Van Marwijk is none too optimistic about Leonardo’s injury. ‘We had an x-ray taken at hospital to be sure and it didn’t look pretty. He has had a reaction that’s put him back a couple of weeks. Zoetebier, I think, will miss Sunday’s game, but Lodewijks is an excellent replacement. He looked good against Juventus. He’s a great lad to have in the group.’ There’s relief elsewhere as the problems that have recently dogged Paul Bosvelt, Thomas Buffel and Chong-gug Song have now cleared up.
Glenn Loovens also appears fit enough to do a job of work, although Van Marwijk feels it would be sensible to wait to see how the youngster reacts physically to Friday training. One player definitely missing is Pierre van Hooijdonk, whose chances of making the team in time to face Newcastle United in the final first round Champions League encounter at the Kuip a week on Wednesday are even in doubt. ‘Pierre will have an x-ray next week. He’ll only tentatively start training when everything in his leg is whole again. Only then will we be able to say how much longer he will be out.’
The success a club enjoys is so often codetermined by the fixture list. Sometimes you can have the bad luck to face a side on fire, or one just about ready to turn the corner after a poor run of results. Feyenoord know all about that of course. The Rotterdammers have found things difficult against team in the relegation zone so often before and Sunday may turn out to be tougher than it looks on paper. Groningen are fighting for their lives, and may be buoyed by new coach Ron Jans. His Feyenoord colleague Van Marwijk is philosophical about the influence of Lady Fortuna however. ‘It not the ideal time to face this side, but all games are hard.’ Van Marwijk will be hoping that his side have turned the corner themselves. ‘We did have a couple of less good games, but I told my players that we shouldn’t listen to people telling us we’re out of form. Against Willem II and Juventus our footballing abilities were confirmed. We just have to roll up our sleeves.’
Sunday 3 November 2002
Venue: Oosterpark, Groningen
Lodewijks; Song, Van Wonderen, Paauwe, Rzasa; Emerton, Bosvelt, Ono, Lurling; Buffel, Kalou.
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11/2/2001 Feyenoord 1-0 FC Groningen
1/4/1998 Feyenoord 3-0 FC Groningen
9/10/1996 Feyenoord 3-1 FC Groningen
5/10/1995 Feyenoord 4-1 FC Groningen
10/2/2002 FC Groningen 0-1 Feyenoord
17/12/2000 FC Groningen 1-0 Feyenoord
28/9/1997 FC Groningen 2-0 Feyenoord
3/11/1996 FC Groningen 0-1 Feyenoord
3/3/1996 FC Groningen 1-0 Feyenoord