It’s understandable that Van Marwijk is contemplating risking Landzaat Sunday. Henk Timmer is almost certain to miss the game and with the suspended Giovanni van Bronckhorst and the injured Roy Makaay also out of the running, the coach finds himself with very little experience in his team. ‘It’s a tough one,’ admits Van Marwijk.
Anything other than a win in Tilburg will torpedo Feyenoord’s hopes of clawing their way back into the tope five and a place in Champions League playoffs. But the same goes for next week against Roda JC in the last game of the regular season. Not to mention the week after that when Feyenoord line up in the cup final, again against Roda JC. Playing Russian roulette with a hamstring injury could have some very nasty consequences. ‘I’ll look at the situation on Saturday,’ says Van Marwijk.
Feyenoord have to win the last two league games to have any hope of finishing in the top five. The Rotterdammers would still have to hope one of the sides directly above them slip up, but with FC Twente travelling to champions in waiting PSV Sunday, six more points would probably be enough to scramble over the Enschede outfit. ‘I think we’d make it with two wins,’ says Van Marwijk, who is also quick to point out that they are not in the bag yet. The trip to Tilburg is certainly not a foregone conclusion. ‘Willem II are fighting for their last chances; we can expect a lot of resistance. They have to go for it. I also have the feeling they are stronger at home than results would suggest.’
Just how Van Marwijk is going to compensate for the unavailability of experienced midfielders against the Eredivisie’s third-bottom team remained unclear Friday afternoon. The coach indicated that Theo Lucius could move up from defence. Youngsters Georginio Wijnaldum and Leroy Fer were also mentioned by name, but the coach left his eventual decision open to speculation. ‘I’m going to give it some thought,’ was all the coach was willing to say.
He won’t have to spend much time contemplating the keepers’ situation at least. With Henk Timmer and Sherif Ekramy both touch and go with injuries, Erwin Mulder may be Van Marwijk’s only option between the sticks. Brazilian goalie Darley would be on the bench for the first time since his January switch to Rotterdam.
Willem II – Feyenoord
Sunday 13 April, 14:30 at Willem II Stadium
Mulder (Timmer/Ekramy); Lucius (Greene), Bahia, Hofland, De Cler; Hofs, Landzaat (Lucius), Sahin; De Guzman, Mols, Bruins.