European football is of major importance when it comes to prestige and finances, but there’s no bigger prize in Dutch football than three points in an Ajax-Feyenoord head to head. The two giants of the Netherlands lock horns Sunday lunchtime after European disappointments for both, but the chance to put one over on their rivals and bag vital points in what’s always a six-pointer will be incentive enough for both to go for glory at the Amsterdam Arena.

The omens for Feyenoord are not bad going into the match: the Rotterdammers have not lost in the capital this century and recent good displays against Vitesse and Teplice will have given coach Van Marwijk’s men heart. Gill Swerts returns to the match-day squad after his mid-week suspension, but Kike Acuña is missing. The Chilean is very frustrated to miss the match that he has come to realise is a huge one to the Rotterdam fans. ‘If we beat Ajax we can make an awful lot of people awfully happy. Take it for granted that we’ll put in 200% on Sunday. I am extremely disappointed that I will not be part of it.’ One player who will be part of it is Anthony Lurling. A big-game player, Lurling will be looking for his 100th professional goal against Feyenoord’s greatest rival. ‘I knew this was a special game before I came to Feyenoord. But only now I’m here do I truly comprehend how important this match is for the supporters. We take that into the game. We have to give our all in the Arena to get a good result.’ Ferne Snoyl is another player looking forward to the Amsterdam-Rotterdam confrontation. ‘A game I’ve played very often in the youths and often the result has been good. I’m really looking forward to my first Ajax-Feyenoord. I’ve spoken to my mates about it: we’ll pull off a stunt in Amsterdam!’ Other than the Swerts-Song exchange, Bert van Marwijk is unlikely to change his starting eleven. The recent games against Vitesse and Teplice would suggest that that is the best policy. Patrick Paauwe is a little doubtful after picking up a sore ankle in the Czech Republic, but the captain is unlikely to want to miss the biggest game in Dutch football. He trained with the squad Saturday in any event. If Paauwe fails to make the cut, he’ll be replaced by Peter van den Berg. The coach did beef up his squad ahead of the game with Salomon Kalou, after the injuries to Leonardo and Lazovic. The Ivorian is expected to give Van Marwijk more options in attack. HOLLAND CASINO EREDIVISIE Sunday, 30 November 2003 AJAX-FEYENOORD Venue: Amsterdam Arena Kickoff: 12.30pm Probable line-ups AJAX Lobont; Grygera, Heitinga, Escudé, Maxwell; De Jong, Galasek, Van der Vaart, Sneijder; Ibrahimovic FEYENOORD Lodewijks; Swerts, Van Wonderen, Paauwe (Van den Berg), Snoyl; Lurling, Schreuder, Ono, Van Persie; Kuyt, Buffel The history DE KUIP 16/4/2003 Feyenoord-Ajax 1 - 0 (Amstel Cup) 6/10/2002 Feyenoord-Ajax 1 - 2 26/8/2001 Feyenoord-Ajax 1 - 2 10/12/2000 Feyenoord-Ajax 3 - 1 23/4/2000 Feyenoord-Ajax 1 - 1 ARENA 9/2/2003 Ajax-Feyenoord 1 - 1 3/3/2002 Ajax-Feyenoord 1 - 1 13/5/2001 Ajax-Feyenoord 3 - 4 10/9/1999 Ajax-Feyenoord 2 - 2 2/5/1999 Ajax-Feyenoord 6 - 0
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