The second half of May is the most turbulent, chaotic period in the life of a football fan. Tracking live tables, scores and permutations from leagues around the world throughout an afternoon is as exhausting as is thoroughly fascinating. Luxembourg were no exceptions, with plenty to play for in the last weeks of action. We are now looking at four showpiece occasions that shaped the whole season in the end, reliving the events as they happened.

Sunday, 21 May

Although all the European qualification places had already been decided heading into the last gameweek of BGL Ligue, the small matter of avoiding relegation was still completely up in the air, with Etzella Ettelbrück, Fola Esch, Käerjéng and Mondercange all looking to avoid the drop or at least secure a relegation-playoff place for themselves. Fola and FCM were in the best situation, already prevented from the straight drop, whereas Etzella and Käerjéng could only try minimising their damages by scraping a 14th place.

By half-time, things started to look settled, as Mondercange were in a comfortable lead against Rosport, gaining them immediate safety regardless of the other teams' results. Käerjéng were also enjoying a fine evening, beating Wiltz and thus potentially finishing above Etzella – who found themselves trailing in Pétange.

Until the final whistle, there were only to be some minor changes to the scorelines. Fola Esch ended up losing to Strassen, which could have hurt them had Etzella also managed to get the three points. But the Sky Blues' missed opportunities in the last seconds of their game meant their five-year stay in the league has ended. Despite their historic results and an uptick in results under talented 29-year old manager Bruno Alves, the club never confidently set foot in the division since their promotion in 2016/17.

Mondercange also confirmed their three points at Rosport, controlling the game and coming out 2-1 winners, which left Fola and Käerjéng to take on Ehrenpromotion opponents Jeunesse Canach and Bettembourg respectively, for two places in the top flight.

Thursday, 25 May

Fola Esch have celebrated four championships (three of them official, with one ruled off due to COVID-19) since their latest promotion in 2005/06. The country’s oldest team came close to featuring in a Europa Conference League group stage too last year, starting in the Champions League qualifiers and stumbling at the last obstacle separating them from the coveted European spot.

Things have taken a sharp turn in the succeeding months, though. The team saw changes at boardroom level, was forced to let most key players go in order to raise funds and had to replace the missing cogs largely from the youth teams. The manager left too, and was replaced by a member of the backroom staff.

The result looked every bit as depressing as it sounded at first. Elimination at the hands of Sammarinese opponent in Europe was followed by a disappointing start of the season domestically. By December, they were rock bottom. Manager Miguel Correia was fired and next in line was 35-year old striker Stefano Bensi, who retired mid-season to move into a coaching role overnight. His assistant, Veldin Muharemović had also been playing for the club.

Despite the discouraging scenario, Bensi's ideas were transformed onto the pitch by players who showed a real sense of cohesion and endurance for all their individual flaws. Over the coming months, the team started collecting the points too, eventually exploiting the horrible runs of form experienced in Mondercange, Käerjéng and relegated Hostert.

And on Thursday, their biggest challenge awaited. Jeunesse Canach, on the back of a barely believable 9-1 thumping of cup finalists Marisca Mersch, were their opponents in the playoff. With 29 goals and 6 assists in only 25 games played, Canach frontman Fine Bop was always going to be a threat to handle for Fola defenders.

What eventually unfolded was pure chaos. One goal apiece in the first half proved to be the calm before the storm, as a raucous second half was in store. Issam El Alami's goal early on after the break was responded to by Bop, as the teams were slowly edging towards extra time at 2-2.

That was until stoppage time, at least. In the 90+3rd minute, Cheikh Tidiane Samb took the lead for Canach once again via a header, and this time it looked certain it would be the final straw in a season where Fola conceded no less than 74 goals in the league.

But whatever the Stade Achille Hammerel crowd, or the spectators watching on home might have suspected, there were eleven players who believed. These eleven players didn't quite want to say goodbye to their first-division status just for conceding a goal, and perhaps there was some sort of mental fragility within an ecstatic, absent-minded Canach team that could be exploited. And Fola did, equalising in the 90+5’ with Mohamed Camará’s goal.

This time, extra time was definitively decided after the final whistle blew at 3-3. The standard of play visibly dropped in this period, often making it seem like both teams viewed it as an arduous, unnecessary bridge between normal time and penalties.

Part of this is because this is the point where a football game starts becoming more a game of nerves than a game of skill or organisation. The players that keep their cool, the ones who possess both the quality and the mentality to come to the fore and carry their team on their shoulders, are the ones destined to succeed. This is the chance for every player to become a legend, to create a legacy, to save the day.

Perhaps there was no better person for this role than Kévin Quinol. Arriving in January, the striker took the Escher team and dragged them out of the mud by six goals in 15 games, earning him the club's top scorer award for 2023/24. The Frenchman registered a first hat-trick during the course of the season, and when the going got tough, there was ultimately no one more reliable to deliver than him.

To cap off a season of hard graft, moments of brilliance and a seemingly never-ending war, Quinol once again showed the fans his worth, crushing Canach's promotion hopes one minute from the end. Fola's status as a BGL Ligue team is reserved, financially the club’s head is still above the water and the summer can be more about building a project rather than straightforward crisis management.