The road to AXA League

On the 17th of February 2024, the eagerly anticipated Playoff Relegation kicks off, marking the battleground for teams vying to ascend to the prestigious AXA League. The contenders include the HC Standard, HB Museldall, Esperance Rumelange, HBC Schifflange, Mersch75, and HB Bieles.

In what promises to be a captivating journey, Bieles and Museldall find themselves labeled as dark horses, facing tough odds. Meanwhile, the other four teams engage in a fierce competition for the coveted two spots in the AXA League. The stage is set for an exhilarating race to the top.

HC Standard launches its campaign on the 17th of February with a home game against HB Bieles, setting the tone for an intense battle. A week later, on the 24th of February, Standard continues its quest with another home fixture, this time locking horns with Mersch. The following clash sees Standard hitting the road to face Esperance Rumelange on the 2nd of March, adding an element of unpredictability to the contest.

After these initial three matchups, Standard faces an away game against HB Museldall on the 9th of March. The excitement doesn’t wane, as one week later, on the 16th of March, the spotlight shifts to a highly anticipated showdown against HBC Schifflange – a fixture that promises to be the pinnacle of the playoff spectacle.

As the teams vie for supremacy, the unfolding drama on the field will undoubtedly captivate fans, keeping them on the edge of their seats throughout this thrilling journey toward AXA League glory.


Stay tuned as we bring you an exclusive interview with our coach, Lucas Duane. Gain insights into the team’s performance, strategies for the upcoming playoffs, and Coach Duane’s perspective on navigating the challenges ahead.

Question: How do you assess the team’s performance in the current season leading up to the promotion playoffs?

In this initial phase of the season, I would give the team a fair passing grade. We’ve navigated through the matches we were expected to win, but unfortunately, our performance dipped in the last two crucial games. This has been disappointing for the team, especially considering the setback in the cup, as we had high aspirations for victory. However, it’s essential not to lose sight of the broader context: these early months were strategically planned for the overall growth of the team. In this regard, some players have made significant strides. Moreover, tactically, we have shown progress. Finally, the absence of key players like Alen, Mehdi, Morgan, and Robin due to injuries in those critical matches has undeniably impacted the team’s overall performance.

Question: How do you manage player morale and motivation during the pressure of promotion playoffs?

Motivation and morale are distinct aspects of team management. At this level, motivation should be intrinsic to athletes. For a true sportsman, there’s no greater motivation than playing to reach the first division, especially by showcasing superiority over adversaries along the way. This competitive hunger is vital at this level, and if I detect a player lacking it, it signals that they may not be ready for the challenge. Morale, however, fluctuates based on results and individual or collective performance. Addressing it requires optimism and self-criticism, tailoring your message based on each player’s coaching needs.

Question: Are there particular opponents in the playoffs that you see as major challenges, and how do you plan to tackle them?

Schifflange will pose a formidable challenge for evident reasons, having secured the top spot in our division. They boast a well-organized defense, an exceptional goalkeeper, and an attack with rapid ball circulation that excels in duels. As for the opponents from the AXA League, Mersch flaunts good individual talents and a sturdy backline, while Rumelange possesses a versatile and complete squad, excelling in duels, and featuring seasoned players. Overall, it will be a demanding playoff, a challenge that deeply motivates us.

Question: How do you balance individual player development with the team’s collective goals during this crucial phase?

The individual development of players has been one of the two primary objectives in this initial part of the season, alongside consolidating tactics. However, as we enter this pivotal phase, the collective goals take precedence. At the senior level, our aim is to compete and win matches. We aspire to secure a spot in the AXA League next season, and this collective objective supersedes everything. Furthermore, these matches provide optimal opportunities to showcase the individual progress made by some players in recent months and to capitalize on it further.

Question: Are there specific aspects of the team’s performance that you have focused on improving leading up to the playoffs?

As mentioned earlier, in this initial phase of the season, I had two primary objectives. Firstly, to foster the individual development of all players, boosting their confidence for the crucial phase. Secondly, we’ve established our fundamental tactical plan, adaptable according to our playoff opponents. Over the past few weeks, we’ve fine-tuned our playbook to align with the team’s progress and current state, ensuring it is well-suited to counter the challenges posed by our opponents.

Question: As a coach, what message or advice would you give to both seasoned and younger players entering these high-stakes matches?

I would encourage them to give their best and relish every moment, as giving their best and finding joy in it are intertwined in life. These are the make-or-break moments where we reveal our true selves and showcase the dedication from previous months. No room for excuses here. I’d urge them to pour their hearts into every action, to stand by their teammates whenever needed. Take a deep breath, soak up the joy of playing the sport they love, and give everything they have.

Thanks Lucas

Our team