Today is the first day of the Playoffs to see who will be crowned champions of Belgium for 2021-22. The top four clubs from the ‘regular season’ – Union Saint-Gilloise, Club Brugge, Anderlecht and Royal Antwerp – will play each other twice, home and away. The twist is that the points gained to-date have been halved, so Union now lead Club Brugge by just three points.
This system, unique to Belgium, means that all four clubs could theoretically win the championship. Looking at the teams and the points differences, it would seem to be a duel between Union Saint-Gilloise, who have had an extraordinary season, and Club Brugge.
At the end of the season, the points gained were: Union 77, Club Brugge 72, Anderlecht 64 and Royal Antwerp 63. This has now been transformed into Union 39, Club Brugge 36, Anderlecht and Royal Antwerp, both on 32.
Today’s fixtures are Club Brugge-Antwerp and Union-Anderlecht. Club Brugge should have enough in their locker to get the three points against Antwerp, while Union will start favourites against Vincent Kompany’s Anderlecht, after doing the double against their Brussels neighbours twice already this season.
Players to look out for are Union’s strike force, Deniz Undav (heading for Brighton in the summer) and Dante Vanzeir – responsible for 38 goals and 17 assists between them so far, Club Brugge’s Charles de Ketelaere (maybe heading for the Premier League) and Anderlecht’s Josh Cullen (who is probably v. The Irish international has only missed 22 minutes this season and is one of the key players in Anderlecht’s engine room.