Chris O (follow on Twitter: @COakleyFtbl)
Tue 12 June 2007

European League Round-Up (Part 1)

Here at Some People Are On The Pitch, we like to think that everyone deserves a few minutes in the spotlight and our round-up of what's going on around Europe is no exception.

So here's part one of our check to see what happened or is happening in those countries where the words 'Cristiano' and 'Ronaldo' are about as important as Elton John's comb and shampoo.

AUSTRIA

The T-Mobile Bundesliga season ended on May 20th with Red Bull Salzburg romping home to a 19-point victory over SV Ried. Giovanni Trapattoni's side had actually sewn up the championship with five games remaining, such was their grip on the ten-team league, so they now take their place in the second qualifying round of next season's Champions League.

SV Ried and SV Mattersburg finished second and third in the Austrian Bundesliga so they'll go into the hat for the 2007/08 UEFA Cup, while Rapid Vienna in fourth enter the Intertoto Cup. Austria Vienna were the Austrian Cup winners this season, so they'll be in the first qualifying round for next season's UEFA Cup, while at the other end of the table Grazer accumulated just six points from a possible 108 and were duly relegated. They'll be replaced next season by LASK Linz who won the Red Zak Erste Liga.

Top scorer for the season was German Alexander Zickler of Red Bull Salzburg with 22 goals, eight ahead of runner-up Leonardo Da Silva, the Brazilian playing for SC Rheindorf Altach.

BELGIUM

Anderlecht were crowned Jupiler League champions for the second successive season on May 19th, but they ended up finishing only five points ahead of runners-up Genk. Both teams enter next season's Champions League - Anderlecht in the third qualifying round, Genk in the second.

Standard Liege finished third and qualify for a place in the UEFA Cup next season while Gent snatched a place in the Intertoto Cup ahead of Charleroi in fifth by virtue of having won more games.

Club Brugge (Belgian Cup winners) and Zulte Waregem - competitors in this season's UEFA Cup - both missed out on a European spot, while at the bottom Lierse dramatically avoided automatic relegation on the last day of the season, climbing above Beveren to send them down.

Lierse, finishing 17th out of the eighteen teams, then entered a four-team play off group with Royal Antwerp, Mechelen and Kortrijk but could only finish second to Mechelen. Lierse therefore drop into the Second Division while Mechelen join champions Verbroedering Dender in the Jupiler League for 2007/08.

Top goalscorer this season was François Sterchele of Germinal Beerschot with 21 goals, one ahead of Patrick Ogunsoto of Westerlo and Mohammed Tchité of Anderlecht.

DENMARK

It was business as usual for Copenhagen as they won their second league title on-the-trot, seven points clear of second-placed Midtjylland. Copenhagen go into the second qualifying round of next year's Champions League while Midtjylland enter the first qualifying round of the UEFA Cup.

Aalborg were third, thereby securing a place in the second round of the Intertoto Cup 2007/08 but Brondby, who this season took part in the Champions League, miss out by finishing sixth.

Relegated this time around were Vejle and Silkeborg who will next season be replaced by Lyngby and Aarhus, promoted as champions and runners-up respectively of the Danish First Division.

Top of the goalscoring tree in the Danish Superliga this season was Rade Prica of Aalborg with 19 goals. The Swede got one more than Morten Nordstrand of Nordsjælland who finished second.

FINLAND

The Finns league season started in April and runs until October, so the Veikkausliiga is still going on as we speak. At the moment, defending champions Tampere United lead the table with six wins and a draw from their first eight games. FC Haka are three points behind on sixteen and Turun Palloseura are two points further behind in third.

Currently lying fourteenth and last are local rivals Vaasan Palloseura who are yet to pick up a point from their opening seven games while last year's promoted teams, FC Viikingit and AC Oulu have both made a steady start, occupying mid-table positions as things stand.

SPAOTP's favourite Finnish team ever, FC KooTeePee, are struggling a little at present. They lost their last game 2-1 at home to FC Haka and are in eleventh position with just seven points from a possible twenty-one. Next up for them is (what should be) an easier match at home to VPS Vaasa, currently next to bottom, on Thursday.

More updates from all four corners of Europe very soon...

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