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European Football Cup: Belgium must take care of its coefficient to ensure its future in the Champions League

It’s time for the Belgian clubs to take points…

Reading time: 4 mins

Mtuesday evening (6:45 p.m.), FC Bruges is the first of the four Belgian clubs to play the sixth day of the group stage of the European football cups. This will be the last opportunity for Belgian football to collect points to improve its coefficient and thus maintain its direct place for the group stage of the Champions League. The rest of the European season for Belgian clubs is highly uncertain. If La Gantoise is guaranteed to play in the round of 16 of the Conference League, and Antwerp is already eliminated, Club Brugge and Genk must hope for favorable circumstances.

For Club Brugge, third place in Group A, synonymous with qualification for the knockout stages of the Europa League, is the most achievable goal after the disappointment against RB Leipzig a fortnight ago. A difficult task, because to achieve this, the national champions will have to do better in Paris than Leipzig at home against Manchester City. European elimination looms on the horizon.

Racing Genk can also secure a place in the knockout stages of the Europa League. A few days after the dismissal of John van den Brom, the Genkois must win at home against Rapid Vienna and at the same time hope for a defeat of Dinamo Zagreb at West Ham. A third place in the group would mean a dismissal in the Conference League (sixteenth finals).

For Antwerp (against Olympiakos) and Ghent (against Flora Tallinn), the last day has no more sporting interest, but victories bring points for the European ranking.

Objective: 5 points out of 12

A victory in the group stage earns two points, a draw one point (divided by five, the number of participants). In the Europa League and Conference League, there are bonus points for the top two in each group, and qualifying for the Europa League round of 16 again gives a bonus point. In the Conference League, bonus points can only be obtained in the elimination phase from the semi-finals.

After a particularly lean few years on the European stage, Belgian clubs need to get five out of 12 points this week if Belgium is not to lose its direct participant in the Champions League group stage. For next season, there is no problem. In the 2021 coefficient, which will be used, Belgium went from 8th to 9th place with 6,000 points. This will therefore have no unfortunate consequences.

On the other hand, in view of the 2022 coefficient, Belgium is now thirteenth behind Scotland, Austria, Ukraine and Serbia. A place in the top ten at the end of the season is of paramount importance, as it can lead to a direct entry into the Champions League group stage. An eleventh place is sufficient if the winner of the Champions League is also qualified via his championship.

The biggest problem will arise at the start of the 2023-2024 season, for which the 2022 coefficient is used. In this five-year coefficient, the exceptional 2016-2017 season will then fall by the wayside. There were then five Belgian clubs in the group stages, three (Anderlecht, La Gantoise and Racing Genk) in the round of 16 of the Europa League, and after a match between Genk and Ghent, two other teams (Genk and Anderlecht) in quarter-finals.

This season, the coefficient of our country is 5,800 points, 1,600 units behind Ukraine, eleventh in the standings. The advantage is that Belgium still have four teams in contention, while Serbia (2), Ukraine (3), Scotland (2) and Russia (3), the countries just above the table , have to make do with fewer representatives.

For the 2024-2025 season, the disastrous 2017-2018 season will fall, which means that our country will automatically move up a few places in the rankings. From 2024, however, drastic reforms will be implemented in European club football, notably following a redesigned Champions League.


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