Is Club Brugge the new Bayern Munich, soon sporting and financially sole ruler in its own country? † Jupiler Pro League

Three national titles in a row, soon the financial jackpot and a new stadium on the way. Club Brugge seems to be gradually disappearing from the sight of the other Belgian teams. Is there a threat of monopoly, such as Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga? An assessment with sports economists and experts.

“We want to become the Bayern of Belgium.”

Club president Bart Verhaeghe revealed the ultimate ambition of blue-black during the title celebration last season, between champagne and confetti.

One year later, the counter is already on three consecutive championships, while they already celebrated the tenth Bundesliga in Munich.

Could it also run as fast in our country?

Opponents shudder at the thought, but don’t dare to laugh the scenario off in advance when they watch Club’s advances. The successes have caused a snowball effect in recent years.

And soon there will be another 30 million euros in prize money from the Champions League. Plus normally the transfer income of Charles De Ketelaere and Noa Lang. In 2023, a brand new stadium blue-black should completely take the next dimension.

Bayern Munich celebrated its tenth consecutive league title this weekend.

Larger money gap abroad

But how big is the gap now?

In modern football, success is often directly linked to financial strength. Look at the apparent ease with which Club spent several million in the winter mercato to rectify an imbalance.

Only: compared to abroad, the money gap between Club and the pursuers is still relatively small. A look at the turnover figures proves this.

Belgium (2021) 18% difference
Club Brugge 85.06 million
Anderlecht 72.58 million
Netherlands (2021) 170% difference
Ajax 211.27 million
PSV 78.74 million
Germany (2019) 47% difference
Bayern Munich 713.16 million
Dortmund 484.54 million
Italy (2019) 49% difference
Juventus 621.46 million
Inter 416.41 million

The difference between the financial numbers one and two is therefore much smaller in percentage terms in our country (18%) than in the Netherlands (170%), Germany (47%) and Italy (49%).

“Anyone who thinks that the gap can still be bridged abroad will certainly be convinced of that in Belgium,” says sports economist Thomas Peeters.

“At the moment we are moving towards a scenario in which Club is dominant – especially if we count this season. Only it is certainly not yet like in other countries. Especially because the lordship has been going on there for much longer. Barely five years ago Club was even smaller than Anderlecht.”

Manchester United and Lyon were once all-powerful, but are now far from a league title.

Trudo Dejonghe

It is a statement that fellow sports economist Trudo Dejonghe confirms. He also assures that the competition has by no means lost the race.

“Because in football, money can evaporate very quickly. Due to some missed transfers, for example. Or if you miss the income of the Champions League. Manchester United and Lyon were once supreme, but are now far from a league title.”

It is no coincidence that these are two clubs that saw “new rich” storm to the top in their country. Injected by petrodollars, Man City and PSG quickly took power.

Would that threat have been in the back of Bart Verhaeghe’s mind when he made a surprisingly strong attack on the competition at the Bosuil?

The chairman of the national champion sees (often foreign) investors with a larger portfolio than his own, conquering our football.

“Suppose Paul Gheysens makes another capital increase of 50 million…”, notes Dejonghe. “Coupled with good management of those resources, Antwerp should certainly be able to compete with Club.”

Will Paul Gheysens’ Antwerp be Club’s biggest challenger?

Which challenger stands up?

Whether that will be with equal weapons in the short term is still very much the question.

Peter Vandenbempt felt that there has been a landslide in Belgian football in recent years. “I think Club will remain structurally the strongest for the next ten years,” said the commentator.

“That doesn’t mean they will play champions every year – someone else can always come between cycling – but all the other clubs will have to rake in.”

And not just by throwing euros. “Club stands above the rest in terms of the underlying organization”, Vandenbempt says. “It can switch without a sound, because he can step into what is already there. A base put together by Michel Preud’homme, together with Vincent Mannaert and Bart Verhaeghe.”

Club stands above the rest in terms of underlying organization.

Peter Vandenbempt

When Vandenbempt surveys the field of challengers, he sees that either the structural or the financial is missing.

“With a corrected winter, KAA Gent could have been the big challenger, but it did not have the financial possibilities. Everyone knows the situation of Anderlecht, where they will have to pursue a creative policy for a while. Racing Genk does not succeed in to be constant. And Antwerp has to make even better use of the money – maybe Marc Overmars will take care of that.”

Time will tell if one of them can stop Club’s snowball.