Van Marwijk is in no doubt why so many of his men are suffering now. ‘I am convinced that it is the price we have to pay for our success, for a season in which we basically played two full leagues, a national one and a European one. The injuries a lot of the players are carrying are hangovers from the last campaign.
‘Look at Patrick Paauwe and Pierre van Hooijdonk for example. In the run-in last season we had to patch them up so often so they could play and then give them maximum rest. I had expected seven weeks’ holiday to be enough for a complete recovery, but we’ve now seen that that isn’t so.'
Symptomatic of the tribulations at Feyenoord is the goalkeeping situation. A knee problem for Edwin Zoetebier and a muscle strain for Patrick Lodewijks mean that the Rotterdammers line up against HSV without a keeper on the bench. Carlo L'Ami is the only fit goalie in the squad right now.
Knowing the cause of so many injuries does not soften the blow of course. And it’s a big blow. ‘Because the foundations for the first half of the season have to be laid right now. There will be no time later on. It’s just a matter of holding up and surviving through to the winter break. Only then can you do anything. I cannot keep starting from scratch. With the Champions League qualifier coming up there’s no time for that.'