Belgian football league already resumes

Be prepared: the new Belgian football season is kicking off very early. The Belgian top flight, officially known as the 'Jupiler Pro League' sees the opening day of play between tonight and Sunday evening. Newly-promoted Sint-Truiden host vice-champions Club Brugge tonight, while defending champions AA Gent travel to Westerlo on Sunday.

The new football season is kicking off during the Tour de France (photo shows the Belgian Tour de France stage winner Greg Van Avermaet in Rodez). This is very early according to some, but there was no choice, the Belgian FA argues. The Belgian play-off 1 system with the season's best 6 teams involves an extra 10 days of play after the regular competition that already boasts 30 days of play with 16 teams.

The English Premier League is only starting in two weeks' time and the German Bundesliga in 3 weeks' time while Spain is even waiting four more weeks to get the ball rolling in the Primera División.

AA Gent in Champions' League

AA Gent are the defending champions and will have the honour to represent Belgium in the Champions' League group phase as from September. The Buffaloes managed to keep their best players and bought just a couple of others to strengthen the squad, especially in defence.

However, football experts say that Club Brugge are (again) the main title favourites this season, followed by Anderlecht. Club Brugge won the Belgian Cup last season, but missed the title and have been without a championship title for 11 years now.

Anderlecht have to fit in new players to replace striker Aleksandar Mitrovic (to Newcastle) and defender Chancel Mbemba (probably Newcastle).