FC Groningen returns to the Eredivisie after just one season

After a head-to-head battle with rival Roda JC, FC Groningen has secured Eredivisie football for the upcoming season. A swift return seemed like a pipe dream after a weak start, but thanks to a fantastic second half of the season from the Groningen side, the considerable gap with the competition was closed, and the team managed to clinch promotion in a direct football showdown on the final matchday.

FC Groningen earns promotion to the Eredivisie for the third time, having previously climbed to the top level in the 1979/80 and 1999/00 seasons. Whereas in the past, the Northern team required multiple attempts to make the leap to the Eredivisie (6 and 2 attempts respectively), this time they achieved it within a single season of Keuken Kampioen Divisie football. Prior to this season, Groningen had been consistently present in the top tier throughout this century.

Under the guidance of Dick Lukkien, the team collected a total of 75 points, a tally only surpassed in the championship year of 1979/80 (82). For a significant period, such a points total seemed unlikely, as Groningen found themselves in fourteenth place after fourteen rounds, trailing by twelve points for direct promotion. The promotion, therefore, appeared far from certain, but after a draw against league leaders Roda JC, the team began their ascent.

Since their defeat to SC Cambuur on October 29th (2-1), Groningen only suffered one more league loss for the remainder of the season. FC Groningen remained unbeaten in the last sixteen matches of this Keuken Kampioen Divisie season (W12, D4), marking the second-longest undefeated streak in the club's competitive history at the professional level (the record being 20 in the Eredivisie in 1990/91).

Longest undefeated streaks of FC Groningen in competitive matches

Season Leagues Head coach Total duels



Hans Westerhof



Eerste Divisie

Dick Lukkien



Eerste Divisie

Jan van Dijk




Ron Jans




Hans Westerhof



Eerste Divisie

Theo Verlangen


High Turnovers

In 2024, FC Groningen had the most goals (37) and attempts (262) scored, and the fewest goals conceded (10) and attempts faced (130), securing the most points (43) of all teams in the Keuken Kampioen Divisie. The Pride of the North proved to be the strongest team not only offensively but also defensively.

An important factor contributing to this success is the pressing implemented by Lukkien's team. FC Groningen registered 249 ball recoveries in the attacking third this season, by far the highest number among all teams. Additionally, FC Groningen allowed the opponent an average of only 11.6 passes before initiating a defensive action, the lowest among all teams this season. Finally, the Groningen side also tops the 'High-Turnover' leaderboard this season. All these statistics indicate that FC Groningen applied the highest pressure in this year's Keuken Kampioen Divisie.

An important factor in FC Groningen's success was the thirty-year-old goalkeeper Hidde Jurjus, who only gained preference over Michael Verrips after the first ten matches. Since Jurjus' debut on October 23, 2023, the team conceded only eighteen goals, at least four fewer than any other team during that period. While colleague Verrips allowed too many goals based on Expected Goals (2.3 more conceded than expected), Hidde Jurjus prevented goals (-2.0). Additionally, Jurjus' save percentage of 71.4% is significantly better than Verrips' percentage this season (58.6%). Finally, despite not playing the first ten matches, the goalkeeper leads the clean sheet leaderboard in the Eerste Divisie this season, a remarkable achievement for Groningen's goalkeeper.

Romano Postema

At the front, Romano Postema was the main man for Groningen. The striker scored thirteen goals in 2024, at least two more than any other player in the Keuken Kampioen Divisie. Postema owes this tally mainly to the month of March, during which he netted nine goals in the Keuken Kampioen Divisie, making him the third player with at least nine KKD goals in a single calendar month in the past fifteen years, following former Groningen players Michael de Leeuw in March 2010 (9 for Veendam) and Thijs Dallinga in November 2021 (9 for Excelsior). Additionally, a goal or assist from Postema guaranteed success: FC Groningen didn't lose a single league match this season in which Romano Postema scored or provided an assist (W12, D3). The last time the forward lost despite contributing to a goal or assist was in April 2023, with Roda JC visiting Jong PSV (assist in a 5-1 loss). It seems like Postema is finally ready for the Eredivisie, the competition where he has only scored four times in 48 matches so far.

The Eredivisie CV congratulates all FC Groningen fans on their return.

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