Vlemmings said he was hopeful that Biseswar would decide to stay, but that it was ultimately not a surprise. He only spoke once with Biseswar about the old contract running down, before giving the striker the space to make his own decision. ‘He knows what he has here and what Mario Been and we think about him. Diego has always said that how he feels is important and he’s apparently gone with that. It’s good for Feyenoord that a player from the academy, who has come on so much this season, is staying with the club.’
International commitments meant that Vlemmings has had a small squad to train with these past two weeks or so. The internationals started to trickle back this week. ‘It’s only logical that the focus is elsewhere those weeks,’ acknowledges Vlemmings. ‘But we have been able to train very focused these past few days and I have a good feeling about that.’
With the league entering its final phase, Feyenoord are still in the hunt for a place in the Europa League playoffs. FC Utrecht and NEC are the direct competitors for the final place. ‘We’re behind at the moment, but we’ve already made up a lot of ground,’ said Vlemmings. ‘We have six more games to achieve it.’
Feyenoord will start the first of those without Karim El Ahmadi, who has been sidelined for several weeks after getting a kick in the ankle playing for Morocco. Denny Landzaat will take his place Sunday. Landzaat had been troubled with persistent hamstring problems for the past seven months, but Vlemmings does not feel that is a barrier. ‘Denny has already played games for the reserves and he is ready to play a full game. You have to take your chance when the time comes. He’s getting that chance now.’
Landzaat’s comeback will be on the artificial surface at the Kras Stadion. Vlemmings was not willing to give much thought to the pitch, although the squad did train on a comparable surface for three quarters of an hour on Friday morning. ‘I didn’t feel it was necessary, but the squad wanted to train on an artificial surface and we agreed to that. We shouldn’t be thinking about the artificial grass, but about how we play. This week we’ve looked more at the good run we’ve had and how we can continue it.’
FC Volendam experienced a tough time on their return to the Eredivisie before the winter break, earning more praise than points. Coach Frans Adelaar’s side were the big relegation favourites pre-season, and with six games to play they are bottom.
The newcomers lost their first seven games, putting them in acute trouble immediately, but the performances were fairly good considering and deserved a better return, especially at home.
And after the winter break they have been getting it too. FC Volendam have started to pick up points and even moved off bottom place. A draw in the last match against FC Utrecht coupled with a win for De Graafschap meant they found themselves at the bottom of the pile again, but there is still cause for optimism that the village club will escape immediate relegation.
Unbeaten in their last five home games, in Rowin van Zaanen and Melvin Platje FC Volendam have a couple of strikers that have started attracting attention. They have some tough games in the run-in, including sc Heerenveen and FC Groningen after Feyenoord, but the aim will be to at least stay in touch with those just above them, because the final match of the season is an away fixture at De Graafschap. The winner of that game could well condemn the other to the Jupiler League, while giving themselves a chance in the relegation playoffs.
FC Volendam will fancy their chances there after showing themselves to be a good knock-out side in this year’s KNVB Cup, reaching the semi-final, where they will play sc Heerenveen at the end of April.
FC Volendam – Feyenoord
Sunday 5 April, 14:30 at the Kras Stadium
FC Volendam: Verhoeven; Maynard, Sterk, Koning, Schilder; De Lange, Boots, Meijers; Van Zaanen, Tuyp and Sheotahul.
Feyenoord: Timmer; Leerdam, Lucius, Bahia, Van Bronckhorst; Landzaat, Bruins, Fer; Wijnaldum, Makaay and Biseswar.
09/11/2003 FC Volendam - Feyenoord 1-3
09/11/1997 FC Volendam - Feyenoord 0-0
16/02/1997 FC Volendam - Feyenoord 0-2
21/01/1996 FC Volendam - Feyenoord 0-3
02/04/1995 FC Volendam - Feyenoord 0-3
13/09/2008 Feyenoord - FC Volendam 5-0
25/04/2004 Feyenoord - FC Volendam 2-0
29/03/1998 Feyenoord - FC Volendam 5-0
25/08/1996 Feyenoord - FC Volendam 3-0
10/09/1995 Feyenoord - FC Volendam 5-1
BIG MATCH FACTS
It’s the 25th Eredivisie fixture between the clubs in Volendam. The home side won two of the previous meetings, Feyenoord 17 and five games finished all square.
Roy Makaay has 299 goals in all club competitions (league, cup and European knockout competitions). He has scored for Vitesse (47), Tenerife (21), Deportivo La Coruña (97), Bayern Munich (103) and Feyenoord (31).
Feyenoord and FC Volendam are among the five clubs that came through March unbeaten. Ajax were the last side to beat both, in Amsterdam in February.