22 league goals also earned him a maiden player of the year award, ahead of last year's winner Stefano Bensi and Thierry Steimetz.

One to watch: Julien Jahier (F91 Dudelange)
The French frontman arrived in Luxembourg last summer from FC de Rouen 1899 and, at 33, has had something of a second coming. He bagged 21 goals in 22 First Division games, putting him second in the scoring charts. More importantly, it was his hat-trick in the last game of the season against Fola Esch which helped his club seal the championship.

Surprise package: FC Progrès Niedercorn
Things have been quiet in recent years for the three-time Luxembourger champions, although last term they only narrowly avoided relegation with a 1-0 extra-time victory over FC UNA Strassen in the relegation play-off. They hit an upwards curve this campaign, however, and even led the table with an unbeaten record up until matchday seven. They eventually came a respectable fifth, falling just one point short of a UEFA Europa League qualifying spot.

Leading scorer: Sanel Ibrahimovic, AS Jeunesse Esch (22)

Relegated: Racing FC Union Lëtzebuerg, FC Swift Hesper, RM Hamm Benfica

Promoted: FC Victoria Rosport, US Hostert, US Mondorf-les-Bains

Number: 0
All or nothing – that seemed to be the motto of Differdange this term, with Leflochmoan's side not drawing any of their 26 league matches (17 wins, 9 defeats). The last team to do that were CA Spora Luxembourg in 2003/04 – when there were only 22 games a season – before they promptly merged with other clubs to form Racing FC Union Lëtzebuerg.

Quote
"It's indescribable, simply indescribable. We have fought all year and we've gone onto the pitch today and won the thing. Our goalkeeper played amazingly; we were all brilliant and in the end it's a deserved victory."
Goalscorer Antonio Luisi after lifting the cup with Differdange

Last updated: 02/06/14 9.21CET

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