‘The confidence is back,’ said a satisfied Feyenoord head coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst on Friday afternoon, two days ...
Feyenoord play host to Heracles Almelo Sunday, but they will do well not to take their opponents too lightly. The Eredivisie newcomers have taken points off a host of good sides this term. Some might suppose that the Rotterdammers are already thinking about next month’s big games against PSV and AZ, but Erwin Koeman is having none of it. ‘In my eyes there can be no question of underestimation. Especially considering Heracles’ results against PSV, AZ and Ajax. We have been warned.’
The coach is not afraid that his squad is focusing too much on the big games around the corner and underestimating what on paper are two less inspiring tussles with Heracles and RBC. ‘I cannot imagine it,’ says coach Koeman. ‘In any case, I’m not thinking that way at all. I’m occupied with Heracles right now. Of course we’re better, but PSV, AZ, Ajax and Heerenveen were too. Heracles defend outstandingly, play compact, use the counter well and show a healthy dose of aggression. They are tough opponents that won’t give you anything for nothing.’
Feyenoord have the usual personal problems going into the game, and Koeman still has to make some decisions as to his starting eleven, Ali Boussaboun’s chances of playing will only become clear on Saturday. He has a bruised foot. If the Moroccan make the cut he is likely to start the match. Koeman’s alternatives are John Owoeri or Diego Biseswar. The 17-year-old Biseswar grabbed his first-ever goal in the big league last week, to secure a win for Feyenoord against Roda JC. Owoeri on the other hand is hoping to make his first appearance since fracturing his cheekbone. There are also problems elsewhere, not least in midfield, where Patrick Paauwe is suspended and Nicky Hofs, Alfred Schreuder and Shinji Ono are all ruled out by long-term injuries. Koeman will probably opt for Sebastián Pardo, although Pascal Bosschaart is also a contender for a place in midfield, where he made an excellent impression in a recent reserve game.
Besides the above-mentioned injuries, Romeo Castelen and Karim Saidi are also ruled out completely, both with hamstring problems. The duo are expected to resume outside training next week.
Feyenoord – Heracles Almelo
Sunday 27 November 2005, 14.30 at De Kuip
Feyenoord: Lodewijks; Östlund, Greene, Bahia, Snoyl; Ghaly, Pardo, De Guzman; Boussaboun (Owoeri/Biseswar), Kuyt, Kalou.
Heracles Almelo: Pieckenhagen; Jansen, Hoogma, Smit, Höcher; Nurmela, Hellings, De Vries; Tamerus, Quansah, Calincov.
LAST TEN LEAGUE MEETINGS
23/12/1962 Feyenoord – Heracles 6-2
2-2-1964 Feyenoord – Heracles 1-1
28-3-1965 Feyenoord – Heracles 5-0
13-3-1966 Feyenoord – Heracles 5-2
21-8-1985 Feyenoord – Heracles 5-1
16/6/1963 Heracles – Feyenoord 3-6
15/9/1963 Heracles – Feyenoord 3-0
8/11/1964 Heracles – Feyenoord 1-5
12/9/1965 Heracles – Feyenoord 1-3
22/12/1985 Heracles – Feyenoord 2-5