Mario Been and John Metgod have both been to the small Czech town recently to run the rule over an opponent that Feyenoord knew little about when its name came out of the draw and the information they came home with will be useful to the Rotterdammers this evening. Van Marwijk now has a good idea of what can be expected. ‘It is a tough, well-organised side that is a threat on the counter. You have to play to a good standard if you plan to defeat a Bundesliga side twice. They are deadly; real professionals on the pitch. And I believe the Dutch national side also had a tough time of things against the Czech Republic.’ That said, the coach does see some potential for success. ’Their central defence is big but slow. There may be possibilities for us there.’
So a mobile striking duo could exploit the lack of speed in the heart of the Czech defence. Indeed, there may be an opportunity for Leonardo to show how much he’s matured these past three years, as Van Marwijk confirmed. ‘There is an option to play with the two strikers Leonardo and Kuyt.’
One player most unlikely to start is Danko Lazovic. The Serbian still has to adapt to the Feyenoord’s style of play. ‘I have spoken to him at length about why he isn’t playing. Danko still loses possession too often. But he lad will make it; he just needs time. And there’s a lot of competition in the squad. Leonardo is coming through and I’m satisfied with Kuyt and Buffel.’
Song and Van den Berg have often had to shoulder the blame in recent weeks, but that’s unjustified, feels the coach. ‘We lose a 3-0 lead at Groningen and everyone immediately points the finger at Song and Peter. The criticism isn’t always reasonable. Willem II turned their system around against us at the break, precisely because they felt that Van den Berg was being given too much space.’
Zoetebier; Swerts, Van den Berg, Paauwe, Snoyl; Kuyt, Schreuder, Ono, Lurling; Buffel and Leonardo.
P. Kolár; Dolezal, Rada, Hunal, Leitner; Verbír, Horváth, Vorísek, Lengyel (Tesarík); Bencík, Rezek.