Network News: Standard’s Stumble Continues

Standard Liege suffered another setback this week in their quest to gain Champions League qualification by winning the Belgian Pro-League.

Standard won the thirty-game league by four points but  the championship in Belgium is decided over a series of ten play-off games between the top six sides.  Each club begins this play-off series with half the points it achieved in the thirty game season,  so Standard’s lead over Club Brugge was cut to two points (34 v 32).  Anderlecht had 29, Zulte-Waregem 27, followed by Lokeren 26 and Genk 23.

Standard saw off Anderlecht 1-0 but were then beaten  2-0 at Zulte-Waregem.  Their next  game saw them draw 2-2 away to Genk but last night they were held 2-2 at home by Lokeren, coming from 0-2 down and only equalising in the 86th minute.   Brugge also lost at Zulte-Waregem but managed to beat Genk 2-0 on Wednesday evening  to move to within 1 point of Standard.   Zulte-Waregem are the form team, having won three and drawn one (a creditable 0-0 at Anderlecht) of their play-off games. They are now only 2 points behind Standard despite finishing 13 points behind them in the “regular” thirty game season.

Zulte-Waregem appear to be the team to watch.  They finished runners-up last year and played in Wigan’s group in the Europa League.   Based in the Flemish town of Wagerem,  they boast a headline writer’s dream in their central defender Bruno Godeau.   We understand he is not the quickest.

Another regular in their team is Eden Hazard’s younger brother Thorgan – a Belgian under 21 international currently on loan from Chelsea.

Zulte-Waregem play Lokeren (a) on Sunday 20th. A win would take them top, albeit with an extra game played.  Standard’s next two games are away to Bruges and Anderlecht.

The play-off season runs until 18thMay.  Regular updates will be posted on