Feyenoord will be without Gérard de Nooijer for the match, which poses a puzzler for Bert van Marwijk at the back on the left. At Wednesday’s press call the coach was unwilling to share his thoughts on the position. ‘But I don’t have many options,’ he admitted.
A logical choice would be to move Chong-Gug Song to the left-back posting. The Korean put in a good performance there in the second half against PSV. That would free up Song’s usual right-back position for Hossam Ghaly, whose debut in the same game did not dissatisfy Van Marwijk. ‘He can play. He just has to unlearn more than he has to learn.
Gill Swerts has also played in the right-back spot, but the Belgian would appear to be unlikely to start, as he was not even in the squad for the PSV match.
In midfield, chances are that Feyenoord will kick off with the same formation as last Sunday. That means Shinji Ono just behind the strikers and Danko Lazovic on the bench. Sebastián Pardo is expected to keep Robin van Persie out of the team. In the forward positions Van Marwijk is expecting a lot from the Dirk Kuyt/Thomas Buffel partnership. ‘It impressed me in the first half against PSV.’
Neither side is in form and both have dropped points in the league. ‘That’s why we aren’t able to take the game lightly,’ emphasised Van Marwijk. ‘Those times are behind us. We saw that in the games Grazer AK played against Ajax. And with the Dutch national team. Often we aren’t as good as we think we are. Clearly with have a great chance to go through, but we mustn’t take it too lightly.’
FC Kärnten is a physically strong outfit that Van Marwijk has seen twice on video, while John Metgod and Mario Been have watched the Austrians live on two occasions. ‘Kärnten will most likely play with five defenders. I expect them to play on the counter. We have to concentrate on our own game and go after goals. That’s especially important when you’re at home, because we have to make the difference in the Kuip.’
Thursday 25 September 2003
UEFA Cup; first round, first leg
Feyenoord – FC Kärnten
Kick-off: 8.30 pm
Feyenoord: Zoetebier; Ghaly, Van den Berg, Paauwe, Song; Schreuder, Van Wonderen, Ono; Pardo, Buffel, Kuyt.
Goriupp; Jovanovic, W. Kogler, Papac, Schellander; Kampel, Kolvidsson Hota, Höller; Ambrosius, Maric.