Juventus is no stranger to the Kuip. As recently as the '97/'98 season, the club from Turin succumbed to a Julio Cruz double strike to lose 2-0 in Rotterdam. Less tasty was the 5-1 reverse to the Old Lady in Italy. Since reaching the final of the tournament in ‘96/’97, the successes have been meagre for Juventus. Until last season that is, when the club won the Italian title. Marcello Lippi’s side is bulging with talent, including the French contingent Thuram and Trezeguet, and the Azurri stars Buffon, Conte and Del Pierro. Dutchman Edgar Davids also plays for the group favourites.
Despite a long and proud history in Europe, Dynamo Kiev has never played at the Kuip. The Ukrainians are not quite as threatening as they once were, as top stars like Rebrov and Sjevchenko have established themselves farther west, and the club failed to reach the second round of the Champions League last season for the first time in years. The current squad may find the going tough this time around.
A club from what the English call the hotbed of football, north easterners Newcastle United crept out of the shadow of neighbours Sunderland last season to claim a credible fourth place in the Premiership. Led by three lions legend Alan Shearer on the field and Sir Bobby Robson off it, the Magpies have bought big these past few years, and have young talent throughout the team, especially in attack. Feyenoord travel to St James’ Park for the second match of the group on Tuesday 24 September, and will not face a more fervent crowd anywhere else on their travels, even if they get all the way to Old Trafford.
Feyenoord’s Group E schedule looks like this.
Weds. 18 September Feyenoord-Juventus
Tues. 24 September Newcastle United-Feyenoord
Tues. 1 October Feyenoord-Dynamo Kiev
Weds. 23 October Dynamo Kiev-Feyenoord
Tues. 29 October Juventus-Feyenoord
Weds. 13 November Feyenoord-Newcastle United