Connect with us

Healthy Life Style

New top 5 league: How the Eredivisie overtook Ligue 1

The Netherlands recently overtook France in the UEFA five-year rankings. Five years ago, the Eredivisie was in 14th place in the ranking. How could that happen?

Meeting point on an abandoned factory site, only the headlights illuminate the night. Men in suits park their cars across from each other. suitcase handover. Then suddenly: Khalid Boulahrouz, who speaks Portuguese. Cut.

The PR department of the Dutch Eredivisie was not lacking in originality and the wherewithal when, in April, they visualized their league’s success in a short film in which former HSV defender Boulahrouz, one of the protagonists of the legendary “Battle of Nuremberg”. the 2006 World Cup between the Netherlands and Portugal, plays the leading role. The suitcase he opens contains tickets – including for the group stage of the Champions League.

The “Battle of Nuremberg”

Shortly before, the Dutch Eredivisie had widened their lead over the Portuguese league. Sixth place in the UEFA five-year ranking – for the first time since 2001. From the 2024/25 season, two Dutch teams will have qualified directly for the premier class.

And a year later, there could be even more. At the start of the new season, the Netherlands are even slightly ahead of France. Does the established concept of “European top 5 leagues” have to be rethought? If so, then it would be the biggest turnaround a European league has seen in recent years.

A look back. In 2018, the Eredivisie was still in 14th place in the UEFA ranking – squeezed between the Czech Fortuna Liga and the Greek Super League, overtaken by Ukraine, Belgium, Austria and Switzerland. And the World Cup in Russia took place without the participation of the three-time World Cup finalist. A low point, self-inflicted. “We threatened to sink into a coefficient swamp,” Dutch journalist Michel Abbink classified the situation in a league statement.

Disgrace in the qualifying rounds: The summer is going to be a horror

The time in the mid-10s, explained then-Ajax coach Erik ten Hag in 2021, was one “when some Dutch clubs and coaches didn’t take European football so seriously”. The summer months in particular cost the league a lot of points. “We often didn’t prepare well for the qualifying rounds for the Champions League or Europa League and then approached our opponents naively.”

In 2013, FC Utrecht failed in the Europa League qualification against FC Differdange, who had previously finished fourth in the Luxembourg league. Ajax went under in 2016 against Russian representatives FK Rostow, PSV Eindhoven lost both games against NK Osijek from Croatia in 2017 – July and August became the horror months for Dutch football. Only those who get clubs into the group stages of the competitions can collect points.

Dutch quality disgrace

In the Netherlands, however, the early qualifying rounds were still part of the pre-season, well before the start of the league. “In these rounds it’s always important to deal with the opponent because you usually don’t know them well,” explained ten Hag. “At this stage we didn’t do it well enough in the Netherlands.”

Today’s Manchester United coach was one of the drivers of change. At Ajax, he moved the start of preparation forward in order to be able to play at the top level in the qualifying rounds. And because Ajax is the role model for pretty much all other clubs in the Netherlands, it didn’t take long for the approach to become popular.

Letsch and Schmidt also helped out

The fact that the Eredivisie started to boom in the years that followed was of course not only due to ten Hags, but rather to a combination of several factors. The previously manageable pool of players was revived by a generation of talents such as Frenkie de Jong, Matthijs de Ligt and Cody Gakpo, while at the same time the clubs moved away from pure training clubs and invested – as with Sebastien Haller or Mario Götze – in internationally proven class. And there is also a bit of Germany in the Dutch success. “The fact that coaches like Thomas Letsch and Roger Schmidt have come has led to more realism,” ten Hag once praised.

Roger Schmidt, Mario Goetze

Promoted Dutch football: Roger Schmidt (left) and Mario Götze in Eindhoven.

The league itself has also set accents. At the end of 2018, when the Eredivisie was stuck in perhaps the greatest depression in its history, the league passed the so-called “Veranderagenda” with several measures to improve the quality of football in the Eredivisie and at that time announced the goal of climbing back into the top 8 European leagues.

The fact that this was already successful in less than three years suggests that the long-term plan did not hold the majority of the shares, but individual measures such as the later entry of the European Cup teams into the national KNVB Cup could have already had an effect.

Precisely because of such measures, league boss Jan de Jong spoke in April of a “collective success of all clubs in the first division”. When you look at the numbers, that’s not entirely unjustified, because behind the top team from Amsterdam and constant competitor PSV Eindhoven, clubs from the second row such as Feyenoord Rotterdam or AZ Alkmaar have stood out as point collectors, who, for example, have scored more points in the past five years than the French representatives Marseille, Lille, Monaco and Nice.

The Conference League has contributed a lot to our rise.

In this context, however, one point is particularly relevant, from which Dutch clubs have recently benefited enormously: the introduction of the Europa Conference League. “The Conference League has contributed a lot to our rise,” said Ajax chief executive Edwin van der Sar in March. The former world-class keeper, who is currently recovering from a brain haemorrhage on holiday, was instrumental in the launch of the competition as vice-chairman of the European club association ECA, which the Netherlands plays in the cards like hardly any other country.

High importance of the Conference League

While clubs from the top leagues in the Conference League sometimes rest their players so that they are not tired in the league game three days later and Juventus Turin has been excluded more or less voluntarily, the ECL in the Netherlands enjoys a comparatively high status . With the exception of Ajax, no Eredivisie club can calculate realistic chances of winning the Champions or Europa League – but they can in the Conference League. In the first edition in 2022, Feyenoord made it to the final, most recently Alkmaar advanced to the semi-finals.

Conference League Finals 2022

“A club like Feyenoord has reaped the rewards,” said van der Sar. “But actually it’s the whole of the Netherlands that benefits.” Because Alkmaar got just as many points for the five-year ranking by reaching the Conference League semi-finals as Paris St. Germain, who reached the round of 16 in the Champions League.

As big as the discrepancy between the two competitions in terms of audience interest and television money may be – the differences in the points for the UEFA ranking are manageable. Paying into the Conference League, as the example of the Netherlands makes clear, is extremely profitable for the five-year ranking.

And so the league, which four years ago did not have a single permanent starting place in the premier class, can have legitimate hopes of soon even taking part in the Champions League with three permanent participants. Because: If the Eredivisie keeps the narrow lead over Ligue 1 in the upcoming season, the top Dutch clubs will benefit from the Champions League reform, which will take effect from 2024. This ensures that the fifth-placed country in the five-year ranking – currently France – has an additional permanent place in the premier class.

Now the points regulation from the profit factor to the problem

AZ Alkmaar versus Lazio Rome

Even up to the big opponents: AZ Alkmaar knocked out Lazio Rom, among others, in the last Conference League season.

While that scenario seems plausible, a permanent changing of the guard in Europe’s top five leagues is unlikely – and paradoxically, that’s linked to the Eredivisie’s past success. In the coming season, the league will send one more team to Europe – this one will compete in the Champions League. In the other competitions and qualifying phases, the number of teams remains the same.

Now the points rule is turning from a profit factor into a problem: in the Champions League, a club like Feyenoord most likely won’t be able to score as many points as in the Europa League, a club like Alkmaar in the Europa League not as many as in the Conference League.

And the additional participant also increases the quotient by which the total score is divided. Ligue 1, on the other hand, would benefit from more teams in weaker competitions. While Marseille or Monaco can hardly score in a Champions League group stage, they can go far in the Europa or Conference League.

Maintaining sixth place will be difficult in the long run.

That’s also why nobody in the Netherlands wants to talk about permanently attacking fifth place. It is much more likely to look in the rear-view mirror. “We are in a big battle with Portugal,” said van der Sar in March. “It will be difficult to keep the place in the long run because the top Portuguese clubs have a large financial advantage thanks to the TV money.” And league boss de Jong is also slowing down: “Sixth place is incredibly important for the attractiveness of the Eredivisie, commercial growth and the financial stability of the clubs. Now we have to work together to keep this place.”

Doesn’t exactly sound like a declaration of war in the direction of fifth place. So Khalid Boulahrouz might still have some time left for acting classes.

Michael Bächle and Jan Leerkes

Healthy Life Style

Cheering in Warsaw – Austria creates a good starting position for the second leg

Wiener Austria wins 2-1 at Legia Warsaw and thus creates an excellent starting position for the second leg in a week.

Huskovic was the match winner with his brace.

Huskovic was the match winner with his brace.
GEPA pictures

Austria Wien has laid a very good basis for promotion to the play-off of the Conference League. The Viennese won the first leg of the third qualifying round at Legia Warsaw 2-1 (1-0) on Thursday. Thanks to a brace from Huskovic (11th, 56th), Austria has all the trumps in the home game next Thursday (7:00 p.m.). Muci prevented an even better starting position with his goal in the 87th minute.

ECL – 3rd qualifying round

Huskovic only made his starting XI debut against Lustenau at the weekend after his serious car accident last October, also played as a central striker in Warsaw and became the match winner. In top scorer style, the 20-year-old took the lead after a cross from Fitz and also scored to make it 2-0 after a cross from Polster.

Coach Wimmer surprised the line-up. Fischer, who had played all five games so far, was only on the bench for the time being. Even without the regular captain, the Violets implemented their promise to be courageous and work well against the ball very well.

The early attack quickly brought success. After a bad pass from Elitim in his own penalty area, Fitz Huskovic served ideally, the 20-year-old only needed to push in for his first European Cup goal. Ranftl and Huskovic (16th each) had good chances to make it 2-0 before the Polish runner-up and record champion also became a threat.

Goalkeeper Früchtl saved the lead several times, especially when Wszolek fired a free shot from ten meters out, but Früchtl was able to clear with a foot defense (33′). Austria were also lucky just before the break when referee Gaillouste did not classify Galvao’s tackle from behind in the penalty area against Wszolek as a foul.

Legia set the tone in second half

Legia made the game after the break, Austria, who had to replace defender Plavotic in the early minutes, were mostly secure on the defensive. The Wimmer-Elf attacked again and again and was successful with it. Huskovic headed in a cross from the cushion that had been substituted during the break to make it 2-0.

Warsaw then intensified their offensive efforts again and put the guests under pressure, but Pekhart missed (57′, 79′) and the excellent Früchtl was once again on the post (57′, 77′). On the other side, Kani ran alone to the home goal, but failed (86th). It should take revenge, Muci gives the Poles more hope with his header. Nevertheless, Austria has the best chance of winning the third duel with Legia after 2004 and 2006.

goals and cards

0:1Huskovic (11′)

0:2Huskovic (56′)

Legia Warsaw


Augustyniac, Elitim Gual Josué, Kun Pekhart R.Pankov Slisz Tobiasz, Wszolek, Yuri Ribeiro

Austria Vienna

Austria Vienna

Braunoeder, Fitz Fruchtl, Gruber Holland, Huskovic Lucas Galvao, Martins, Plavotic Potzman Ranftl

Should Austria manage to get promoted, they will have to face Denmark’s FC Midtjylland or Omonia Nicosia on August 24th and 31st for a place in the group stage. Omonia won the first leg on Cyprus 1-0.

Continue Reading

Healthy Life Style

Kane’s transfer imminent | table football

The events on Thursday almost rolled over. First the agreement between the clubs, then suddenly uncertainty on the part of the player. Nevertheless, the theater should soon come to an end and Harry Kane will switch to Bayern Munich.

His move to Munich is on the home stretch: Harry Kane.

His move to Munich is on the home stretch: Harry Kane.

On Thursday, the news that FC Bayern had reached an agreement with Tottenham Hotspur on the transfer of star striker Harry Kane spread like wildfire. But then there were rumors that the 30-year-old should have briefly considered whether he should join Bayern or not.

Might be. But the decisive factor is that the Tottenham Hotspur striker has long since given his yes to the Munich team. And he stands by that. As the kicker learned, Kane should soon travel to the Bavarian capital and take over number 9 there, succeeding Robert Lewandowski.

The deal dragged on for a long time, the negotiations were tough, but in the end Daniel Levy, the Tottenham President, and those responsible in Munich agreed. As the kicker had already reported several times, the transfer fee should be more than 100 million euros.

Novelty for the Bundesliga

A novelty for Bayern – and the Bundesliga – for the Spurs bosses, on the other hand, it would have been difficult to convey internally that the captain would change free of charge in the summer of 2024. Wherever. According to kicker information, the deal is said to have had priority for Bayern only this year, as the need in the storm is currently enormous.

Of course, the FCB decision-makers had dealt with an alternative, Frankfurt’s Kolo Muani was also discussed, but Kane always had priority. If nothing out of the ordinary happens on the home stretch, the Englishman should serve promptly and then be presented in Munich and given a four- or five-year contract.

The Supercup against RB Leipzig on Saturday (LIVE! from 8.45 p.m. on kicker) is still too early. In the best-case scenario, it is expected that Kane will be in the Bavarian squad for the first time at the start of the Bundesliga at Werder Bremen.

Continue Reading

Healthy Life Style

Tennis: Jan-Lennard Struff is also absent from the US Open

Jan-Lennard Struff was in strong form until mid-June. Since then, the tennis professional has been on break due to injury – and is now canceling for the next tournaments.

Must extend the forced break: Jan-Lennard Struff.

Must extend the forced break: Jan-Lennard Struff.
Getty Images

Jan-Lennard Struff, currently 25th in the world rankings, is still pausing after his hip injury and has also canceled participation in the US Open. “It’s gotten better, but it’s not intelligent to play now. We don’t want to risk anything,” Struff’s manager Corrado Tschabuschnig told the German Press Agency on Thursday. The 33-year-old Warsteiner is still regenerating and will not start at the Masters next week in Cincinnati and the last Grand Slam tournament of the year in New York at the end of August.

Struff had played the last game so far in June at the lawn tournament in Halle, after which he was out due to an overload. Before that, the Sauerlander had presented himself in strong form. At the ATP tournament in Stuttgart on grass, the Davis Cup player reached the final almost two months ago and was also in the final of the Masters in Madrid this season. In the meantime he had reached the best value of his career at position 21 in the world rankings, he is now in 25th place.

Hopes rest on Zverev

At the US Open (August 28 – September 10, defending champion for men: Carlos Alcaraz, Spain), German hopes are now resting on Alexander Zverev in particular. When asked about a possible use of Struff in the subsequent Davis Cup qualification in Bosnia-Herzegovina in mid-September, Tschabuschnig said that one is currently working “week by week” and seeing how the situation develops.

Kyrgios also cancels

With Nick Kyrgios, a prominent name will be missing. The Australian will not start at the US Open, the organizer announced on Twitter on Thursday. The 2022 Wimbledon finalist had already canceled Wimbledon, the French and the Australian Open this year. Kyrgios seems to be haunted by bad luck with injuries, with the 28-year-old suffering a torn ligament in his wrist during his comeback attempt. He had previously been sidelined for months due to knee problems. So it happened that “Quick Nick” has only played one game this year, that was in Stuttgart in mid-June against the Chinese Wu Yibing.

Continue Reading

Healthy Life Style

Union fans bring ticket sales to a standstill

The Berliners still don’t know who they will face in the Champions League. The interest is still huge, so nothing went at the start of ticket sales for the premier class.

There is great euphoria among them: fans of Union Berlin.

There is great euphoria among them: fans of Union Berlin.
IMAGO/Jan Huebner

“Rien ne vas plus”, nothing works anymore – that’s what it looked like on Thursday on the Union Berlin website. The reason: At the start of ticket sales for the Champions League home games, there was such a large rush that it overloaded the server – the portal consequently went to its knees.

In the meantime, access to the online ticket shop has exceeded the current number of members by several tens of thousands, according to a club statement. Numerous Union fans tried “to reach the ticket shop with different devices at the same time. The servers of the ticket service provider could not handle this load”.

In the short term, they had therefore “taken additional security measures for the shop to limit the number of simultaneous accesses and to ensure that active sales processes are fully processed,” the iron continued. However, this would lead to “currently unfortunately error messages being displayed on numerous end devices”. A solution to the problem is being worked on.

Season tickets for CL home games are already sold out

The total of 27,225 season tickets for all three home games were nevertheless sold – according to the club, the tickets were purchased by a total of 15,150 buyers. The first sales phase runs until Wednesday, August 23rd. Union members have exclusive access to the tickets and can buy tickets for up to three other people.

For the first time in the club’s history, the Köpenickers are playing in the Champions League. On August 31, the Unioners will also find out exactly who they are up against, then the draw for the group stage is scheduled (6 p.m., LIVE! at kicker). The Berliners will not play their CL home games in their home stadium at the Alte Försterei, but in the Olympic Stadium.

Continue Reading