‘The confidence is back,’ said a satisfied Feyenoord head coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst on Friday afternoon, two days ...
Feyenoord play their seventh Eredivisie match of the season Sunday, when De Graafschap come to De Kuip. The Rotterdammers will be hoping to improve on their home form, as those half dozen games have resulted in two draws and a defeat alongside three wins. ‘We are not yet dominant at home,’ concluded Gerjan Verbeek, ahead of the fixture.
‘We were superior to our opponents only in patches,’ said the coach. ‘It’s just that a good patch is not good enough to win sufficient points.’ While Feyenoord outplayed NEC in the first half, the visitors showed no mercy after the break. Against sc Heerenveen two week’s later was exactly the opposite, when Feyenoord were better in the second half. ‘There’s no pattern to be found,’ said the coach. ‘Sometimes we’ve pushed on after getting a lead and other times we’ve fallen back.’
Verbeek was able to arrange a full-scale 11 v 11 game during Friday morning training for the first time in weeks. The trainer discussed the left back position with his technical staff, as Tim de Cler is not available against De Graafschap. Giovanni van Bronckhorst was found to be the best alternative and the skipper played in that position in the final training match.
Karim El Ahmadi also took part in training and Verbeek says that he is available for selection on Sunday. The midfielder was forced to miss last weekend’s draw at Vitesse with an Achilles tendon problem.
Whatever the personnel, Feyenoord will be expected to dominate on home turf. ‘We have to beat Van De Graafschap,’ said Verbeek. His squad trained well on Friday and is well prepared for the game. ‘But that does not guarantee us three points.’
De Graafschap can expect a busy time of it between now and the end of the year. Away games at Feyenoord, sc Heerenveen and Heracles Almelo, plus a home match at Vijverberg against Ajax, suggest that the Doetinchem outfit can expect a difficult December.
It certainly looks a tough ask of coach Henk van Stee to guide his side out of the bottom three before the winter break kicks in. De Graafschap have amassed just 9 points from the opening 13 matches, must of them early in the season, when the first two home games of the season were won at home to Vitesse and ADO Den Haag. Unfortunately there are also the only two wins of the season thus far.
A third win looked likely a fortnight ago when Sparta Rotterdam visited, but a red card for Joost Volmer contributed to the home side giving away a 3-1 lead and having to settle for a point. Another home draw followed last week, this time against Roda JC.
Jason Oost was the goal scorer in the most recent game. All told he has netted almost have of his side’s goals this season (4/9). Clearly then, De Graafschap are a little wanting up front.
Oost is one of five players with a Rotterdam background in the squad of coach Van Stee, who himself is a former youth academy head at Feyenoord. René Bot, Joep van den Ouweland, Reinier Robbemond and Jordy Buijs all represented the club in their younger days.
Along with Oost, Buijs is the one getting the most attention at the moment. The defender signed for De Graafschap in the summer after a loan period at the club. He has started the last six competitive matches and appears to be carving a place for himself in Van Stee’s plans.
Feyenoord - De Graafschap
Sunday 7 December, 14:30 at De Kuip
Referee: Van Boekel
Feyenoord: Timmer; Tiendalli, Bahia, Hofland, Van Bronckhorst; Wijnaldum, El Ahmadi, Fer, Lucius, Bruins; Makaay.
De Graafschap: Heijblok; Bot, Hese, Keller, Buijs; Meijer, Jüngschläger, Van den Ouweland; De Ridder, Den Ouden and Oost.
04/11/2007 Feyenoord - De Graafschap 2-0
15/08/2004 Feyenoord - De Graafschap 6-1
21/09/2002 Feyenoord - De Graafschap 2-0
15/09/2001 Feyenoord - De Graafschap 2-0
15/04/2001 Feyenoord - De Graafschap 1-2
09/02/2008 De Graafschap - Feyenoord 1-3
04/02/2005 De Graafschap - Feyenoord 2-7
05/04/2003 De Graafschap - Feyenoord 3-4
25/04/2002 De Graafschap - Feyenoord 1-0
01/10/2000 De Graafschap - Feyenoord 2-3