The story has been known for a while: due to the poor European performance in recent years, the next champion of the Jupiler Pro League will no longer be assured of a place in the Champions League. After all, our country had fallen out of the top ten in the coefficient ranking of the European football association UEFA, which decides who gets which European tickets. This means that next summer almost all our European participants will have to enter a preliminary round earlier, and our champion will have to fight his way through the difficult preliminary rounds of the Champions League.
But this season, the Belgian clubs have hit back hard. The course of Club Brugge, Union, Anderlecht, AA Gent and the already eliminated Antwerp is the sixth best in Europe after the two victories of Anderlecht and AA Gent last night, after the five top countries England, Germany, Italy, Spain and France. Our country has so far collected 11,400 coefficient points, our highest number since 2017. If we can take three more European victories, this will officially be our best season ever.
At least as important, however, is that the competition in the battle for that direct Champions League ticket has been dealt a blow. Scotland lost all its direct participants before New Year and now Austria and Serbia have also seen their last participant die: RB Salzburg was knocked out by AS Roma, Partizan Belgrade surprisingly happened to the same against Sheriff Tiraspol.
Only Turkey can pass us this season
Our country was already certain that it would be in the top ten of the coefficient ranking after the end of this season. At the moment, of the countries below us, only Turkey can theoretically pass us if the remaining Turkish participants Fenerbahçe (in the Europa League), Sivasspor and Basaksehir (in the Conference League) all reach the final or semi-finals. But even if that happens, our direct Champions League ticket would no longer be in jeopardy.
This means that all results that the Belgian clubs still get (a win yields 0.400 points, a draw 0.200) is pure bonus. Extra buffer to sit well in the coming years and to strengthen our eighth place. If our clubs can maintain this level in the coming years, they could even launch a cautious attack on the sixth place in the Netherlands in the long term. From that place, a country receives not one, but two direct representatives in the Champions League. But there is still a lot of work to do before that: the gap with the Netherlands is currently… 19,900 coefficient points.
Coefficient ranking at the moment:
1. England 103,855 (7 more European participants)
2. Spain 89,712 (5 more European participants)
3. Germany 80,606 (7 more European participants)
4. Italy 74,354 (7 more European participants)
5. France 60,331 (2 more European participants)
6. The Netherlands 57,300 (2 more European participants)
7. Portugal 54,716 (3 more European participants)
8. Belgium 39,400 (4 more European participants)
9. Scotland 36,400 (no more European participants)
10. Austria 34,000 (no more European participants)
11. Serbia 32,375 (no more European participants)
12. Turkey 31,500 (3 more European participants)
13. Switzerland 29,675 (1 more European participant)
14. Ukraine 29,300 (1 more European participant)
15. Czech Republic 29,050 (no more European participants)