Feyenoord and Hoang Anh Gia Lai FC have taken the first step towards a talent and coaching development partnership. The two...
Feyenoord face Rotterdam rivals Sparta in the west of the city in Holland's only city derby Sunday. Sparta's pride has taken a few hits over the past few years after relegation from the Eredivisie, but the club won promotion back to the high table of Dutch football at the end of last season. And after last week's shock draw for newcomers Heracles against reigning champions PSV, Koeman and Co won't be taking anything for granted against their metropolitan rivals.
Koeman adopted 4-3-3 for most of preseason, only to shuffle his pack in last week's Eredivisie opener to put out a 3-4-3 formation. The change paid dividends, as Feyenoord dominated a side with top six aspirations pretty much throughout.
"You can look at it in two ways", explained Koeman Friday. "Some saw it as an adjustment to the opponent; others thought that we played a very attacking game. The truth will be a bit of both. The most important thing is that if it makes us stronger I won't shun it. But there is still the question of how it pans out in practice. From my first day, I've hammered on about discipline, but you obviously don't have any guarantees. These are human beings after all. But I was satisfied with how the players handled it against NAC."
Feyenoord are unlikely to adjust to Sparta, but Koeman isn't ruling it out "I don't feel too good for that." Feyenoord are likely to start in the familiar 4-3-3 formation, with Östlund returning to the right back spot after missing out against NAC. His return will mean that one of Saidi, Bahia, Greene or Bosschaart will miss out.
In midfield Koeman has a number of options and he admits to being undecided as yet, bearing in mind Alfred Schreuder's availability (calf strain) will not be clear until Sunday morning. If he is unable to play, then Patrick Paauwe is expected to step up to the plate. Sebastián Pardo looks assured of a place on the left, while Hossam Ghaly or Edwin de Graaf will start on the right. Ghaly's sloppiness in the second half against NAC may count against him.
There was positive news from the treatment room this week, with Tim Vincken being passed fit. Romeo Castelen, who's also suffered with his hamstring, has started light training again, although Sunday comes way to soon for him. Cory Gibbs, Christian Gyan, Shinji Ono, Patrick Mtiliga and Nicky Hofs continue to be unavailable.
Sparta Rotterdam - Feyenoord
Sunday 21 August, 12:30 at the Sparta Stadium
Feyenoord: Lodewijks; Östlund, Greene, Bahia, Bosschaart; Ghaly, Schreuder (Paauwe), Pardo; Boussaboun (Vincken), Kuyt, Kalou
Sparta: Ponk; De Fauw, Olfers, Zoontjes, Gudelj; Oost, Michels, Van den Bergh en Polak; Cvetkov, Rose
LAST TEN LEAGUE MEETINGS
19/8/2001 Feyenoord - Sparta Rotterdam 5-0
29/11/2000 Feyenoord - Sparta Rotterdam 2-1
26/3/2000 Feyenoord - Sparta Rotterdam 1-2
5/4/1999 Feyenoord - Sparta Rotterdam 1-0
24/8/1997 Feyenoord - Sparta Rotterdam 3-1
24/3/2002 Sparta Rotterdam - Feyenoord 0-5
15/10/2000 Sparta Rotterdam - Feyenoord 1-4
4/12/1999 Sparta Rotterdam - Feyenoord 1-3
29/11/1998 Sparta Rotterdam - Feyenoord 1-2
30/11/1997 Sparta Rotterdam - Feyenoord 0-3