Mark Van Bommel puts past disappointment behind him to deliver historic double

Mark Van Bommel would have been forgiven for thinking he suffering from de ja vu. Following an unbeaten start with Antwerp, their first loss against lowly Kortrijk caused a serious loss of form. After that first defeat of the season, the league leaders won just two of their next eight games, with defeat coming against title rivals Genk. After his PSV and Wolfsburg sides had suffered similar good stars followed by loss of form, the criticism for Van Bommel was starting to surface. Did he have the ability to stop a slide, or was he just an impact manager.

Fast forward six months, the legendary Dutch midfielder has delivered a historic double to the city of Antwerp. They have won the league for the first time since 1957, and added a cup win against Mechelen to the trophy cabinet. The side came into the play-offs in third place, but beat the top two back to back before a win over Club Brugge to open the play-offs with a three game winning run. Suddenly, they were in the driving seat in terms of the league title. However, they then suffered a loss to Club Brugge and, just needing a win to win the title against Union, drew 1-1 with 10 men.

They were still in the driving seat going into the last game against Genk, but the drama was not over. Thankfully, his decision to throw Toby Alderweireld forward paid off, with the experienced defender delivering the crucial goal and giving Van Bommel a chance to put all his past managerial disappointment behind him.

GBeNeFN | Ben Jackson

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