Monday, November 28, 2022



Surprise in Europe – Union Saint-Gilloise, revenant



The newly promoted team topping the Belgium table and going for the championship. Meet USG, the league legend who returned after 48 years and wants to return to write history.

By Facundo Di Bona (@facudibona).

Union Saint-Gilloise is the leader of Belgium’s Jupiter Pro League and wants to make history. They are 6 points ahead of the second -Club Brugge- and have one foot in the second round. The team from the outskirts of Brussels rose last season and is already positioned as one of the tournament’s animators.

It was founded in 1897 and by 1935 it was the winningest team in Belgium with 11 leagues and 2 cups.Today is the third with the most titles. Between 1933 and 1935 he had an undefeated 60 games that is still the country’s record. Although with World War II they fell into debacle.

Between the 60s and 70s they had declines and promotions. In 1973 they had played their last season in the First Division. By 1982 the club dropped to the fourth category and hit rock bottom. Even in the middle it changed its name to the current one: Royale Union Saint-Gilloise.

The last 30 years the club was immersed in a seesaw. Their presidents did not hit the key. They went up and down the ranks. There was no way to stay in Second.

Tony Bloom appeared on the road to Saint-Gilloise and changed history. In 2018, the poker player and owner of Brighton & Hove Albion bought the club with only one goal: to return to the First Division.

For his first year he reached the semi-finals of the Belgian Cup. On the way he eliminated Anderlecht and KRC Genk, two greats. The last season was overwhelming and they rose as Second Champions with 18 points of advantage. In 3 years, the objective was met. A meteoric rise.

Union Saint-Gilloise started the season with victories against Anderlecht and Standard Liege. Today direct competitors. With the passing of the dates, they established themselves in the Jupiter Pro League: they are the highest scoring team (50) and the least goalscorer (20).

The team has won 10 of its last 11 meetings. He has 6 consecutive victories as a visitor and his foundation is in the way he plays. USG presses high, suffocates the opponent and takes risks. The last game went into halftime, losing 2-0 to Circle Brugge, but won 3-2 over the end.

Deniz Undav, a 25-year-old German, is the team’s top scorer and tops the table in the Jupiter Pro League. He combines perfectly with his attacking partner, Dante Vanzeir, a 23-year-old with a time in the youth teams and a recent call-up for the Belgian senior team.

Between the two forwards they scored 50% of Union Saint-Gilloise goals. They have 9 assists each. In the promotion they were key: they scored 36 goals to get the title.

Jupiter Pro League has a particular system: the first four go to a final homerun where half of the points obtained in the first round are transferred.

Union Saint-Gilloise has a chance to lift the title after 87 years. They could break one of the longest streaks in soccer history. Belgium’s third-winningest team wants to rewrite history and is about to do.

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