Time to call time out on the Playoffs

By | April 25, 2014

Anderlecht fans turn up for another play-off match.

Anderlecht fans turn up for another play-off match.

A year ago I wrote the following.

“It’s been called the most exciting title race in Europe, but even those using that terminology agree that the Playoffs format falsifies the championship.”

“The games between the top clubs come so thick and fast, it can be too much – financially – for the fans, too much for the smaller squads with injuries and suspensions mounting, and finally, the final round of matches cheapen the classic season that runs from August to March. “

My views have not changed at all. Here we are half way through the playoffs and there are just four points covering the top four clubs. That’s because the points from the classic season are divided by two before the top six play off and then the teams take turns to beat each other in a frantic finish and the advantage lies with the clubs with the biggest/freshest squads.

Eighteen months ago, then Anderlecht coach John Van den Brom said that the 30 games of the ‘classic’ season were not important. Well at least he got that right.

Playoffs 1

So, for the record, the current position is
Standard 40 points, Club Brugge 39, Zulte Waregem 38*, Anderlecht 36, Lokeren 31, Genk 29*. (*played one game more).

At the end of the classic season, the position was:
Standard 67 points, Club Brugge 63, Anderlecht 57, Zulte Waregem 53, Lokeren 51, Genk 45.

So far there have been no big winners from the playoff system. Zulte Waregem, who have done remarkably with a small squad, have started dropping points. Anderlecht have improved primarily due to the division of points by two. Standard have been the big losers; they’ve not been playing well but have managed to stay at the top of the table. At the beginning of the playoffs I tipped Club Brugge and I will stay with them.

Playoffs 2

Oostende and Charleroi are the leading teams. Tomorrow, Oostende play the improving Gent and Charleroi host KV Mechelen, also showing something like better form. Remember that the winners of the Playoffs 2 play the team coming fourth in Playoffs 1 (if it’s Lokeren, I am not sure if the match goes ahead, probably not as Lokeren have already qualified for Europe).

Currently that final match (for a Europa League spot) would be Anderlecht vs Oostende or Charleroi (over two legs).

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