Verbeek is more concerned with his own team than how their opponents will approach the game. ‘I don’t know how Kalmar will play, but come what may, we have to score. That will be tough enough already.’
The task is not made any easier by the long injury list. Gertjan Verbeek is missing a whole side due to injury. Henk Timmer and Jon Dahl Tomasson were the latest to take up residency in the treatment earlier this week. ‘As a consequence, we are hardly making any progress at the moment,’ admitted Verbeek. ‘A number of players are put in a different position every game. That’s good for their education, but it doesn’t make it easy to develop our idea of how to play football.’
That said, Verbeek feels his side still has a good shot at getting into the group stages of the Uefa Cup by turning Kalmar over on Thursday. ‘In the first leg we created a lot of chances and were dominant in the first half. What’s more, the players realise that they have to do it together. Young and old respect and appreciate each other fantastically.’
Nominally the Swedes are at home, but the game will be played in Borås 270 km to the west on an artificial surface, which might just level things up a bit. Verbeek certainly thinks so. ‘They like us are not used to playing on an artificial surface, so it means neither team has the advantage.’
While Feyenoord’s season has really only started, Kalmar FF are into the decisive stages of their own. The Swedish club’s fans have had a rollercoaster ride over the past couple of weeks. A day after the 0-1 victory at De Kuip Kalmar lost the national cup final to IFK Göteborg.
That was the end of any dreams of a domestic double, but Kalmar were still four points clear of rivals Elfsborg in the league. That was until defeat at third-place Helsingborg, former Feyenoord player Henrik Larsson’s club. Elfsborg duly won their game to get within a point.
The two sides faced each other in Kalmar on Sunday in a fixture that will go a long way to deciding the destination of the league trophy. Viktor Elm bagged two for the home side, who won 2-1, extending their lead at the top to four points again, with six games to play.
Those were Elm’s seventh and eighth goals of the season. The sc Heerenveen-bound striker is still seven short of team-mate Patrik Ingelsten, who has 15.
Uefa Cup First Round, Second Leg
Kalmar FF – Feyenoord
Thursday 2 October, 18:30 at Borås Arena
Referee: Thorsten Kinhöfer (GER)
Kalmar FF: Wastå; Sorin, Lantz, Lindberg, Nouri; Israelson, Rydstrom, Johansson, Augustsson; Ingelsten and V. Elm.
Feyenoord: Van Dijk; Greene, Bahia, Hofland, De Cler; Wijnaldum, Fer, Bruins, Van Bronckhorst, Biseswar; Makaay.