Feyenoord had a good night at De Kuip on Thursday in their Europa League playoff first leg. Hapoel Beer Sheva were beaten 3...
Feyenoord have a chance to sweep away the hangover of last week’s party from hell when they meet Heerenveen in the Eredivisie Sunday lunchtime. Coach Ruud Gullit is in no doubt that the defeat to FC Groningen was completely unacceptable and he seemed to say that heads would role, but on the eve of the match it’s still uncertain precisely whose heads are on the block. Injuries to two key players certainly complicate the situation.
The only way to stay on track when the cookie ain’t crumbling right is to work even harder in training, according to Gullit. That prompted the coach to cancel the planned day off after the reverse at the hands of FC Groningen. ‘But you shouldn’t make a mountain out of a molehill; we certainly don’t have a crisis on our hands,’ explains Gullit. ‘Of course, it wasn’t a nice week, because the defeat made itself felt for a while. But the lads have trained enthusiastically and had no problems with me cancelling their free Tuesday.’
That all points to a motivated Feyenoord Sunday, although quite who will be in the team is another matter. Gullit reiterated Friday that the defeat would bring consequences. Without going into details, the coach appeared to hint at the return of Patrick Lodewijks in goal in place of Gabor Babos. ‘If I do keep then I assume it’s a short-term thing, because Babos remains first-choice keeper,’ says Lodewijks himself.
The rest is no more than speculation. Salomon Kalou and Romeo Castelen are not as hot as they were earlier in the season and may lose their places. Gullit could choose to bring in Thomas Buffel for the Ivorian and perhaps even Smolarek for Castelen, but that just about sums up the coach’s options. In defence Karim Saidi misses out due to a hamstring injury, while Shinji Ono’s ankle once again keeps him out of the reckoning in midfield. On the other hand, the return of Pascal Bosschaart and Chong-Gug Song is a boost. Bosschaart is likely to partner Ghaly in the centre of midfield, although Song may have to sit out this one out as Christian Gyan has performed well in his absence and must feel he has done enough to retain his starting place.
Holland Casino Eredivise
HEERENVEEN - FEYENOORD
Sunday 28 November
Abe Lenstra Stadion, Heerenveen
Feyenoord: Lodewijks (Babos); Gyan, Loovens, Paauwe, Mtiliga; Castelen (Smolarek), Ghaly, Bosschaart, Goor; Kuyt, Kalou (Buffel).
Heerenveen: Vandenbussche; Haarala, Hansson, Seip, Rzasa (Bakkati/Drost); Hestad, Radomski, Bruggink (Rose); Yildirim, Huntelaar, Selakovic
LAST TEN ENCOUNTERS
23/8/2003 SC Heerenveen - Feyenoord 1-0
7/12/2002 SC Heerenveen - Feyenoord 3-1
1/12/2001 SC Heerenveen - Feyenoord 1-0
14/3/2001 SC Heerenveen - Feyenoord 4-3 (Amstel Cup)
31/1/2001 SC Heerenveen - Feyenoord 1-0
5/3/2000 SC Heerenveen - Feyenoord 3-0
7/3/2004 Feyenoord - SC Heerenveen 2-2
22/3/2003 Feyenoord - SC Heerenveen 5-0
28/4/2002 Feyenoord - SC Heerenveen 3-2
21/10/2000 Feyenoord - SC Heerenveen 2-0