Belgium in Europe: 2024/25 Coefficient Preview

The 2024/25 European season is quickly approaching, with 236 clubs set to compete in UEFA’s continental club competitions this season.

With the first qualifying round draws two weeks away, Extratime Talk will be providing a comprehensive coefficient preview. Between now and then, each country will be previewed, and all clubs discussed.

In these articles, we will provide analyses of what to expect from each country in Europe. We will all explore what is on the line from a coefficient standpoint, and the keys to succeeding.

In what is now the 20th article of this series, we take a look at Belgium, and what to expect from their clubs.

Belgium In Europe: Country Profile

Previous Season Coefficient (Rank)14.400 (6th)
Previous Season’s 5-Year Coefficient (Rank)48.800 (8th)
Starting 5-Year Coefficient (Rank)42.400 (8th)

The last two years of continental football have seen Belgium break their seasonal record twice. Thus, it should come as little surprise that Belgium has the sixth highest coefficient across the two most recent seasons, with only the ‘Big 5’ league collecting more points.

Entering a new era of European club competition, where the formats have changed, Belgium will have the challenge of trying to continue the success that they have had in recent times. A surprising name is in the group of clubs representing the Jupiler Pro League in Europe next term. That could either be a blessing in disguise, or danger.

Belgium In Europe: Club Profile

ClubQualified AsRound of EntryTotal European SeasonsLast Season’s Performance5-Year Club Coefficient (2023/24)5-Year Country Coefficient Contribution, 2023/24 (%)
Club BruggeDomestic ChampionUCL League Phase53UECL Semifinals64.00014.400 (29.51%)
Union St. GilloiseDomestic Runner-upUCL Q3, League Path8UECL Round of 1627.0006.600 (13.5%)
RSC AnderlechtDomestic Third PlaceUEL Playoff Round62N/A14.5003.900 (7.99%)
Cercle BruggeDomestic Fourth PlaceUEL Q24N/A9.760N/A
AA GentDomestic Playoff Tournament WinnerUECL Q2, Main Path24UECL Knockout Round Playoffs45.00011.800 (24.18%)

Club Brugge had a dramatic end to the 2023/24 season. They reached a continental semifinal for the first time in 32 years, while overcoming a 19-point deficit from the regular season to win their 19th Belgian title. The latter allows Blauw-Zwart to make a return to the Champions League, starting in the new league phase. They reached the competition’s round of 16 the season before last, and will hope to mimic that performance again.

Union Saint-Gilloise will be playing in UCL Q3 for the second time in three years. As has been the story in the three seasons since their return to the top flight, USG could not hold on to the lead. Unlike last year, where they were pipped to second spot on the final day, Union finished second. USG will look for a third knockout round appearance in a row having played in the UEL quarterfinal two years ago.

Anderlecht finished in third, putting them in the UEL playoff round. The country’s record champions make their 62nd European appearance after having not played in Europe in 2023/24. Anderlecht made the quarterfinals of the Conference League in 2021/22, losing to AZ on penalties. They are one of three Belgian sides to have reached that far in Europe, alongside Club Brugge and Gent.

Cercle Brugge finished fourth in the regular season as well as playoffs, passing Genk on the final day. That allowed De Vereniging to make a European return some 14 years after their last appearance. That year was the only one in which they moved past a round. Cercle starts in UEL Q2, needing to progress two times to make a league phase.

Back in the Conference League yet again, Gent defeated Genk in a play-in match for Belgium’s UECL Q2 spot. Thus, De Buffalo’s get to enjoy European football for the 10th year running. They will be seeded throughout qualifying, and is currently the third highest ranked team in the Conference League. They are one of two teams – the other being Bodø/Glimt – to participate in the UECL knockout rounds in all three years of its existence.

Belgium’s Season Ambitions

For Belgium, after the last two years, which saw them consolidate eighth spot, now is the time for them to look for more. While pushing for seventh spot might be a bit much to ask this season, the aim will be to close the gap on Portugal – and possibly Netherlands too – for sixth and seventh. Belgium only has 6.000 coefficient points to defend this season, in comparison to Portugal’s 9.600. So, if Belgium can outdo Portugal in the seasonal coefficient again, that could put the latter in trouble for 2025/26.

Moreover, Belgium may have an eye on the European Performance Spots. If a season like the last one is to occur again, then the Belgians should be smelling blood. An opportunity could be there for a surprise package – that being any country outside of the ‘big 5’ – to sneak into the top two of the seasonal coefficient. Netherlands did it in 2021/22, perhaps a Belgium or a Turkey could do so as well.

What a Successful Season Would Be for Belgian Football

After seeing all five of their teams in the group stages last year, Belgium should aim for the same thing next season. The five clubs that represented the country last campaign recorded an impressive 14-4-4 in the qualifiers. That earned Belgium some 3.200 points. Do not underestimate the importance of points in qualifying.

Moreover, Belgium should aim for at least three teams in the knockout rounds. They have had that many (or more) in each of the last two seasons. Depending on Cercle, that could realistically be all five teams making the knockout rounds for Belgium, something that has never happened before. Should that happen, it would be a first for Belgian football, and further suggest that eighth place is not their potential ceiling.

What to Expect From Belgium in 2024/25

Belgium has all the potential to build on the success of the last two seasons. Although Cercle Brugge does not have nearly as much European experience as Club Brugge, Anderlecht and Gent, they will have the advantage of starting in UEL Q2. Thus, do not be surprised if they end up in a league phase.

But, just how far can/will Belgium’s clubs go this season? Speaking with the Pro League’s world feed commentator Will Downing, there is plenty of reason for optimism from a Belgian point of view. When asked as to whether Belgium will hit their own personal best on seasonal coefficients again, Downing said that “there’s nothing to suggest that this can’t be the case again this season.”

As Cercle will also be making a rare European appearance, Downing was asked about the club. “Cercle has been been a wonderful story,” the commentator pointed out, giving credit to coach Miron Muslic. He went on to point out to describe Cercle’s success as “one of those rags-to-riches stories that people love to see, and which Belgian football is full of.”

As to whether they will make a league phase Downing believes it will all come down to who they still have available. “It would be very good if they can hold onto as many (players) as possible, and that for me is the key to success for them or not.”

So, what can we expect from Belgium this season? Expect at least 10.000 points, for starters. It would take an almighty collapse for them to get anything less than that. From there, we can reasonably predict that at least three teams will be in the knockout phase again. Anderlecht, Gent and Club Brugge look the sides most likely to achieve that feat. Union could certainly do it as well, especially if they end up in the UEL. Assuming Cercle does make a league phase, anything they pick up would have to be seen as a bonus.

All in all, we can expect Belgium to once again be in the top 10 of the seasonal coefficient ranking, possibly at around sixth or seventh. That would still have to be a good year for Belgian football at a time where top six in the five-year ranking looks feasible in the coming years. Another strong performance from Belgium, and that will make the likes of Portugal and Netherlands sweat for 2025/26 and beyond.

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