Friday night lights: Challenger Pro League promotion race going down to the wire

On Friday, all of the final games in the Challenger Pro League will kick off at the same time (7pm UK time, 8pm CET). With only Beerschot having guaranteed their place in the Pro League for next season, three clubs will do battle for the final automatic promotion spot. We look at what stands in the way of these sides and a trip to the top flight next season.

FCV Dender: 51 points

Very few would have predicted that the relatively small Dender would be in pole position to gain promotion on the final day of the season. Despite a 4-1 defeat at home to Zulte Waregem last time out, they remain a point ahead of third place and have their fate in their own hands. They travel to Francs Borains for the final game of the season, a side who have ensured their survival already this season. Dender won 2-0 in the reverse fixture back in December and will be hoping to repeat the same score line to secure an unlikely promotion. We wrote more about the club in an article here.

Deinze: 50 points

Should Dender fail to win, Deinze are best placed to take advantage. However, the side will travel to RFC Seraing on the final matchday and their opponents also have something to play for. Last seasons relegated side from the Pro League are facing back to back relegations and must win to give themselves a chance of survival. Deinze have also been on poor form in recent weeks, only winning one of their last five. This came in a crucial clash with Lommel and is the reason why they still have a chance of promotion.

Lommel: 49 points

Up to a couple of weeks ago, it looked like Lommel were a certainty to join Beerschot in the Pro League next season. However, the side backed by the City Group have dropped crucial points with just one from their previous three games. This was a 0-0 draw against struggling Seraing, and their 3-2 defeat to Deinze could prove fatal. They host SK Beveren at home, a side who missed out on promotion last year and that many expected to be up there this season. Should Deinze fail to win, and Dender only draw, a win for Lommel could see them steal second place.

Zulte Waregem: 48 points

It is incredibly unlikely that Zulte Waregem will be able to leapfrog the above sides, but in football crazier things have happened. Should all of the above sides lose, Zulte would need to beat Lierse to jump above everyone into second place. Their 4-1 win over Dender have given them a slim chance, but recent inconsistency and the need for a large variance in results makes their chances of finishing second unlikely.

Patro Eisden: 48 points

As with Zulte Waregem, Patro would need losses for everyone else and to win by a big margin against champions Beerschot to make it into second. For them, their focus is mainly on securing a place in the play-offs. They are two points above FC Liege and will need to better their result to secure a top six place and a chance of competing for the final spot in the Belgian Pro League.

Hopefully there will be plenty of drama on the final day, something that should be guaranteed by the consistency of kick off times. By the end of Friday we will know which team will be joining Beerschot in the top flight, and who will then be competing to face the side that finishes third bottom in the Pro League for a shot at promotion.

GBeNeFN | Ben Jackson

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