Belgian First Division A, the top league in Belgium, is currently ranked 8th in the UEFA rankings of leagues based on performances in European competitions over the last five years. The competition was ranked 3rd when the UEFA first published their ranking in 1979 and the following year in 1980, the best ranking the Belgian First Division has ever achieved.
The most successful clubs in the Belgian league is known as the Big Three. The football teams of RSC Anderlecht, Club Brugge KV and Standard Liege have a great rivalry and are usually the main contenders for the title. Combined, they share a total of 57 out of 113 Belgian Football Championships ever played and generally ended up sharing the top three positions. Since promotion to the top flight, none of them has been relegated from the First Division A either.
RSC Anderlecht is the most successful league club with 34 titles, followed by Club Brugge KV (17), Union Saint-Gilloise (11) and Standard Liege (10).
RSC Anderlecht is the most successful Belgian football team in European competitions, with five trophies, as well as in the Belgian domestic league, with 34 championship wins. They have also won nine Belgian Cups and hold the record for most consecutive Belgian championship titles, winning five between the 1963–64 and 1967–68 seasons.
Club Brugge KV
One of the most decorated clubs in Belgian football, the club has been crowned Belgian league champions 17 times, second only to major rivals Anderlecht. It shares the Jan Breydel Stadium with city rival Cercle Brugge, with whom they contest the Bruges derby.
Club Brugge has enjoyed much European football success throughout its long history, reaching two European finals and two European semi-finals. Club Brugge is the only Belgian club to have played the final of the European Cup (forerunner of the current UEFA Champions League) so far, losing to Liverpool in the final of the 1978 season. They also lost in the 1976 UEFA Cup Final to the same opponents. Club Brugge holds the European record number of consecutive participations in the UEFA Europa League (20), the record number of Belgian Cups (11), and the record number of Belgian Super Cups (16).
They are one of the most successful clubs in Belgium, having won the Belgian league on ten occasions, most recently in 2007–08 and 2008–09. They have been in the top flight without interruption since 1921, longer than any other Belgian side. They have also won eight Belgian Cups, and in 1981–82 they reached the European Cup Winners’ Cup final, in which they lost 2–1 against Barcelona.
Standard Liege supporters share a fierce rivalry with RSC Anderlecht, dubbed the Belgian ‘Clasico’. The rivalry reflects the traditional geographical one between the two cities of Liege and Brussels and a class divide, with Anderlecht being perceived as the team of the bourgeois elite and Standard, based in an industrial district, as the workers club.