Karim El Ahmadi is leaving Feyenoord after eight seasons at the club. The 33-year-old midfielder, who has won four trophies...
Feyenoord will travel to the 22,000-capacity Lokomotiv Stadium in Sofia for the first-round first leg match in the Uefa Cup after being pitched against Bulgarian outfit Lokomotiv Sofia in Friday’s draw. Erwin Koeman’s side play in the Bulgarian capital on Thursday 14 September, with the return at De Kuip a fortnight later. It’s the first European appearance since 1996 for Lokomotiv, who are finally showing signs of a resurgence after a decade in the wilderness.
Lokomtiv finished last season fourth in the league, securing a place in the qualifying rounds of the Uefa cup. Skopje outfit Makedonija were beaten 3-1 on aggregate in qualifying round one, ahead of a 6-0 aggregate drubbing of Tel Aviv club Bnei Yehuda in round two of qualifying. The reaction in Sofia to the pairing with Feyenoord is sure to be positive. The four-time Bulgarian title-holder – the most recent championship dates back to 1978 – have beaten Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain in the past and the name of the 2002 Uefa Cup winners would complete an impression trio of scalps.
The Bulgarians are in fine fettle at the start of the new season, with maximum points from their first three fixtures, a record matched only by city rivals CSKA. What’s more, Lokomtiv have yet to concede a goal. The good form is down to coach Grozdanov, who has held the reins at the club since 2004, bringing continuity and calm to a club that had earned a reputation as a coach’s graveyard in recent years.