FEATURE | BeNe in Europe – Matchday 2 Review: Club Brugge and Feyenoord claim stunning wins, Ajax the only side to lose

The Dutch and Belgian clubs were back in action last week, with the results once again very positive for both nations.

Here is a look back at how it all went down as well as how things stand in the coefficient rankings after two matchdays of the group stages of each UEFA competition.

A better week for the Netherlands

Despite having only three clubs play this week – PSV’s match with Arsenal was postponed – the Netherlands picked up a respectable haul of the coefficient points.

Ajax were the only team to lose this time around. They were dominated for most of the match but kept it close in their Champions League tie at Liverpool, conceding in the last minute of normal time from a corner to lose 2-1 on the night.

Things were much better for Feyenoord. After going down 4-2 to Lazio the week prior, the Europa Conference League finalists from last May hit back in impressive fashion, destroying Austrian club Sturm Graz 6-0 at home, putting them top of their group on goal difference.

AZ remain the only Dutch team with a perfect record from their first two games. It took them a while, but in the end they got the job done, beating Liechtenstein’s Vaduz 4-1.

As already mentioned, PSV had their game moved. Their tie against Arsenal will take place on 20 October.

The two wins yielded Netherlands 0.800 points. That gives them a season total of 4.500 and a five-year tally of 50.900 points.

Competitors France had a week to forget as they only earned 0.666 points courtesy of a win and a draw. That allowed the Dutch to close in on them by just a little as the difference is now 1.431 between fifth and sixth.

Portugal, on the other hand, won a full point through wins for Benfica, Sporting CP and Braga. They have now closed the gap with the Netherlands for sixth spot to just under 2.000.

Belgium continue to fly

Belgium enjoyed a second straight week with three wins and a draw. It is an incredible start from the four Jupiler Pro League clubs, who remain unbeaten since the start of the group stage.

Club Brugge kicked things off with a resounding 4-0 success at Porto. It means that for the first time ever, a Belgian team has won their first two Champions League games. It also puts Carl Hoefkens’ men alone at the top of Group B.

Union St. Gilloise are also sitting pretty with two wins from two. They did it the hard way though, coming back from 2-1 down at home to Malmö. Impressively, the Brussels club found their equalizer and then their winner in the space of two minutes. That leaves them level at the top of their section with Sporting Braga.

Gent finally scored in Europe on Thursday, earning a 3-0 win over Ireland’s Shamrock Rovers. Hein Vanhaezebrouck’s men made the most of their chances, getting two goals from captain Vadis Odjidja. They now have a win and a draw from two matches.

Anderlecht also has four points from two games, but they were the sole Belgian team not to win. Instead, they played out a 0-0 draw in Bucharest with FCSB. In the end, it’s a good point for the Paars-Wit.

The results allowed Belgium to earn another 1.400 points, the same as last week. It now leaves them as the outright ninth-ranked nation in the five-year coefficient with 33.200 (5.200 on the season).

Scotland, currently eighth, got 0.600 points through Hearts’ win and Celtic’s draw in the week. That still allowed Belgium to close the gap to 2.600 points.

Austria meanwhile had a dreadful week with only Salzburg’s 1-1 draw earning them anything. The paltry 0.200 results in them being over 1.000 behind Belgium now.

The other competitor for ninth spot, Serbia, saw Partizan win them 0.250 after their draw with Nice. It leaves Serbia nearly 4.000 behind Belgium now, and are looking firmly out of the race for ninth.

David Parkes

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