The games have come thick and fast in the festive season and Feyenoord have been unable to relax for too long after the fine draw against PSV. Excelsior are low down the league but the bonds between the club mean that Feyenoord always have to be extra wary when they travel to Woudestein Stadium. The Maassiders will also have to put a stop to their inconsistency if they are to mount a serious challenge against the clubs that currently occupy the top four positions in the Eredivisie after the winter break. Good performances against AZ, PSV and FC Twente, have been interspersed with poor displays against FC Utrecht and NEC. ‘We don’t want to follow a good result with a bad result again,’ confirms the Feyenoord coach. ‘This match is very important. At Excelsior they look forward to this match like we looked forward to the matches against PSV and AZ. That demands a little extra from us. We have to be honourable enough to give our all. We’ve seen what that can lead to.’
Alfred Schreuder has been back with the squad for the last two matches, but he has not been blooded yet and there is no overwhelming evidence that the situation will change before the turn of the year. ‘I might bring him on,’ says Koeman. ‘The occasion is yet to arrive. Alfred himself hopes to come on, but he does understand why he has not. He will certainly get pitch time during the training camp in Turkey.’
Serghino Greene returns to the squad on Friday. He takes over from Sebastián Pardo, who loses his place in the sixteen. Dwight Tiendalli is also missing. He is still suffering from a groin strain. Given the strong display against the league leaders it would not seem logical for Koeman to ticker too much anyway.
Excelsior will be looking to round off the first half of the season with a good result against their city neighbours. Ton Lokhoff’s team started their campaign in strong style, but have dropped off of late and are now out of the relegation playoff zone only by virtue of having a superior goal difference to Heracles and Willem II. The Tilburg outfit handed Excelsior its fifth loss on the bounce on Boxing Day. November had ended positively with a 6-1 trouncing of Heracles, but defeats to AZ, NAC, Ajax, Heerenveen and Willem II have followed. The 1-2 reverse at NAC was rather characteristics in that respect, as the Rotterdammers had a man extra for 80 minutes and still went home empty-handed.
The home side will be looking to prove themselves in the red and black of Feyenoord’s satellite club, not least Andwélé Slory, who moves across the city to the Feijenoord district at the end of the season. The striker is expected to cause Erwin Koeman’s side most problems Friday. He has eight goals already, which is outstanding considering Excelsior’s league position. Other players who stand out include midfielder Luigi Bruins, although keeper Theo Zwarthoed, defender Jos van Nieuwstadt, striker Sebastiaan Steur and one-time De Kuip cult hero Chris have all started the season well.
Excelsior – Feyenoord
Friday 29 December, 20:15 at Woudestein Stadium
Excelsior: Zwarthoed; Bandjar, Drost, Van Nieuwstadt, Zijm; Bruins, Van Dieren, Guijo-Velasco; Slory, Dijkhuizen, Piqué
Feyenoord: Feyenoord: Timmer; Buijs, Vlaar, Bahia, Drenthe; Lucius, Hofs, De Guzman; Kolkka, Charisteas, Huysegems
LAST TEN LEAGUE MEETINGS
24/9/2006 Feyenoord - Excelsior 1-0
10/9/2002 Feyenoord - Excelsior 4-1
21/9/1986 Feyenoord - Excelsior 5-0
3/11/1985 Feyenoord - Excelsior 2-1
25/4/1985 Feyenoord - Excelsior 2-1
8/3/2003 Excelsior - Feyenoord 2-6
5/4/1987 Excelsior - Feyenoord 1-6
27/4/1986 Excelsior - Feyenoord 2-1
4/11/1984 Excelsior - Feyenoord 2-4
15/4/1984 Excelsior - Feyenoord 0-2