Olympic champions Belgium begin their FIH Pro League title defence with a weekend double-header against Germany ©Getty Images

Belgium men's team open their Men's International Hockey Federation (FIH) Pro League title defence in a double-header Germany this weekend.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic champions sauntered to the title last year, winning nine of 14 games, over 76 per cent of their games, and totalling 32 points. 

Australia finished in a distant second on 20 points, with just over half the number of wins of the Belgian team and a win percentage of 66.67, the second-highest of the season.

This season, Belgium begin against Germany in a weekend double-header at Royal Uccle Sport in Brussels.

Germany finished third last year with a win percentage of 63.33.

The two countries will also contest in the Women's FIH Pro League, with Belgium eager to bounce back from a 2-0 defeat to Olympic, world, European and two-time Hockey Pro League champions The Netherlands, who broke the deadlock after just 17 seconds and displayed their dominance throughout.

The German team Belgium will face features just one of their Tokyo 2020 Olympians, but a young side is excited to compete against the best in the world.

"A new Olympic cycle has started and this is an opportunity for some of the younger players to show what they can do and It is a fantastic way for players to get regular experience of top-class international hockey," said Elisa Gräve, who has 79 caps for the Germans but missed the Olympics with a broken shoulder.

Elisa Gräve and a young German team take on Belgium women in a Pro League double-header this weekend ©Getty Images
Elisa Gräve and a young German team take on Belgium women in a Pro League double-header this weekend ©Getty Images

"We always have to be at our best when competition starts. 

"We are a good team but we have to make sure we show that from the start of the competition."

The German men's and women's team will wear a clear statement against discrimination on their jerseys in the four matches, as announced by the German Hockey Association.

"We want to send children of all origins and skin colour the signal that hockey is a sport in which they can move freely from discrimination," said Germany women's captain Nike Lorenz (24). 

"In hockey, there are many professionally and socially privileged people who could work in their families and jobs to fight everyday racism. 

"We want to activate these people and networks."

Last season was heavily impacted by COVID-19, with teams ending a disrupted and elongated season with different numbers of games played.

Points-per-game was used to determine the standings.

This season has not escaped the clutch of the pandemic, either, with Spain and India replacing Australia and New Zealand after they withdrew on COVID-19 grounds.