Feyenoord’s fine seam of form – 8 wins and a draw – since the Eredivise resumed after the winter break is thanks in no more small measure to the uniformity in coach Van Marwijk’s team week in week out. But the winning team will change Saturday when Vitesse come to the Kuip in a vital game for both sides. After last week’s card bonanza at De Graafschap Van Marwijk is without three suspended regulars.

The loss of Gérard de Nooijer, Kees van Wonderen and Thomas Buffel for the visit of a Vitesse side fighting for their lives near the bottom of the table is a severe blow to Feyenoord. That’s said, Bert van Marwijk is doing a great job of playing things down. ‘That would not do justice to the guys who will be playing, although it hasn’t made us any stronger that’s for sure. Feyenoord will have to do without the insight, cunning and leadership of Kees van Wonderen, the never-say-die attitude of De Nooijer and the tactical shrewdness and legs of Buffel. It is certainly true however that I can compensate for that loss better than I could a year ago, so in those terms we’ve made progress.’ Van Marwijk was unwilling to say who would replace the banned trio, but the logical choices are not hard to find. In attack Thomas Buffel will be replaced by Robin van Persie, who has never made a secret of his preference for a central position, nor of his suitability for the task at hand. In central defence Glenn Loovens and Patrick Paauwe are the only option, as Chris Gyan is not yet full fit. Tomasz Rzasa will return to leftback. On the left wing, Van Marwijk will have to choose between the insightfulness of Sebastián Pardo or the large-capacity lungs of Anthony Lurling. ‘One of the two will play,’ admitted the coach. Those who watched Thursday training feel that Pardo will get the nod. Holland Casino Eredivise, Saturday 12 April 2003 FEYENOORD-VITESSE Venue: The Kuip Kickoff: 7.30 Probable teams FEYENOORD Lodewijks – Emerton, Loovens, Paauwe, Rzasa – Kalou, Bosvelt, Ono, Pardo - Van Hooijdonk, Van Persie VITESSE Jevric – Cornelisse, Zeman, Stefanovic, Fränkel – Rojer, Van Halst, Claessens, Martel – Peeters, Amoah. The history 5/3/2003 Feyenoord 3-1 Vitesse (Amstel Cup) 17/11/2001 Feyenoord 3-2 Vitesse 20/12/2000 Feyenoord 2-0 Vitesse 12/10/1999 Feyenoord 0-0 Vitesse 23/5/1999 Feyenoord 2-1 Vitesse 19/10/2002 Vitesse 1-1 Feyenoord 17/2/2002 Vitesse 2-1 Feyenoord 4/3/2001 Vitesse 0-0 Feyenoord 13/2/2000 Vitesse 3-3 Feyenoord 13/12/1998 Vitesse 1-1 Feyenoord
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