IF IT AIN’T BROKE DON’T FIX IT, SAYS VAN MARWIJK

Most of the talk ahead of Saturday’s game at home to Willem II was about whether Feyenoord would be able to add anyone to the squad before the transfer window shut. As it turns out, there is a deal in the works, but it will not be completed in time for the player to make the bench or even the stands, so Bert van Marwijk will have to devise a way to beat Willem II with his current squad.

The results of the past two weeks – the 3-0 win in Utrecht and the 5-0 mauling of NAC – would suggest that should not be too much of a problem. Van Marwijk has been obliged to get creative this term and he’s been successful thus far. With Nicky Hofs behind target man Roy Makaay and Jonathan de Guzman and Luigi Bruins on the wings the Feyenoord attack has been difficult to pin down and consequently very threatening.

It seems likely that Van Marwijk won’t change a winning formula Saturday night. A day before the game the coach admitted to being delighted with the performances of Bruins in the first two games. ‘We could put someone on the left side with a good turn of skill, but it’s useless if you cannot keep up the service to Makaay like he needs it. Luigi has an eye for a through-ball, so he’s great alongside Makaay.’

With that in mind, Feyenoord have concentrated on finding a player for the left wing who functions best as part of a team. Van Marwijk has also admitted to wanting a big strong striker. Albert Luque seemed to fit the bill on both counts, but when it became clear that there was no deal to be made, attentions turned to Chun-Soo Lee.

Tim Vincken is one of the few real wingers in the squad, but for him Saturday’s game comes too soon. Vincken has been sidelined with a hamstring injury for weeks and only returned to group training this week. As a result, he is long from match fit. Van Marwijk expects the player to be ready to go in two weeks when Feyenoord take on Roda JC.

Serginho Greene also returned to group training Friday and he too will have to make full use of the next two weeks to get fit. Other injured players are Dwight Tiendalli and Jacob Lensky.

THE OPPONENTS
Anyone looking back at the final league standings of Willem II over the past two decades will be struck by the club’s consistent inconsistency. Make a chart out of it and it looks like the readout of a heart patient. Just when the Tilburg outfit look to be on the up, the balloon bursts and they tumble back towards the sod. By way of example, back in 1988 Willem II finished fourth in the table; a year later they avoided relegation by the skin of their teeth. In 1995 there was a comfortable seventh place for the club; a year later the club’s supporters saw their heroes finished five places worse off.

In 1999 there was even a runners-up place for Willem II, but for every mountain there’s a dale and stability has been one thing the club’s management have been unable to deliver. The rollercoaster ride has been less undulating these past two seasons, with low finishes in both, which might inspire the club’s fans to believe that a great season is coming. Coach Dennis van Wijk has the task of leading the ascent.

EREDIVISIE
Feyenoord – Willem II
Saturday 1 September, 20:00 at De Kuip
Referee:
Nijhuis

PROBABLE LINE-UPS
Feyenoord:
Timmer; Lucius, Vlaar, Hofland, De Cler; Sahin, Hofs, Van Bronckhorst; De Guzman, Makaay and Bruins
Willem II: Vermeer; Janse Bælum, Van der Struijk, Swinkels; Hadouir, Boutahar, Kargbo, Bobson; El Hamdaoui and Poepon

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING
HOME
18/03/2007 Feyenoord - Willem II 0-0
29/12/2005 Feyenoord - Willem II 6-1
13/02/2005 Feyenoord - Willem II 7-0
26/10/2003 Feyenoord - Willem II 2-1
26/10/2002 Feyenoord - Willem II 5-1

AWAY
12/11/2006 Willem II - Feyenoord 3-5
30/10/2005 Willem II - Feyenoord 1-3
22/08/2004 Willem II - Feyenoord 0-4
29/02/2004 Willem II - Feyenoord 0-3
25/05/2003 Willem II - Feyenoord 1-1

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