FEYENOORD BUOYANT AHEAD OF TOP TIE

Feyenoord lock horns with TOP Oss in the second round of the KNVB cup Wednesday full of confidence. The weekend performance of Gertjan Verbeek’s depleted squad against Ajax on Sunday points to the Rotterdammers placing for the next round at the expense of the Jupiler League outfit, says the coach himself.

Feyenoord will have to do it without Jon Dahl Tomasson however. The Dane came out of the Ajax tussle with not only two goals but a hamstring injury too. Theo Lucius and Jonathan de Guzman will also miss the game – both through suspension. Giovanni van Bronckhorst returns to the squad though, after missing Sunday’s game.

Verbeek felt that while Ajax and TOP Oss are miles apart in footballing terms, his side had to approach Wednesday’s game as it got ready for Sunday’s. ‘We prepared in the same way, although the players’ perceptions are different.’ Be that as it may, Verbeek is confident his players will do what’s expected of them. ‘In spite of all the injuries we still have a lot more quality than the opposition.’

Victory against TOP Oss would not only get Feyenoord into the next round, it would also help improve confidence at De Kuip. After the disappointing start to the season at Heracles Almelo, the Rotterdammers are looking to consolidate their advancement, not least ahead of the second leg of the UEFA Cup round one tie in Borås against Kalmar FF next Thursday.

Verbeek has not overlooked the good start – fifth in the table –TOP Oss have made either. ‘It’s very good considering their possibilities. You cannot compare the budgets of Feyenoord and TOP Oss, but it would not be the first time a first division club beat an Eredivisie club.’ That said Verbeek is not entertaining any thought of elimination. One reason for that is the performance against Ajax. ‘A game like Sunday’s is always good for your confidence.’

THE OPPOSITION

TOP Oss is one of the smallest professional football clubs in the history of the Dutch game. TOP returned to the pro circuit in 1991 after a 33-year interval, but the Oss-based outfit have never made it further than the promotion playoffs (twice). Needless to say, both ended in failure.

TOP Oss, the acronym spells out To Our Pleasure in Dutch, don’t have a lot of pedigree in the cup either. The club’s best performance came in 2004-2005 under former coach Harry van den Ham, when they reached the quarters. His successor Hans de Koning would like to match that at least, but an away tie against the cup-holders is not the best draw his side could have hoped for.

TOP have started the season quite well in the Dutch second-tier Jupiler League. Fourteen points from eight games has the Brabant side in fifth place. Interestingly, all but two of those points were earned at home.

It is sure to be a memorable night for many of the TOP Oss players when they walk out at De Kuip Wednesday – for most of them it will be the first time. The probability of actually reaching the final is fairly low, so supporters and staff are sure to savour the occasion whatever happens.

KNVB CUP
Feyenoord – TOP Oss
Wednesday 24 September, 20:45 at De Kuip
Referee:
Van Hulten

PROBABLE LINE-UPS
Feyenoord:
Timmer; Greene, Bahia, Hofland, De Cler; Bruins, Wijnaldum, Van Bronckhorst, Biseswar; Makaay and Mols.
TOP Oss: De Vogt; Van Engelen, Van Hintum, Schoofs, Galatà; Van der Ven, Kazlauskas, Thijssen; Moutawakil, Fachtali and Zafarin.
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