Whether he plays him or not, Van Marwijk was certainly very happy to add Landzaat to his squad. ‘You immediately see how important it is that we have another player in midfield, because Van Bronckhorst is suspended.’ The skipper played such an important role in Thursday’s victory that he will be sorely missed against Groningen. ‘It’s a pity it ended with a yellow card for him, but he did send a signal to the team.’
The coach has been hammering on for weeks about needing to see his team to show more initiative and it finally got a response in Thursday’s second half. ‘You can talk to the players all you want, give them a kick up the backside or ruffle their hair, but the most important thing is that they see it on the pitch. The players have now experienced first hand what I meant.’
Van Marwijk expects that his side will be given an extra impulse ahead of Sunday’s game by the arrival of Landzaat. ‘He is a dynamic, experienced holding midfielder. He scores regularly too. What’s more I think he’s become a lot harder in the English league. I think Denny and us are a very good fit.’
Landzaat could have had an even bigger impact if the whole team was fully fit, the coach feels. Unfortunately Kevin Hofland (foot) and Danny Buijs (buttock) are both sidelined, while Tim de Cler and Luigi Bruins are also doubtful. De Cler has groin problems, while Bruins was substituted against Twente after feeling his hamstring. An MRI scan on Friday will show how serious the youngster’s complaint is.
Feyenoord will have to be focused on the job at hand when they face Groningen, so much is certain. Looking at the record of Ron Jans’ side, it’s interesting to note that Groningen have yet to lose against one of the traditional ‘big three’. At home FC Groningen won against both PSV (2-1) and Feyenoord (3-2) this season, while also claiming a point in Amsterdam against Ajax (2-2).
With that in mind, the club’s fourth place at the moment should be no surprise. It could be said that they should be even higher up the table. The reason is that Groningen have dropped too many points against the so-called lesser sides lower down the league. Both NEC and De Graafschap have gained victories against the northerners. It seems almost as though they can only get themselves up for a game when the opposition is in the upper reaches of the table.
The two meetings against Fiorentina in the Uefa Cup would tend to strengthen this premise. Groningen had the better of their Serie A opponents – whose ranks included Adrian Mutu and Christian Vieri – home and away, before being dumped out of the competition on penalties.
Which makes it all the more striking how emphatically Feyenoord beat Groningen in the KNVB Cup earlier this season, courtesy of a Roy Makaay hat-trick. Feyenoord will be more than happy if they can repeat the trick again on Sunday.
Feyenoord – FC Groningen
Sunday 27 January, 14:30 at De Kuip
Feyenoord: Timmer; Lucius, Greene, Bahia, De Cler; Landzaat, De Guzman, Sahin; Hofs, Makaay, Slory
FC Groningen: Van Loo; Hiariej, Kruiswijk, Sankoh, Metaj; Meerdink, Lindgren, Lovre, Fledderus; Nevland, Nijland
08/04/2007 Feyenoord - FC Groningen 0-4
16/10/2005 Feyenoord - FC Groningen 4-1
21/11/2004 Feyenoord - FC Groningen 1-2
02/05/2004 Feyenoord - FC Groningen 1-2
23/02/2003 Feyenoord - FC Groningen 4-1
25/11/2007 FC Groningen - Feyenoord 3-2
20/08/2006 FC Groningen - Feyenoord 3-0
26/02/2006 FC Groningen - Feyenoord 1-1
24/04/2005 FC Groningen - Feyenoord 0-2
02/11/2003 FC Groningen - Feyenoord 3-3