A total of 20 teams will take part each week in the Eerste Divisie, also known as the Jupiler League. It will be the fifty-ninth edition of the competition, since its establishment in 1955. The season will run from the beginning of August 2014 until May 2015, as teams fight for promotion into the Dutch top flight – the Eredivisie.
After facing relegation last season from the Eredivisie, Roda JC Kerkrade will begin their new campaign in the Eerste Divisie, also joined by NEC Nijmegen and RKC Waalwijk also faced relegation but this time through the playoff rounds after finishing second and third from bottom in the top flight last season. All three clubs will be hoping that their time spent in the Eerste Divisie will be short lived, as they battle for promotion during the 2014/15 campaign.
WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE DUTCH DOMESTIC LEAGUE?
Only the club that tops the table at the end of the season guarantees themselves automatic promotion to the Eredivisie. Teams finishing between second and fifth will enter the second round of the Eredivisie promotion/relegation play-offs, which also gives the sides a chance to qualify for the top flight.
There is also a slight chance for teams who finish the season between sixth and ninth to gain entry into the Eredivisie, as the teams will also enter the Eredivisie play-offs in the first round of the knockout format. The rest of the ten teams finishing from 10th to last will remain in the Eerste Divisie for the following season.
WHO ARE FAVOURITES TO GAIN PROMOTION?
Without a doubt the main objective for the three clubs that have been relegated to the Eerste Divisie will be hoping that they can rejoin the top sides next season, but other clubs such as FC Den Bosch, VVV-Venlo, FC Eindhoven and De Graafschap will all be hoping they can finish in a promotion place, whether it be a round one or two entry into the playoff faze, they will still be in with a chance to gain promotion.
There is also an odd side chance that FC Volendam and Fortuna Sittard may upset the odds and surprise many this season, a chance to battle for a place in the Dutch top flight means high attendees in the ground on match day, which no club would refuse, considering the impotents of finance in clubs these recent years. The league will be occupied by three reserve teams from Dutch giants – Jong Ajax , Jong PSV and Jong FC Twente. Last season, the PSV youngsters managed to finish ahead of the other two’s ‘B’ teams and ended the season in tenth with a + 5 Goal difference. It is impossible for any of these three sides to gain promotion, due to the fact the clubs already have teams in the top flight.
There is four sides that I believe will struggle to compete in the league this season, they are Almere City , FC Oss , Telstar and Achilles ’29. These sides appear not to have the strength in their squad to compete for any type of silverware or promotion this coming season. All four sides ended the season on a minus goal difference last campaign, and that may not change come the end of the 2015/16 season.
Usually in the Eerste Divisie matches are played on a Friday evening at 7pm (BST) and this weekend is the opening weekend of games in the league.
WHY SHOULD YOU WATCH THE EERSTE DIVISIE 2014/15 SEASON?
– Remember the Dutch legend Jaap Stam? Well, he will manage Jong Ajax this season as he attempts to bring his experience to the players of future who hope to break into Frank de Boer’s Ajax side.
– Other popular names such as Ruud Kaiser will manage the FC Den Bosch side, Kaiser coached Dutch stars such as Robin Van Persie , Wesley Sneijder , Nigel de Jong and several other current Dutch internationals as he coached the Dutch in the 2005 European Under-17 Championship.
– Many young stars are loaned out from major clubs in the Netherlands to smaller clubs, where they get the chance to show their qualities and learn their trade
– Not forgetting that the fans and atmosphere each week is not to be forgotten as the crowds for the Dutch first division continues to grow.
WHERE YOU CAN FIND OUT MORE?
Every week here at Total Dutch Football, I will doing a ‘Game of the Week’ feature and weekly round-up for the league so stay tuned for full coverage of the 2014/15 season.
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