Feyenoord have had problems getting the motor warmed up this season, but they’ll have to speed through the gears Sunday when titleholders PSV come to the Kuip. A gap is already threatening to open up, so three points are imperative. Problem is, the home side have four key midfielders doubtful for the match, while the visitors are likely to start the game with the same eleven they’ve fielded every single outing this campaign.

It’s not the best time to face the domestic champions. Feyenoord are still trying to find their form and a number of key players are out of action. Kike Acuña retired to bed for four days with a heavy bout of flu during the week and only rejoined the squad for training Friday. ‘But it’s clear he’s been knocked back. Kike is not fully fit yet,’ admitted the coach. Fellow midfielder Kees van Wonderen has been absent for the past few days due to personal reasons and he returned to the Kuip Friday too. ‘I want to see if Kees is prepared to play against PSV.’ Van Marwijk also plans to speak with Shinji Ono too. After two reserve games, the question is whether the Asian footballer of the year is ready for a bigger test. ‘I felt he had a very good game Monday against NAC reserves and he was good against AZ Thursday. We agreed he’d play one half and it went well.’ The last of the missing midfield quartet is Robin van Persie. He also played in the AZ match, but his prospects are less promising. ‘At the moment Ono is further along then Van Persie. But it’s too early to make any conclusions about the team.’ It is likely however that the Japanese will start. PSV coach Guus Hiddink is unlikely to change his team, after starting every game this season with the same eleven. And although that’s led to a win on all but one occasion Van Marwijk remains optimistic. ‘I was at the Champions League game Tuesday against AS Monaco. It was the first time I’d seen PSV live this year. The things I’ve read about them didn’t tally with what I saw. It may have been a one-off, but it seems PSV didn’t play well against FC Utrecht either.’ That said, the Feyenoord coach does feel that PSV are in a class of their own domestically. Sunday’s lunchtime encounter has the potential to throw up a cracker of a game, as Van Marwijk points up himself. ‘PSV play just like we do with a lot of movement in attack. I think it’s the future of football. Change my tactics against PSV? Certainly I do have more options this season. But everyone has to be fit. So I cannot say a lot about the formation, because there are too many uncertainties.’ Sunday 21 September Feyenoord – PSV Kick-off: 12.30 pm Venue: Kuip Feyenoord (probable) Zoetebier; Song, Van den Berg, Paauwe, De Nooijer; Schreuder, Van Wonderen, Ono; Pardo, Buffel, Kuyt. Referee: Temmink
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