Feyenoord go into Sunday's game at Heerenveen in the knowledge that their fate is in their own hands. A win at the Abe Lenstra stadium will secure a place in the Champions League playoffs at the expense of their opponents. A draw will leave Feyenoord's fate in the lap of the gods, with both Roda JC and FC Gronginen snapping at the Rotterdammers' heels. Erwin Koeman is fully aware of the stakes: 'It is in our own hands. I truly believe that we will be able to grab our chance and that belief is also prevalent among the players.'

Koeman is aware however that there is a thin line between winning and losing. 'You saw that with PSV. If Arouna Koné had made it 0-2 in Utrecht he would have left the pitch on someone's shoulders.' He didn't and the home side grabbed an equaliser, which means that PSV are now third in the table with just an outside chance of the title.

'The only thing we can do is work hard. The players have to co! me off that pitch knowing they have given their all. In any event, we have to show character.'

The statistics do not give Feyenoord a great deal of hope. The Rotterdammers last won at the Abe Lenstra stadium on 11 September 1998, although the two most recent fixtures have been drawn.

The good news is that Theo Lucius has recovered from his hamstring injury and will start a game for the first time in six weeks. Koeman feels that his captain's inclusion will relax his side. 'When you have quality it doesn't matter that you are not match fit.' Royton Drenthe is a doubt however, due to a calf strain. 'We know how he is,' says Koeman. 'Royston would rather die on the pitch than not play.'

Danny Buijs is another one whose inclusion is not certain. The midfielder has a bulging eye from the NEC game and Koeman feels that he will find it hard to know what's going on behind him. Angelos Charisteas will however probably be fit for the game, after missing three days of tra! ining with stomach flue.

Heerenveen striker Afonso Alves has been the revelation of the Eredivisie this season, with thirty goals so far already with the playoffs still to come, and there is interest from a number of European clubs. A quick look at the goals-for column shows how much Heerenveen rely on the Brazilian. Alves has netted more than half of his side's haul this season ' second highest scorer Lasse Nilsson has eight goals.

On the other hand, the Frisian outfit have conceded few this term. Michael Dingsdag and Petter Hansson form a strong defensive block, while hard-worker Paul Bosvelt lines up alongside the more creative Ugur Yildirim in midfield.

Heerenveen need to win on Sunday to jump over Feyenoord into the last Champions League playoff position and if they succeed it will very much be a case of mission accomplished from the northerners.

SC Heerenveen - Feyenoord
Sunday 29 April, 14:30 at Abe Lenstra Stadium

Heerenveen:Vandenbussche; Zuiverloon, Hansson, Dingsdag, Breuer; Yildirim, Bosvelt, Hanssen, Pranjic; Alves, Nilsson
Feyenoord: Timmer; Tiendalli, Vlaar, Schreuder, Drenthe; Buijs, Lucius, De Guzman; Castelen, Charisteas, Van Hooijdonk


03/12/2006 Feyenoord - SC Heerenveen 4-3
18/09/2005 Feyenoord - SC Heerenveen 5-1
01/05/2005 Feyenoord - SC Heerenveen 1-3
07/03/2004 Feyenoord - SC Heerenveen 2-2
22/03/2003 Feyenoord - SC Heerenveen 5-0

07/04/2006 SC Heerenveen - Feyenoord 1-1
28/11/2004 SC Heerenveen - Feyenoord 2-2
23/08/2003 SC Heerenveen - Feyenoord 1-0
07/12/2002 SC Heerenveen - Feyenoord 3-1
01/12/2001 SC Heerenveen - Feyenoord 1-0

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