Eredivisie Preview Round 6: Classics, derbies and unexpected top games
The sixth week of the Eredivisie season promises to be an exciting one with Feyenoord and Ajax battling it out in the first Klassieker of the campaign, PSV take on the impressive Cambuur, Zwolle face a revitalised Twente and Willem II and NAC meet in what will surely be an intense match.
Michiel Jongsma gives you the lowdown on this week’s fixtures.
Willem II – NAC Breda: More cards than goals expected in feisty derby
It’s back! While Feyenoord – Ajax might be the most famous encounter of this weekend, Willem II – NAC is definitely the most heated one. Willem II recorded an impressive 2-1 win at Feyenoord last week and were welcomed back by the fans at night. But not to congratulate them. ‘Nice, this win against Feyenoord, but next week eh, that is the big one’.
Samuel Armenteros got his first goal for Willem II last week and looks a smart signing, while young Terrell Ondaan continues to impress for the Tricolores.
NAC meanwhile have beat FC Dordrecht 1-0 away last week and have two dazzling attackers in Kingsley Boateng and mostly Adnane Tighadouini. The Friday night promises a nice battle.
Excelsior – FC Dordrecht: David vs David in the batlle of the little ones
If Excelsior and FC Dordrecht would sell their stadiums out, together they would still not have as many seats as any of the other sixteen Eredivisie stadiums. It is perhaps the best way to describe the huge gap between the two clubs from Zuid-Holland and the rest of the league.
Luckily, not the same goes for the points they have racked up from the first five rounds. Excelsior have been mightily impressive so far, picking up seven from their first four, while FC Dordrecht got the plaudits for their fresh, attacking style of play. Excelsior will be hoping that Van Mieghem, Botaka and Stans can keep up their impressive form so far, while FC Dordrecht will be looking at the likes of Korte, Ojo and Fortes to make the difference.
FC Dordrecht lack an identified goalscorer, something that came back to haunt them last week against NAC (0-1).But that doesn’t mean this will end in a low-scoring affair.
ADO Den Haag – Go Ahead Eagles: Much ADO for Fraser taming Booy & the Birds
Henk Fraser was the new hope of Dutch coaching last season, when he took the team that was bottom of the league to the top half of the table. This season, the honeymoon months are over for Fraser and ADO and it’s business as usual in Den Haag. With five points from five games the club from the Residency has done ok so far, but with players like Alberg, Kramer and Van Duinen tipped for bigger things by many, there is a feeling that they should be lifting the team to a higher level.
Go Ahead Eagles are one point behind the Yellow-Greens but don’t offer the same promise. With players like Deniz Turuc and Lesley de Sa injured, the extra quality a smaller club likes to rely on is not available and the Deventenaren will have a tough game on their hands. But Booy and his men won’t go down without a fight, up to Fraser and ADO to land them a blow.
Vitesse – sc Heerenveen: Airborne game with Vitesse in winning mood
The main theme in Gelredome will be the battle of Arnhem, as WWII is remembered every year with a league game in September. This time, Peter Bosz’ Vitesse will now face Dwight Lodeweges’ Heerenveen to commemorate the battle seventy years ago.
Vitesse finally got their first win last week against Excelsior (3-1) and Peter Bosz and his men are now looking to finally kick-start their season. Even though Vitesse have been impressive going forward, the lack of goals as well as the lack of concentration at the back was a huge worry. With the introduction of Abiola Dauda the first problem seems solved, as the Nigerian got a hattrick on his full debut. Against Heerenveen, Dauda will be looking to add to those three to assume his position as the successor of Wilfried Bony.
Heerenveen started the season with a surprise loss against FC Dordrecht 1-2, but are now on an unbeaten run of four games, getting 10 points in the process. Last week, they beat AZ 0-1 as midfielder Daley Sinkgraven got his first senior goal and within this lies their problem at the moment, as the defence needs to ensure the points rather than the attack. Can Heerenveen stop Dauda? And can Vitesse record their first clean sheet of the season?
Heracles Almelo – FC Twente: Derby time as Twente awaits Miyaichi Manga Magic
The peaky hair, the boyish smile, the rapid movement; Ryo Miyaichi looks like he could’ve walked straight out of a manga comic. The Japanese international, on loan from Arsenal, might just be the spark FC Twente have been lacking over the last few games. Despite being unbeaten this season, the Enschede side only got their first win of the season last week. Two goals against Go Ahead (2-1) were enough to beat another Overijssel side that is very much out of form.
FC Twente might feel things need to improve, but they are nowhere near as deep in trouble as neighbours Heracles Almelo. Five games in, Heracles are still looking for their first point. Their manager has been fired and now John Stegeman is allowed to finish the season as interim-manager. Unfortunately he is without any experience and can’t be expected to make a direct impact. To add to the misery, their main striker Denni Avdic is out through injury for several weeks.
All hope will be lying at the feet of Wout Weghorst, the young striker who was over the moon after scoring against Ajax last week despite losing. If he can make a difference this time around, a cult status seems assured.
Feyenoord – Ajax: Two giants set for a showdown but not in the leanest of forms
So far, Fred Rutten has not made De Kuip his home, as the new Feyenoord manager has only picked up one point from his first three Eredivisie games in the home stadium. If something doesn’t change soon, another season without success is set to happen in Rotterdam. Rutten has not been the most popular man so far as one can imagine but a win against Ajax would do wonders. Not only for Rutten, but also for Feyenoord’s new goalie, Kenneth Vermeer, who won four titles while at Ajax.
Meanwhile, Ajax are still looking to gel and with two defeats already this season, things are not up to their best for Frank de Boer and his men yet. A win against Heracles (2-1) last week did help a bit, but it was mainly the impressive 1-1 draw against Paris Saint-Germain that gave the Ajax faithful a boost. The Amsterdammers still look brittle in defence though and their attack has not been the most potent of the league either.
Both will be looking to add to each others misery while kickstarting their own domestic season.
PSV – SC Cambuur Leeuwarden: The table says it’s a big one
While most focus this weekend will be on Feyenoord and Ajax battling it out, the two rusty giants are well below PSV and SC Cambuur in the table. PSV have recovered from a 3-1 defeat at PEC Zwolle by winning their Europa League game against Estoril 1-0, but were hardly convincing. To make matters worse, they will have to play Cambuur, one of the two unbeaten Dutch sides this season, and the Frisians are in top form. With three wins and two draws they’re sitting third in the table and with previous opponents such as FC Twente, Vitesse and FC Groningen that is a mean achievement. Getting something from the PSV game would see them really nestle themselves in the top of Dutch football and it deserves a mention that they took a point last season.
PSV will be hoping to keep the three points at home but aren’t helped by the lack of Memphis. The young star of Eredivisie football went off against PEC Zwolle and is expected to be out for around 8 weeks. Jurgen Locadia was brought on against PEC and started against Estoril to fill the void, but hardly impressed. Will Jozefzoon get the nod against Cambuur?
AZ – PEC Zwolle: Van Basten’s… err Pastoor’s errr…. Haar’s AZ up against impeccable Zwolle
Two periods under the guidance of wealthy owners, Dutch championships, relegations, and now a sixth different face in charge of an AZ game within a year, with a seventh imminent. AZ are in a mess, although only partly due to their own fault, with the tragic news that Van Basten won’t become a head coach ever again and settles for the shade in an assisting role. Nevertheless, with Dennis Haar taking up responsibility for the home game versus PEC Zwolle, things are still wobbly and unsure with Pastoor, who rejected a nine month deal as a head coach but wants to honour his previous two year contract as a manager and the necessity of appointing another head coach still very much there.
The contrast with Sunday’s opponent couldn’t be bigger: PEC Zwolle are in comfortable waters with Ron Jans as their boss and a flying start to the season. With 12 points from 5 games and being the reigning Dutch Cup and Johan Cruijff Schaal holder, times have hardly ever been better in ‘Zwollywood’. Last season though, Zwolle started to drop immensely in form in September and this time around, they are adamant to improve on that. With Ben Rienstra currently running the show in midfield and Tomas Necid showing signs of the promising striker he once was at CSKA Moscow this will be a very difficult game for AZ, is there more misery ahead?
FC Utrecht – FC Groningen: Who is more key, Oar or Chery?
Both FC Utrecht and FC Groningen have had a fairly indifferent start to the season, with the teams still searching for a sustained run in the league. FC Utrecht had a surprise win at Feyenoord (1-2), but couldn’t defeat ADO Den Haag last weekend, while FC Groningen succeeded an impressive 2-0 win over Ajax with a hapless performance at Cambuur (3-0). The pair has Europa League play-offs aspirations and could well do with a win.
For FC Utrecht, the man to watch is Tommy Oar. The Australian winger has been a level above his usual self so far and long may it continue, as the youngster presents himself a true asset for the league. The creative burden left by Jens Toornstra’s departure to Feyenoord is being taken up well by the Utrecht man, but he still needs something to finish the chances he creates. Ruud Boymans could well be that man, as the poacher is making his way back from injury to finally make his debut for his new club.
On FC Groningen’s side, Tjaronn Chery has been central to almost everything attacking FC Groningen have done so far this season, with the playmaker leading Voetbal International’s Player Of The Year rankings until last weekend. FC Groningen will be without Rasmus Lindgren, with Michael de Leeuw likely to start for the first time this season. Good news, as he is their leading goalscorer so far with striker Danny Hoesen still waiting to break his duck.