First division B in Belgian football: preview
On Friday, August 2, Belgium’s First division B, known as the Proximus League, will kick off. Considered the last step in the ascencion to the highest level of Belgian football, this competition has some interesting dynamics. The 8 competitors are more or less each other’s equals, and have to battle each other 4 times over the 2019/2020 season: once home and once away in the first half of the season, and all over again in the second half... And all the while, only one can make it to the Pro League, while another is mercilessly relegated to provincial obscurity. On which team would you place your bet?
After incorporating the Beerschot name into its identity in 2013, Wilrijk launched itself through several amateur division onto the national stage. The team was denied promotion to the Pro League, so we can expect it to gain through sports feats what couldn’t be done through court.
Lokeren had a horrible time in First Division A in 2018/2019, with a record so poor that relegation was certain before the season was over. On the other hand, it has been a consistent also-ran in Belgium’s highest division for over 20 years, with even 2 Belgian Cup victories.
Limburg side Lommel has somewhat of a status as “eternal second”, narrowly missing promotion on several occasions. Could this be the season for the team, now that it’s managed by a levelheaded professional in the form of Iceland’s Stefán Gíslason?
Leuven played some seasons in the First Division in the 2010s, so it knows the taste of Belgium’s highest football level. Uneven performances, however, saw its motor stall in recent years. Team and supporters alike will be keeping fingers crossed that this is the season to break the spell.
West-Flemish side Roeselare managed to secure its place among the big boys for 5 seasons way back in 2005 and has been itching to get back. With these winds of history in its sails, it stands an honest chance as a go-getter, but will have to deal with fierce competition along the way.
Union is one of the most successful teams in Belgian football history, with championship titles aplenty in the very early days of the First Division. Times have changed, but recently there are signs that a revival could be in the works. Next stop: Pro League football for Union?
Once the home of PSG right back Thomas Meunier, Virton languished in the provincial divisions for years, until a wealthy patron allowed the team to grow above its small-town status. Can the new kid on the block show that all its hard work was just the beginning?
Another team that knows how to play ball at the highest level. Westerlo did so 14 seasons straight, and after a short spell in limbo, re-emerged in 2016, only to be relegated again by the end of the season. With the right attitude, it could make the cut once more.
Bet on the Proximus League here!
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