15 years since relegation, are FCV Dender set for an unlikely return to the Belgian top flight?

15 years ago, FCV Dender were relegated from the top flight of Belgian football. The side were only in their second season in the top flight, having reached the level for the first time in their history after promotion during the 2006/2007 season. After falling further to the third tier after relegation in 2012, the team finally made a return to the Belgian second tier during the 2021/2022 season.

FCV Dender, as a club, is the result of a merger between KFC Denderleeuw Eendracht Hekelgem and Verbroedering Denderhoutem during the 2004/2005 campaign.

Under head coach Pieter De Bot, the side finished their first campaign in the Challenger Pro League in 10th place, with just five wins and four draws. Fast forward a year, and under Timmy Simons, the side are challenging at the top of the league for a spot amongst the top two. Despite having spent little money on transfers, they look a certainty to compete in the promotion play-offs as a minimum. Simons has been able to get the best out of former Genk and Antwerp youngster Bruny Nsima. The 23-year-old Angolan joined on a free from SK Beveren in the summer and has gone on to score 11 goals this season. In terms of assists, captain Lennard Hens has led the team with 10. Hens has been with the side since joining from Rupel Boom in 2019, helping them win promotion and now push for the top flight.

On Friday night the side kept up their promotion hopes with a win over Club Brugge NXT. This was the sides third win on the bounce, having beaten Oostende and SL16 in the past two weeks. With games against Deinze and Zulte Waregem to come, these next fixtures will prove crucial for whether or not Dender can really finish in the top two. They end their campaign against relegation threatened Francs Borains.

GBeNeFN | Ben Jackson

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