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Christopher Jones
Christopher Jones

Belgium Pro League: The ultimate fan guide to the clubs, stadiums and culture


Belgium Pro League: A Guide to the Top Division of Belgian Football




If you are a fan of European football, you might have heard of the Belgium Pro League, the highest level of professional football in Belgium. But how much do you know about this league, its teams, its players, and its history? In this article, we will give you a comprehensive overview of the Belgium Pro League, and why you should watch it.




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Introduction




What is the Belgium Pro League?




The Belgium Pro League, also known as the First Division A, is the top-tier football league in Belgium. It was founded in 1895, making it one of the oldest leagues in Europe. The league consists of 18 teams, who play each other twice in a regular season, followed by a playoff phase to determine the champion and the European qualification spots. The league is ranked 8th in Europe by UEFA coefficient, and has produced some of the best players and teams in the continent.


How does the league work?




The regular season of the Belgium Pro League runs from July to April, with each team playing 34 matches. The top four teams at the end of the regular season qualify for the Championship Round, where they play each other twice more to decide the title and the Champions League places. The points from the regular season are halved before the Championship Round. The teams ranked 5th to 8th enter the Conference League Play-off Group, where they compete for a spot in the UEFA Conference League. The teams ranked 9th to 16th are safe from relegation, while the teams ranked 17th and 18th play a Relegation Play-off to determine who drops to the second division.


Who are the current and past champions?




The current champions of the Belgium Pro League are Club Brugge, who won their 17th title in the 2022-23 season. They are also the most successful team in the league's history, followed by Anderlecht with 16 titles, and Union Saint-Gilloise with 11 titles. The most recent champions before Club Brugge were Genk in 2018-19 and Antwerp in 2019-20. The league has seen different periods of dominance by different teams, such as Union Saint-Gilloise in the early 20th century, Anderlecht in the 1960s and 1970s, Club Brugge in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and Genk and Standard Liège in the late 2000s.


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club brugge vs anderlecht live score in the final match of the 2022/23 season of the Belgian Pro League.


The Teams




Anderlecht




Anderlecht are one of the most famous and successful teams in Belgium, having won 16 league titles, 9 Belgian Cups, and 5 European trophies. They are based in Brussels, and play their home games at Lotto Park. They are known for their purple and white colors, their youth academy that produced stars like Vincent Kompany and Romelu Lukaku, and their rivalry with Club Brugge. Their current manager is Vincent Kompany himself, who returned to his boyhood club as a player-coach in 2019.


Club Brugge




Club Brugge are the reigning champions and record holders of the Belgium Pro League, with 17 titles to their name. They are based in Bruges, and play their home games at Jan Breydel Stadium. They are known for their blue and black colors, their passionate fan base, and their European exploits that saw them reach two European Cup finals in 1976 and 1978. Their current manager is Philippe Clement, who led them to their first title in four years in 2020.


Genk




Genk are one of the most recent success stories in Belgian football, having won four league titles since 1999, the last one in 2019. They are based in Genk, and play their home games at Luminus Arena. They are known for their blue and white colors, their modern and attractive style of play, and their ability to develop young talents like Kevin De Bruyne, Thibaut Courtois, and Kalidou Koulibaly. Their current manager is John van den Brom, who took over in 2020.


Antwerp




Antwerp are the oldest club in Belgium, founded in 1880. They are based in Antwerp, and play their home games at Bosuilstadion. They are known for their red and white colors, their loyal and vocal supporters, and their historic achievements that include winning the league title in 2020 after 68 years of drought. They also reached the final of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1993, losing to Parma. Their current manager is Brian Priske, who joined in 2021.


Other notable teams




Besides the four teams mentioned above, there are other notable teams in the Belgium Pro League that have their own history, identity, and fan base. Some of them are:


  • Standard Liège: The most successful team from the French-speaking part of Belgium, with 10 league titles and 8 Belgian Cups. They are based in Liège, and play their home games at Stade Maurice Dufrasne. They are known for their red and white colors, their fierce rivalry with Anderlecht, and their passionate fans who create a great atmosphere at their stadium.



  • Gent: The second most successful team from the Flemish-speaking part of Belgium, with one league title and four Belgian Cups. They are based in Ghent, and play their home games at Ghelamco Arena. They are known for their blue and white colors, their nickname "The Buffalos", and their impressive run to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League in 2015-16.



  • Charleroi: The surprise package of the 2020-21 season, finishing third in the regular season and qualifying for the Championship Round for the first time. They are based in Charleroi, and play their home games at Stade du Pays de Charleroi. They are known for their black and white colors, their nickname "The Zebras", and their resilience under manager Karim Belhocine.



The Players




Top scorers of the 2022-23 season




The Belgium Pro League is not only a showcase for teams, but also for individual players who display their skills and goalscoring abilities. Here are the top five scorers of the 2022-23 season so far:


RankNameTeamGoals


1Noa LangClub Brugge18


2Paul OnuachuGenk16


3Lior RefaelovAntwerp14


4Kaveh RezaeiCharleroi13


5Lukas NmechaAnderlecht12


Best players of the 2022-23 season




Besides scoring goals, there are other aspects of the game that make a player stand out from the rest. Here are some of the best players of the 2022-23 season so far, based on their performances, statistics, and ratings:


  • Noa Lang: The Dutch winger has been a revelation for Club Brugge since joining from Ajax on loan in 2020. He has scored 18 goals and provided 11 assists in 25 games, making him the most productive player in the league. He has also impressed with his dribbling skills, creativity, and flair.



  • Hans Vanaken: The Belgian midfielder has been the engine of Club Brugge's midfield for several seasons, and has continued his form in 2022-23. He has scored 10 goals and provided 9 assists in 26 games, making him the second most productive player in the league. He has also excelled with his passing accuracy, vision, and leadership.



  • Simon Mignolet: The Belgian goalkeeper has been a rock for Club Brugge's defense, keeping 13 clean sheets in 26 games, the most in the league. He has also made 67 saves, conceding only 19 goals, giving him a save percentage of 77.9%. He has also shown his experience, composure, and distribution skills.



  • Paul Onuachu: The Nigerian striker has been a goal machine for Genk since joining from Midtjylland in 2019. He has scored 16 goals in 25 games, making him the second top scorer in the league. He has also impressed with his physical presence, aerial ability, and finishing skills.



  • Lior Refaelov: The Israeli midfielder has been a key player for Antwerp since joining from Club Brugge in 2019. He has scored 14 goals and provided 7 assists in 25 games, making him the third most productive player in the league. He has also dazzled with his technique, creativity, and free-kick skills.



Famous players who played in the Belgium Pro League




The Belgium Pro League has been a breeding ground for many famous players who went on to achieve great things in other leagues and national teams. Here are some of


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