DECISIVE WEEKEND FOR THE TITLE, THOUGH NOTHING WILL BE DECIDED

Feyenoord’s place in the play-offs could be as good as sealed at the weekend, even if the Rotterdammers make short work of visitors’ RKC Waalwijk in Sunday’s Eredivisie game at De Kuip. League-leaders PSV return from Lyon, hoping to rinse away the bad taste of a Champions League exit by moving three points closer to another Dutch title with a win at Ajax Saturday. Feyenoord fans find themselves in the unusual position of hoping the Amsterdam-outfit win the game, although Erwin Koeman and his players will be more concerned with what happens on the banks of the Maas.

Patrick Paauwe’s suspension against FC Utrecht forced Erwin Koeman to change his favoured formation last week. The coach pushed Serginho Greene up a line and gave Pieter Collen a start at right back. Koeman expressed his delight at his team in general and at Collen and Greene in particular as Feyenoord steamrollered over their opponents in what was perhaps their best performance of the season. Bearing that in mind, it’s justifiable to speculate about whether Koeman will stick with the formula for the second week in succession, naming Greene and Collen ahead of Paauwe, who is available again. Unsurprisingly, the coach was unwilling to articulate his thoughts on the subject Friday. ‘It looked good against FC Utrecht; you’ll see on Sunday how we’re going to play,’ was all Koeman would say.

RKC Waalwijk have already turned Feyenoord over this season, but Koeman says he will not let that shape his tactics ahead of the game. ‘If Dirk had scored after fifteen seconds of that game when Teixeira made a mistake there would probably not have been any problem. What’s more, we are further along now than we were at the time, that was another point in the league,’ says Koeman.

Feyenoord have few complications going into the weekend. Tim Vincken is set to go under the knife Friday and will not play any further part this season. Patrick Lodewijks hopes he can make the play-offs, unless Feyenoord overtake PSV and won the league of course. Christian Gyan is suspended after earning himself a red card in the reserves at the start of the week.

Alfred Schreuder has been out of action for six months but he will be treading the grass at half time Sunday. The midfielder is scheduled to accept the letters and emails of support that have been received in large quantities after the announcement that Schreuder’s young daughter Anouk is seriously ill.

On-loan Feyenoord youngster Gianni Zuiverloon has been out of the RKC Waalwijk team for several weeks now, so he is not expected to line up against his employer. Erwin Koeman is fully versed on the reasons for Zuiverloon’s absence, but is not interested in discussing the matter in any detail at this juncture. ‘It is a technical issue. I’ve spoken with RKC about it. I’m not ready to say whether we are going to bring him or any other loan players back. It’s not even mid-March, so we have time on our side.’

RKC Waalwijk are still in the race for a top-nine finish, which would be a good performance in terms of finances and give them a place in the play-offs, but it would be a bit of a disappointment considering the club’s start to the season. Adrie Koster’s side were among the early pacesetters in the Eredivisie, and Feyenoord were sent home with nothing when the clubs met at the Mandemakers Stadium back in October, but the yellow and blues have been in freefall ever since, posting just six wins and five draws in the past 22 games, after collecting fifteen points from their first five fixtures.  

EREDIVISIE
Feyenoord – RKC Waalwijk
Sunday 12 March 2006, 14:30 at De Kuip
Referee: Temmink

PROBABLE LINE-UPS
Feyenoord: Aerts; Greene (Collen), Vlaar, Bahia, Bosschaart; Hofs, Paauwe (Greene), De Guzman; Castelen, Kuyt, Kalou.
RKC Waalwijk: Van Dijk; Van Diemen, Bakens, Keller, Van Haaren; Matthijssen, Berger, Fuchs, D. van Dijk; Lurling, Krohn-Dehli.

LAST TEN LEAGUE MEETINGS
HOME
24/10/2004 Feyenoord - RKC Waalwijk 4-0
21/3/2004 Feyenoord - RKC Waalwijk 1-0
11/5/2003 Feyenoord - RKC Waalwijk 2-1
31/3/2002 Feyenoord - RKC Waalwijk 1-1
9/9/2000 Feyenoord - RKC Waalwijk 3-1
AWAY
23/10/2005 RKC Waalwijk - Feyenoord 2-1
19/3/2005 RKC Waalwijk - Feyenoord 2-4
21/12/2003 RKC Waalwijk - Feyenoord 0-0
23/11/2002 RKC Waalwijk - Feyenoord 1-0
28/11/2001 RKC Waalwijk - Feyenoord 2-3

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