Bert van Marwijk gave his squad two days off at the start of the week. The coach’s thinking was that his players needed a bit of time to recover from their aches and pains. He’s hoping that it helps his team show more zest against Vitesse Sunday than has been the case in recent weeks. ‘It’s been a great week. The squad needed a couple of days rest, everything pointed to that,’ said Van Marwijk Friday.

Denny Landzaat is one player who clearly benefited from his free time. The decision to pull the midfielder from last week’s game at De Graafschap was taken only during the warming-up, when he felt the effects of a hamstring injury. But after the players were given Monday and Tuesday free the international proved to be fit enough to return to training when the squad reassembled Wednesday. ‘Those few days’ rest have done him good,’ admitted Van Marwijk. ‘He appears to be sharp and fit.’

The picture is not quite that clear for Tim de Cler, Jonathan de Guzman and Chun-Soo Lee. All three have foot complaints and it kept Lee and De Guzman off the training pitch Friday. De Cler did start a practice game, but could scarcely walk by the end of it according to Van Marwijk. ‘Normally, an injury like that gradually heals, but it’s only getting worse in De Cler’s case.’

Van Marwijk was unwilling to confirm or deny whether Michael Mols would start the match again. The striker is fit again, after recovering from a knee injury. ‘I’ve decided that for myself already,’ said the coach. ‘We have had our best period of the season with Makaay upfront and a fit and in form Hofs, De Guzman and Bruins behind him. But situations evolve in a season, due to injury or players losing form for example, when the team demands something else. But I’m happy that I was able to see what Michael can do for the team, against AZ for example.’

Whatever the personnel, Van Marwijk expects a tough game Sunday. ‘No opponent is easy for us. Vitesse are a very sturdy team that can play good football too.’

Vitesse seem to have found just the right formula for nestling in the middle of the table after every round of games. As soon as things look like picking up the Arnhem outfit manage to balance it up with a hefty loss, and when things threaten to nose dive they manage to manufacture a win.

Obviously Vitesse would like to move further up the table, but at least they don’t have to worry about being sucked into danger at the other end. That is perhaps unsurprising, because coach Aad de Mos really have anyone in his squad that rises above the rest or is clearly having trouble coping at this level.

The model Vitesse player would seem to be Theo Janssen. Many years ago the midfielder was flagged as a rising star who would inevitably move to a bigger club. But that simply hasn’t happened. Janssen is in his tenth season in Arnhem, punctured only by a short sojourn at RC Genk. He seems to be happy to play at the club he started out at. Aad de Mos feels that Janssen is good enough for a second-ever Dutch cap, just he does not always feel he deserves a place in the starting line-up.

The club’s results this season reinforce the image of the so-so club. The best run of wins came at the start of the campaign, which Vitesse started with three victories, since then it’s pretty much been a case of win-draw-loss.

Feyenoord – Vitesse
Sunday 17 February, 14:30 at De Kuip

Feyenoord: Timmer; Fer, Greene, Hofland, De Cler (Bahia); Landzaat, De Guzman, Van Bronckhorst; Hofs, Makaay, Bruins
Vitesse: Velthuizen; Verhaegh, Van Diermen, Sansoni, Swerts; Takak, Van der Schaaf, Kolk, Janssen; Gommans, Junker

05/11/2006 Feyenoord – Vitesse 2-1
06/11/2005 Feyenoord – Vitesse 0-0
23/01/2005 Feyenoord – Vitesse 1-2
22/11/2003 Feyenoord – Vitesse 3-0
12/04/2003 Feyenoord – Vitesse 2-1

07/10/2007 Vitesse – Feyenoord 0-1
01/04/2007 Vitesse – Feyenoord 0-1
15/01/2006 Vitesse – Feyenoord 0-1
29/08/2004 Vitesse – Feyenoord 1-1
08/02/2004 Vitesse – Feyenoord 0-0

Feyenoord Business CLub