‘The confidence is back,’ said a satisfied Feyenoord head coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst on Friday afternoon, two days ...
PSV versus Feyenoord is always an attractive match-up but recent years have seen the game unfortunately scheduled. PSV had already wrapped up the championship by the time the Rotterdammers arrived in Eindhoven last season, and the same has happened this year too. Erwin Koeman is disappointed that stakes are not higher in a game with international allure. ‘I would rather have played PSV two weeks ago when the interest was still there. They are there now, but don’t want to win at all costs anymore with a view to the playoffs. The table scarcely matters and I think that’s a pity.’
Koeman still feels there is plenty to play for Wednesday. Feyenoord still have an outside chance of trumping AZ for second place, which would be a great achievement, although it’s difficult to say whether it would be a blessing or a curse, as it’s uncertain who will finish fourth and fifth. More importantly perhaps is the prestige that’s at stake. ‘We obviously want to inflict a first home league defeat of the season on PSV,’ says Koeman. ‘PSV have other interests. They will really not want to lose to Feyenoord on the day their coaches say farewell. So you have two teams that want to win. It’s just a pity that the game wasn’t played two weeks ago. We do not have too many top games in Holland and it is a shame that this game has been scheduled so late in the season. We want to win, but not at any price. And with that I mean the fitness of the players and the playoffs, which get underway next week.’
Dirk Kuyt and Pieter Collen are doubts ahead of the fixture. Kuyt did not train Tuesday due to a foot injury that also almost kept him out of the weekend game against Heerenveen. Koeman will speak with his medical team on the day of the match about the striker’s availability. ‘If it does not pose a risk I don’t see any reason to keep him on the sidelines. I would be more likely to use the RBC game to give a player a rest,’ explained Koeman. Pieter Collen is troubled by a hamstring injury and his availability too will only be known Wednesday. On the positive side, Patrick Lodewijks is right on track for a return before the playoffs. The keeper will start on the bench against his old club, as Sharif Ekhramy continues in goal.
PSV wrapped up their nineteenth Dutch title at the weekend – the fifth in seven years and the third in four seasons under Guus Hiddink. It’s a record that clearly shows where the balance of power lies in Dutch football at the start of the third millennium. AZ and Feyenoord had title aspirations of their own going into the second half of the season, but PSV have seen off the two challenges despite having a much tougher schedule, including the Champions League. Hiddink’s side have lost just twice in the league this season at FC Groningen and at Feyenoord of course, when Dirk Kuyt scored the winner.
PSV – Feyenoord
Wednesday 12 April, 20:00 at the Philips Stadium
PSV: Gomes; Lucius, Addo, Alex, Ball; Aissati, Simons, Cocu; Farfán, Vennegoor of Hesselink, Koné.
Feyenoord: Ekramy; Collen, Vlaar, Bahia, Bosschaart; De Guzman, Greene, Hofs; Castelen, Kuyt (Kalou), Kalou (Boussaboun).
LAST TEN LEAGUE MEETINGS
11/12/2005 Feyenoord – PSV 1-0
12/12/2004 Feyenoord – PSV 3-3
21/9/2003 Feyenoord – PSV 1-3
18/5/2003 Feyenoord – PSV 3-1
16/12/2001 Feyenoord – PSV 0-0
15/5/2005 PSV – Feyenoord 4-2
14/3/2004 PSV – Feyenoord 0-1
17/11/2002 PSV – Feyenoord 1-2
14/4/2002 PSV – Feyenoord 2-0
12/11/2000 PSV – Feyenoord 1-0