Just two points separate Feyenoord and ADO Den Haag in the Eredivisie table, but Gertjan Verbeek feels that his side must go into Sunday’s game at De Kuip between the clubs as favourites. ‘We owe it to our position to beat ADO.’

The Rotterdammers had trouble getting into gear early on in the Eredivisie season, but seven points out of the last three matches has seen Feyenoord pick up speed. It certainly leaves Verbeek’s side brimming with confidence ahead of Sunday’s encounter. The coach has seen his team make strides in recent weeks. ‘That’s shown by the fact that we are increasingly able to control games.’

Verbeek will have Denny Landzaat and Andwélé Slory available against ADO after long absences. Both have been missing with hamstring injuries and both returned to action in the reserves last Monday. ‘They could be in the match-day squad,’ admitted Verbeek.

Leroy Fer certainly looks like returning to the eighteen-man squad. The midfielder missed the games against HHC Hardenberg and FC Twente with stomach flu and only returned to the training pitch earlier this week. But Fer is now fully recovered and so available against ADO.

Those are spots of light against an otherwise dark sky of injury. Verbeek’s intensive training methods have oftentimes been given the blame for the physical problems that are plaguing the Feyenoord playing staff this season. The coach himself feels that this is unjust. ‘Lads that have taken part since the start of the season are as fit as a fiddle.’

There was more good news about Karim El Ahmadi. The midfielder made his Morocco debut Wednesday evening in the 3-0 victory against Zambia. ‘Karim was delighted with his debut,’ said Verbeek. El Ahmadi had been ruled out for a protracted period with a groin problem, but he has brought calm and creativity to Feyenoord’s play in recent outings.

The season started so well for ADO Den Haag. Coach André Wetzel guided his team to first place in the league after wins against Sparta Rotterdam (2-5) and AZ (2-0). The good people of The Hague started to dream.

Their city’s team weren’t able to prolong the illusion for too long however and after five defeats on the bounce ADO are fourteenth. It’s still a position that most in The Hague would have jumped at before the start of the season. Safe without even having to participate in the relegation playoffs would be an achievement for the newly promoted side.

Sunday’s visit to Rotterdam will provide more information on ADO’s chances. After the clumsy defeat to Willem II last Saturday – Frank Demouge grabbed the only goal of the game deep into injury time – ADO will be looking to be stingier at De Kuip.

Hursut Meric looks a good bet to start the game. The striker was a revelation early in the season and his good performance coming off the bench against Willem II has earned him a place in the starting line-up.

Meric was largely responsible for ADO making it through to the last sixteen of the KNVB Cup last week. The striker scored twice in the home tie against Fortuna Sittard, showing again that he is the man in form. André Wetzel will be hoping he can repeat the trick against Feyenoord.

Feyenoord - ADO Den Haag
Zondag 23 November, 12:30 at De Kuip
Referee: Nijhuis

Feyenoord: Timmer; Tiendalli, Bahia, Hofland, De Cler; Wijnaldum (Pedro), El Ahmadi, Fer, Van Bronckhorst, Janota; Makaay.
ADO Den Haag: Zwinkels; El Moussaoui, Horváth, Kum, Bosschaart; Immers, Rankovic, Cornelisse; Meric, Knopper and Verhoek.


10/12/2006 Feyenoord - ADO Den Haag 3-1
26/03/2006 Feyenoord - ADO Den Haag 0-2
22/05/2005 Feyenoord - ADO Den Haag 6-3
07/12/2003 Feyenoord - ADO Den Haag 4-1
12/01/1992 Feyenoord - FC Den Haag 3-0

25/02/2007 ADO Den Haag - Feyenoord 3-3
18/12/2005 ADO Den Haag - Feyenoord 2-1
19/12/2004 ADO Den Haag - Feyenoord 2-0
15/02/2004 ADO Den Haag - Feyenoord 2-2
13/10/1991 FC Den Haag - Feyenoord 1-4

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