Seven days is a long time in football. Last week PSV were the pundits’ favourites to represent Holland in the UEFA Cup semis. Yet after the impressive performance Feyenoord put down in Eindhoven the barometer of opinion appears to have swung in the Rotterdammers’ favour.
‘It just shows how intangible form is and how fast things can turn round in football,’
Van Marwijk commented. ‘I don’t think we’re really favourites. There’s very little between the teams, so I think our chances are fifty-fifty. What’s more the 1-1 from the first game is a very tricky result. We did score an away goal, but you saw how fast that advantage can disappear, in the home game versus Rangers. I think this game is comparable to that one.’
Feyenoord-spotters who have followed training this week have been noting down the number 3 in their little books, rather than the number 4, so it looks like Tomasz Rzasa will play instead of Mauricio Aros. Otherwise Patrick Paauwe is expected to reclaim his place in the middle of the defence after a one-match ban. In that case Glenn Loovens will revert to the bench.
Looking at PSV, Van Marwijk expects to see more changes in personnel. ‘They’ll have to play in an attacking formation, because they have to score. And Hofland is suspended, so I expect a few new names on their teamsheet.’ Those changes will be concentrated in defence and midfield and have everything to do with Shinji Ono’s performance a week ago. Chances are Gerets will replace Theo Lucius with the more physical André Ooijer to try and neutralise the Japanese. Van Marwijk doesn’t seem too worried. ‘Physically, Ono can stand his ground. That’s no problem.’
The Feyenoord squad has now relocated to its country retreat to get geared up for the game. Van Marwijk told the assembled press that his players would probably be spending their time ‘playing cards and so’. Let’s hope they keep some of those aces up their sleeves.
Zoetebier; Emerton, Van Wonderen, Paauwe, Rzasa; Kalou, Bosvelt, Ono, Van Persie; Tomasson, Van Hooijdonk
Waterreus; Bögelund, Nikiforov, Faber, Heintze; Rommedahl, Van Bommel, Ooijer, Bouma; Kezman, Vennegoor of Hesselink