Jupiler League Preview 2009

2 weeks to go and the new football season begins in Belgium. And it will be a real fresh start. The competition has been revised to increase top games, generate more income from the TV rights and decrease the number of teams within the top league.

From this season on there will be only 16 teams in the Belgium Jupiler League. The season is also split in two parts. In part 1 all teams play in a regular home and away format against each other. At the end of this part. The competition is played further in 3 play-off leagues. The top 6 will play the champion play-offs. All teams will take 50% of their earned points to this. The winner of this play-off is the Champion of Belgium. The second will play the qualification for the CL, the third will get rewarded with a ticker for the EL. Number 4 will play an elimination match against the winner of the other 2 play-off leagues for the remaining EL tickets.

The numbers 7 to 14 are divided into 2 separate play-off leagues. No points are taken from the regular competition. Both winners of the league will play each other and the winner will face number 4 of the champions play-offs for the remaining EL tickets.

Number 15 will play a promotion/relegation play-off with the number 2, 3 and 4 of the Exqui league.
Number 16 will relegate to the second division.

So that's the format. Now let's have a look at the major transfers.
Well to be honest there aren't any. Although it is quiet a surprise that Champion Standard Liege (at the moment) only lost 1 key player. (Onyewu to Ac Milan) But the transfer window is still open until the end of August so a lot can happen.
No big names are moving in Anderlecht. Club Brugge did buy Donk, but if that is the biggest transfer in Belgium the crisis is really hitting the competition hard.
These 4 teams will probably reach the champion play-offs.

For the other 2 places it will be a fight between Genk, GBA, Westerlo and Zulte Waregem.


The 2 candidates for the title are of course Standard Liege and Anderlecht. Both teams are more or less unchanged. I favor Anderlecht a little bit more. Standard will loose some points in the beginning due to the CL.
The outsiders are Gent and Club Brugge. The question is how Gent can replace Ruiz, who has been sold (on request) to FC Twente. Club Brugge has to make up for a lost year but I don't believe they will with an almost unchanged team.

At the bottom it is really hard to favor a team for relegation. STVV, the second division champions, have a real small squad. Mouscron still has financial problems and Roeselare lost MacDonald to GBA.

I'm still waiting if Unibet will offer bets on which team will play which play-off.

Cheers,
Dremeber

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