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The only ones with six titles: Hans Vanaken and Brandon Mechele enter the Club Brugge legend

They are now alone at the top. Perched there at the very top of the FC Bruges honours board. Hans Vanaken and Brandon Mechele secured their sixth Belgian championship title this Sunday – after a tense draw against local rivals Cercle Brugge. One more than “blauw en zwart” legends like Raoul Lambert, Birger Jensen, Franky van der Elst, Fons Bastijns, Georges Leekens, Dany Verlinden, and Ruud Vormer with whom they previously shared the limelight. Together, they have contributed to nearly a third of their team’s titles (6/19).

The captain and the stalwart defender symbolize this dominant FCB that has now won six titles in nine seasons. They embody the soul of the Club. With 59 and 61 starts respectively this season, Vanaken and Mechele are stalwarts, immovable figures. Those who had to help keep the ship afloat when it was rocking.

Trained at PSV then at Lommel and revealed at Lokeren, Vanaken joined the Venice of the North in 2015. Since then, he has amassed 449 appearances with 127 goals and 91 assists. An iconic figure of the Club in recent years, the Neerpelt native has won the Golden Shoe twice and has been named Pro Footballer of the Year twice in a row. Mechele, born in Bredene, is a product of Breydel where he has been affiliated for over 20 years. He has come through the ranks there and has played his entire career there except for a six-month loan spell at Sint-Truiden in 2017. He has played 434 matches in the blue and black jersey.

They both feature in the Top 10 of the most capped players. Ranked 6th and 8th, they flank Timmy Simons. The two players are only 31 years old. They can still extend their reign and leave an even stronger mark in the history of FC Bruges.

Written by Jose Machino

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