Feyenoord: Running out of steam
With title competitors Vitesse losing two points after a magnificent comeback by Roda JC (scoring three goals in the second half) on Saturday evening, Ronald Koeman’s Feyenoord got the opportunity to overtake the Vitesse by two points and make a big step to secure the second place and thus qualify for the pre stages of the Champions League. But against RKC Waalwijk, coached by Ronald’s younger brother Erwin, a disappointing Feyenoord drew 1-1 seeing the chances of the first title in 14 years shrink to zero.
Italian casanova Graziano Pellè fired the Rotterdam side 0-1 up in the 13th minute with a penalty after winger Ruben Schaken was taken down in the box by RKC’s Ard van Peppen. Al seemed comfortable until the 55th minute when Sander Duits made the equaliser and paralyzed a frightened Feyenoord.
After the loss in Heerenveen two weeks ago and a near 1-0 win in Rotterdam against VVV Venlo last week, Feyenoord slipped into a bad run that continued this weekend. The Rotterdam side clearly lacks confidence and stability. Also, Feyenoord’s bench seemes insufficient with Norwegian international Harmeet Singh, Ruud Vormer and John Goossens failing to impress on midfield and be decisive during the absence of Jordy Clasie and Lex Immers. Did the hope of the Eredivisie title in Rotterdam spark to early?
In the post match interview in Waalwijk coach Ronald Koeman stated that the team didn’t train focussed in recent weeks, lacked the right mentality and thus didn’t deserve to play for a title. A sign given by the experienced Koeman hoping it would maybe turn the tide that Feyenoord is engulfing right now. With centre back Stefan de Vrij and midfielder Jordy Clasie both hinting on a move this summer, the question remains whether or not key players in the team are willing to give everything for their first grand prize.
With a crucial match on Sunday against Vitesse the Rotterdam side have to step up their game if they still want to be competing for the coveted second place. Considering Vitesse being the strongest side against top tier teams this season in the Eredivisie and Feyenoord struggling to find form, the team that three weeks ago was a main contender for the title is thin ice at the moment. Plus, with a defence that again looked unstable (with Stefan de Vrij’s incredible mistake against FC Utrecht as a pinnacle and RKC’s Sander Duits covering about 40 meters with the ball through the centre of the pitch and firing the equaliser past goalkeeper Mulder) the answer to Vitesse’s Wilfried Bony seems further away then ever.
Dutch newspaper AD wrote on Monday morning that Feyenoord is ‘out of energy’ and quoted Koeman who said the team may have thought to easy about the matches against lower tier teams. Considering the only experienced player seems to be ex-Malaga and HSV centre back Joris Mathijsen and the average age of the team fluctuating around 21 this lack of experience is without doubt one of the main reasons for the recent run of form.
With the eye on this summers transfer window and several Feyenoord players frequently being linked to topclubs such as Liverpool (De Vrij), Fiorentina (Clasie), AC Milan (Martins Indi) and Arsenal (Janmaat), the club is probably going to lose more than just the Eredivisie title. Although Feyenoord managed to buy topscorer Graziano Pellè (23 goals) from Serie A club Parma, chances are this is the only purchase the club is going to make this year. The continuing lack of financial resources and the club only being able to attract players on loan and free agents, might result in the aim of the 2013/2014 Eredivisie season being even lower than the official aim of a 4th place this season.
If Feyenoord manages to win the remaining three games and benefit from PSV and Vitesse losing points, the second place and the ticket to the Champions League might be crucial for the maintaining most of the young talents. The superstitious Ronald Koeman will probably cross his fingers more and more