After five seasons in the lower echelons of Belgian football, KVC Westerlo returns to the Jupiler Pro League. On Sunday evening, the Kemphanen, KVC Westerlo's nickname, crowned themselves champions of 1B after 26 matches thanks to KMSK Deinze.
With two days to go, KVC Westerlo can no longer be caught by second placed team RWDM. The Kemphanen lost at Lommel SK (2-1), but RWDM needed a win to postpone KVC Westerlo's celebrations. However, the team from Brussels lost at KMSK Deinze (3-0) and they cannot bridge the gap of 7 points anymore. RWDM will be in the play-offs against RFC Seraing with a spot in the Jupiler Pro League at stake.
Coach Jonas De Roeck's Westerlo troops dominated the whole season and have been in the lead since the second match. KVC Westerlo won 16 games, lost 6 and drew 4. No team conceded fewer goals (25) and only KMSK Deinze (45) scored more than the Kemphanen (44). Macedonian Erdon Daci is top scorer with 9 goals.
Other strongholds of this champions' team are goalkeeper David Jensen, talents Maxime De Cuyper, Thomas Van den Keybus and Tibo Perseyn from Bruges, captain Lukas Van Eeno, youth product Kyan Vaesen, Slovakian youth international Jan Bernat and defender Pietro Perdichizzi. In fact this is the third time Perdichizzi has won promotion from 1B. He did the same with Royale Union Saint-Gilloise and R. Antwerp FC.
KVC Westerlo will soon start its nineteenth season at the highest level. The Kemphanen's absolute highlight was in 2001 with then coach Jan Ceulemans when they won the Belgian Cup. In the final against Lommel SK, Westerlo icon Jef Delen scored the winning goal.
Ten years later Jan Ceulemans and ‘Jefke’ Delen made it to the final again with KVC Westerlo, but this time Standard de Liège was too strong and won 2-0. Their highest position in the league has been sixth place, i.e. in 2000, 2004 and 2009.
KVC Westerlo produced the top scorer twice. In the 2008-2009 season, Colombian Jaime Alfonso Ruiz scored eighteen goals. In the 1999-2000 season, Toni Brogni even hit the net thirty times. And in the 2013-2014 season, Ivorian Kevin Koffi was top scorer in 1B with nineteen goals.