That could all be dissipated Sunday when Feyenoord meet ADO Den Haag in The Hague. Coach Lex Schoenmaker’s side is at the bottom of the Eredivisie pile right now, but Feyenoord cannot assume it’ll be like taking candy from a baby. The Rotterdammers have been finding things difficult on their travels in recent weeks. Eleven goals conceded and no points in the last three away fixtures tells its own story.
Erwin Koeman does have another reason for believing his side will have a tough afternoon at Zuiderpark stadium. The coach pointed out that ADO have a number of players with a Feyenoord past who will be doing their utmost to prove themselves against their former club. Koeman himself has two who came in the other direction. Romeo Castelen is one, while the other is Joonas Kolkka, who was playing in The Hague this time last year. The coach was unwilling to reveal whether the Finn would be lining up against is ex-club. ‘Anything can happen when a play plays against his old club. It goes well one time and badly another.’
One player who isn’t available is Alfred Schreuder. The midfield is still not fully fit after his hamstring injury and he now has a minor groin strain to contend with. Theo Lucius returns however, after serving out a one-match ban.
Koeman is expecting a scrap Sunday. ‘ADO Den Haag will try and make life difficult for us; it will come down to individual battles. My players have to stand up for themselves when the time comes. It won’t be easy for us. We have to stay calm. If we do, we’ll get chances. There will be times during the match when we are not allowed to play, but there’ll also be times when we will be able to hurt them.’
ADO NO PUSHOVER AT HOME
ADO Den Haag are currently bottom of the pile in the Eredivisie, but the Hague club have not been a pushover on home turf this season. Ajax, AZ and PSV have all found things tough-going on the west coast, with the Amsterdammers winning 2-1, the champions claiming a 2-0 win and AZ running out 3-1 victors.
The defence is the strongest line in the team, with players like Ferrie Bodde, Tininho and Stijn Vreven capable of striking fear into any striker’s heart. The result is a whopping 64 yellow cards for the club.
There is seemingly less resilience in goal, where ADO Den Haag have gone through five keepers already this term. Stefan Postma, Robert Zwinkels and Josh Wagenaar have all fallen out of contention due to injury and Sergio Sánchez arrived from Spain recently, after 19-year-old Richard van Nieuwkoop went between the sticks last week.
The worst home defeat of the season was a 3-0 loss to Vitesse back in November, which led coach Frans Adelaar to throw in the towel. Lex Schoenmaker took on the head coaching duties and the next match was a 5-2 home defeat of FC Groningen, but the results have been less than inspiring since. The only other win has been against Willem II.
The club is currently two points adrift of RKC at the bottom and five off fifteenth, a position that avoids the end-of-season playoffs, so ADO Den Haag is certainly not doomed to playing its first season in its new stadium in the second tier.
Two wins and a draw at home to Feyenoord in the past three years would suggest that the Hague outfit have an chance to climb off the bottom as early as coming Sunday. The Rotterdammers last won in The Hague in October 1991, a season when FC Den Haag were relegated to the first division, where they would stay for twelve years.
ADO Den Haag – Feyenoord
Sunday 25 February, 12.30 at Zuiderpark stadium
ADO Den Haag: Sánchez (Van Nieuwkoop); Bakkati, El Moussaoui, Bunjevcevic (Schwiebbe), Lompoutis; Delorge, Bodde, Bosschaart; Kolk, Mols, Hoogendorp
Feyenoord: Timmer; Greene, Vlaar, Bahia, Drenthe; Buijs, Lucius, De Guzman; Castelen, Charisteas, Huysegems (Kolkka)
LAST TEN LEAGUE MEETINGS
10/12/2006 Feyenoord - ADO Den Haag 3-1
26/03/2006 Feyenoord - ADO Den Haag 0-2
22/05/2005 Feyenoord - ADO Den Haag 6-3
07/12/2003 Feyenoord - ADO Den Haag 4-1
12/01/1992 Feyenoord - FC Den Haag 3-0
18/12/2005 ADO Den Haag - Feyenoord 2-1
19/12/2004 ADO Den Haag - Feyenoord 2-0
15/02/2004 ADO Den Haag - Feyenoord 2-2
13/10/1991 FC Den Haag - Feyenoord 1-4
05/05/1991 FC Den Haag - Feyenoord 0-2