On Tuesday evening (6.45 pm), Club Brugge is the first of four Belgian clubs to play on the sixth day of the group stage of the European Football Cup. This will be the last chance for Belgian football to collect points to fix their coefficient and thus retain their straight place for the Champions League group stage. The rest of the European season is very uncertain for Belgian clubs. If La Gantoise is guaranteed to play in the Conference League round of 16, and Antwerp are already eliminated, Club Brugge and Genk should expect favorable conditions.
For Club Brugge, third place in Group A, synonymous with qualifying for the knockout stages of the Europa League, is the most achievable goal since the disappointment against RB Leipzig two weeks ago. A difficult task, because to achieve this, the national champions would have to do better against Manchester City at home in Paris than in Leipzig. European elimination is on the horizon.
Racing Genk could also book a place in the Europa League round of 32. Days after the dismissal of John van den Broome, Genkois should expect a home win against Rapid Vienna as well as a defeat at West Ham for Dinamo Zagreb. Third place in the group would mean dismissal in the Conference League (Round of 16).
For Antwerp (against Olympiakos) and Ghent (against Flora Tallinn), the last day is no longer of game interest, but victories bring points for the European rankings.
Objective: 5 marks out of 12
A win in the group stage equals two points, a draw equals 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 one bonus point again for qualifying for the knockout stages of the Europa League. In conference leagues, bonus points can only be gained from the semi-finals to the elimination stage.
After some notably lean years on the European scene, Belgian clubs need to score five points out of twelve this week so that Belgium do not lose their direct participant in the Champions League group stage. For next season, no problem. On the 2021 coefficient, which will be used, Belgium has moved from 8th to 9th place with 6,000 points. So it will not have any unfortunate consequences.
On the other hand, looking at the coefficients for 2022, Belgium is now ranked thirteenth ahead of Scotland, Austria, Ukraine and Serbia. A top ten finish at the end of the season is crucial, as it can lead to direct participation in the Champions League group stage. An eleventh place is sufficient if the winner of the Champions League also qualified through their 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 extraordinary 2016-2017 season will again be on edge. The knockout stages of the Europa League featured five Belgian clubs, three (Anderlecht, La Gantois and Racing Genk) in the group stages, and after a match between Genk and Ghent, two other teams (Genk and Anderlecht) entered the quarter-finals.
This season, our country has a coefficient of 5,800 points, for 1,600 units of Ukraine, is ranked eleventh in the standings. The advantage is that Belgium still has four teams in the race, while Serbia (2), Ukraine (3), Scotland (2) and Russia (3), the countries higher up in the standings, should be satisfied 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. However, from 2024, drastic reforms will be implemented in European club football, especially after a redesigned Champions League.
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