Koning Willem II Stadion | Thursday 24th September | 20:00 GMT
UK TV: Rangers TV
The next stage of Europa League qualifying does not get any easier for Adrie Koster’s Willem II as Scottish giants Rangers and Stevie Gerrard roll into Tilburg this Thursday night writes Will Burns.
Until this past weekend when they were held to a 2-2 draw away to Hibernian, Rangers have impressed this season domestically. They failed to concede a goal in the Scottish Premiership in seven games in a row which broke a 114-year record. Despite a goal-less draw away to Livingston, Gerrard’s men won each of their seven games prior to this past Sunday contest at Easter Road.
When you look at their opponents until they let a goal in, they played Aberdeen (1-0), St. Mirren (3-0), St. Johnstone (3-0), Livingston (0-0), Kilmarnock (2-0), Hamilton Academicals (2-0) and Dundee United (4-0). In addition, they blasted Gibraltarian side Lincoln Red Imps by a 5-0 scoreline. However, looking at each of those opponents, are they seriously on par with Willem II.
Well, I think not. I have watched a lot of Rangers this year and I see Adrie Koster’s team capable of notching a goal. Against Hibs, the back four of James Tavernier, Connor Goldson, Filip Helander and Borna Barisic failed to pick up on Drey Wright on Sunday as he slotted home well inside the area.
For the Tilburgers, the past two games have seen them score nine goals without reply, however against opposition less likely to cause them as much trouble as Rangers could on Thursday night. Last week, Progress Niederkorn saw five sail in as Heracles lost 4-0 and one man on the scoresheet both games were Greek goalgetter Vangelis Pavlidis.
I see the Greek international as being Rangers main worry especially when you see the ease of Christian Doidge rising above Helander at the back post on Sunday for Hibs second goals. Pavlidis has scored a brace in both games this past week and had one ruled offside in the opening game against Heerenveen.
Can Willem II defeat Rangers, I am unsure, but I feel they’ll get a goal and Pavlidis is the man to get it.
Pavlidis has scored four goals in the last two games and Willem II are superior opponents to the usual teams that Rangers run out against. At over 2/1 at Betfair and Paddy Power, I see that as being our best chances for profit in this match.
Vangelis Pavlidis to score (3.10 at Betfair/Paddy Power)
Welcome to Total Dutch Football’s Team of the Week which leads into our 2020/21 Eredivisie Player of the Season Tournament.
Each player that is selected for the Team of the Week receives a point and the Player of the Week receives two more points. We count these up over the season and then award the player with the most points as the Player of the Season.
Read on to see who has been awarded the points for this week.
GOALKEEPER: Joel Drommel (FC Twente)
Earned his side a point and nearly grabbed all three saving Steven Berghuis’ first spot-kick.
DEFENDER: Jan-Paul van Hecke (sc Heerenveen)
The young defender on-loan from Brighton and Hove Albion put in a solid debut in the 3-1 away win in Sittard claiming five interceptions and winning 6 balls in the air.
DEFENDER: Christian Kum (VVV-Venlo)
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Despite being a 35-year-old, Kum put in a performance that saved claimed VVV a point on Friday evening. A total of 11 clearances, four blocked shots, three interceptions and a clearance off the line sees the veteran claims Player of the Week.
DEFENDER: Riechedly Bazoer (Vitesse)
The former Ajax midfielder is excelling in his new central defensive role in Arnhem. In Saturday’s 2-0 win over Sparta, Bazoer stuck his foot in and produced a 94% accurate pass percentage with four key passes and created two big chances. He also managed to nab himself a shot on target too. Unlucky not to win our POTW award this week. A close second.
DEFENDER: Philipp Max (PSV)
The German left-back is impressing everyone in Eindhoven and was involved in both goals in his side’s 2-1 win over Emmen. He was sadly involved in Emmen’s goals (Mvogo’s blunder) but we can’t blame for that but he might think twice about playing the ball to the Swiss keeper in future.
MIDFIELDER: Oussama Tannane (Vitesse)
Tannane announced himself to the Arnhem faithful with a sublime performance in the 2-0 win over Sparta Rotterdam topped with a wonderful long-range free-kick smashed in with unreal techinque.
MIDFIELDER: Joey Veerman (sc Heerenveen)
After being close to the Player of the Week award last week, young Joey Veerman continued his good form with his second appearance in our #TOTW in as many weeks. He converted a penalty and again was inspirational for his side’s win. Accurate with 10 of his 15 long balls was incredibly noticeable as well getting his foot in when it mattered.
MIDFIELDER: Mohamed Kudus (Ajax)
The 18-year-old Ghanaian/Norwegian enjoyed his first experience of the Johan Cruijff Arena with a ‘Man of the Match’ display against RKC Waalwijk. Ajax look like they have a jem on their hands once again.
FORWARD: Vangelis Pavlidis (Willem II)
Two goals in the 4-0 win over Heracles. Standard behaviour from the Greek striker.
FORWARD: Henk Veerman (sc Heerenveen)
The big man showed unique skill for his goal this weekend and assisted another with great forward thinking. Looks like he’s settled back in at Heerenveen already.
FORWARD: Dusan Tadic (Ajax)
The usual suspects are amongst the goals already and the Serb completes the eleven this week. A superb piece of technique shown for his goal in the 3-0 win over RKC. Not only lethal in front of goal, Tadic created some big chances to extend the lead in Amsterdam on Sunday.
Well the second week of the Eredivisie had it’s moments and Will Burns is back to review the weekend’s happenings.
Despite another Yvon Mvogo mishap, PSV overcome Emmen
Willem II continue their goal scoring exploits versus Heracles
Ajax stroll past the challenge of RKC Waalwijk
The action started with the first Friday night game of the season with VVV-Venlo, hot off their eight goals thriller against FC Emmen last weekend hosting FC Utrecht who were appearing in their opening game of the season.
Utrecht were due to play AZ Alkmaar in the opening round of fixtures last weekend, but the KNVB postponed the game to help AZ prepare for the Champions League qualifier against Dynamo Kyiv, which looked to do AZ anything but a favour.
Venlo took the lead after just eight minutes with Guus Hupperts opening his account for his new side, tapping home from close range after last week’s three goals hero Georgios Giakoumakis whipped a ball into the Utrecht box.
The game finished 1-1 however after Sean Klaiber leveled for the visitors in the 58th minute after some good line-up play between Klaiber, Minoum Mahi and Gyrano Kerk. Despite either side trying to breach each other’s goal the game ended all square.
PSV escaped with a 2-1 win at the Philips Stadion against FC Emmen on Saturday evening. On 21 minutes, things were going well for PSV as youngster Noni Madueke tapped home in the six yard box, getting on the end of a Philipp Max cross.
Usually, the heavens would open in Eindhoven and the goals would flow, however, this what not the case. Emmen pressed and forced Swiss goalkeeper Yvon Mvogo into some decent stops but the new stopper would be at fault for the second week in a row.
Mvogo, with the help of his defence, were caught out last week and conceded a poor goal to Groningen after an exchange of passes in their own area. A big defensive no-no. This week, the keeper found himself purely to blame. He was brought in by the club as a sweeper keeper and his passing and ball control was lauded by the staff at the club. Although, a simple backpass from Max caught Mvogo out and in pure Peter Enckelman style, the ball sailed into the goal with just seven minutes to go.
However, PSV’s blushes (and the keeper’s) were spared as Argentine substitute Maxi Romero headed home four minutes into injury time to take all three points. After the ball hit the net, the TV cameras focused on Mvogo to show his relieved face. The keeper definitely owes the young Argentine a post-match pint of Bavaria at the club house.
Arne Slot’s AZ Alkmaar continued what was a bad week for the week with a 1-1 draw at home to PEC Zwolle. AZ crashed out of the Champions League last Tuesday away to Dynamo Kyiv in a lacklustre display by the Alkmaar side.
On Saturday, the week got worse as Calvin Stengs was dismissed by referee Serdar Gözübüyük on just 17th minutes for a high tackle from behind on Kenneth Paal. Although the incident took place three minutes later, VAR gave the ref the advice to send the winger off.
By half-time, Slot had a further headache as his side found themselves a goal down with Clint Leemans put Zwolle ahead on 38 minutes with a looping shot from the outside of the box that chipped Marco Bizot in goal.
Myron Boadu got the ten-men level in the second half finishing off a parry from Michael Zetterer from a Tijani Reijnders shot. Boadu failed to hit it cleanly which stranded the goalkeeper. Zwolle found themselves a man down near to full-time with Thomas Lam being given his marching orders.
The Finnish defender was involved in a scuffle with AZ striker Ferdy Druijf which saw the young striker lose his “man card” after a horrendous piece of over-acting relating to a meek kick he received from Lam. Shame on you Ferdy Druijf!
Vitesse got their season in the Gelredome underway with a 2-0 win against Henk Fraser’s Sparta Rotterdam. They took the lead from a wonderful long-range free-kick from Oussama Tannane that got the 4,914 attendance to their feet.
Before half-time Sparta had a mountain to climb as Belgian defender Michael Heylen was dismissed for his second yellow card. on 42 minutes. On-loan striker Armando Broja (borrowed from Chelsea) cemented the win eight minutes from time, tapping in a rebound from close range.
sc Heerenveen continued their winning ways, making it two victories from two with a 3-1 away win against Fortuna Sittard with the Friesland side scoring three goals in 19 minutes in the first half.
Oliver Batista Maier open the scoring on 15 minutes after a Henk Veerman layoff in the area. It was 2-0 after Maier was brought down by Roel Janssen and Joey Veerman converted. The third came from big Henk who showed a great bit of skill to convert from a Arjen van den Heide pass.
The young winger played the ball into the big man and Henk controlled, backheeled himself into space to smash the ball into the roof of the net. Sittard defender Branislav Ninaj was turned inside out. Johnny Jansen’s men could have extended their lead but it was Sittard that got a goal back through former QPR striker Sebastian Polter.
FC Groningen got their season back on track with a 1-0 away win against ADO Den Haag on Sunday morning. Despite the absence of Arjen Robben, who was injured last weekend, an own goal from Shaquille Pinas on 23 minutes was enough to send the Green and White Army home the victors.
Dick Advocaat’s Feyenoord were held to a 1-1 draw against FC Twente in De Kuip. Former Ajax forward Vaclav Cerny shocked the Rotterdammers scoring after a Queensy Menig stole the ball from Marc Diemers inside the area. The ball fell to Danilo and the Brazilian flicked onto Cerny after just 99 seconds.
The game was 1-1 before half-time through Steven Berghuis penalty, which was his second of the game. Young left-back Jayden Oosterwolde showed his immaturity by pulling down Lutsharel Geertruida in the area. Berghuis stepped up and saw the spot-kick saved by Joel Drommel. While sprinting to hammer home the rebound, Julio Pleguezuelo slid in and fouled Berghis for another penalty to be awarded. The strange collection of events ended with Berghuis notching the second penalty.
Feyenoord pressed for a winner but to no avail as Ron Jans’s side left Rotterdam with a point and Advocaat’s men join AZ off the pace from Ajax and PSV at this early stage. Early days indeed, but pressure is on for both teams not to slip up in any games in the near future.
Heracles suffered a heavy 4-0 defeat away to Willem II. The Almelo side were rocked on Saturday evening by Silvester van der Water texting head coach Frank Wormuth that he would not be available for the match. The reason: his displeasure with clashes between his agent and the club not being able to agree a deal that would allow to winger to join MLS side Orlando City. A million dollar football talent, with a ten cent brain. Good luck with that attitude kid!
With the preparation potentially for the game out of the window for Wormuth, it certainly looked to be the case as Willem II, who scored five midweek against Europa League opponents Progres Niederkorn, scored four second-half goals.
Greek striker, as standard, was amongst the goals notching twice on 46 and 84 minutes with Gorkem Saglam and debutant John Yeboah, signing from Wolfsburg last week, getting the other goals.
Finally, Ajax dispatched RKC Waalwijk with ease in the last game of the weekend with a 3-0 victory. The 9,800 attendance did not have to wait for the first goal in the Johan Cruijff Arena as Dusan Tadic (who else?) notched after just ten minutes of play.
A Qunicy Promes shot was blocked by the RKC defence but fell perfectly for the Serbian to flick the ball home. After a Zakaria Labyad goal was chalked off by VAR on three minutes later, the midfielder did get his goal in the 34th minute to send Ajax in at half-time two goals to the good.
New signing Mohammed Kudus slotted the ball over to Noussair Mazraoui on the right wing who crossed for Labyad for the 2-0. In the second half, Luuk Wouters harshly saw red for RKC after a VAR decision that he felled Labyad while he was through on goal. Although the midfielder was actually sandwiched between two men before crumbling to the ground, Wouters took the fall.
Soon after, Erik ten Hag’s side finished the scoring through a Lisandro Martinez header from a Tadic cross. That’s two wins from two for the Amsterdammers and two defeats in a row for Fred Grim’s RKC Waalwijk.
Stade Municipal de la Ville de Differdange | Wednesday 16th September | 17:30 GMT
After a twenty-year absence Willem II look to enter European competition this time round however, they have Luxembourg side FC Progres Niederkorn standing in their way on the road to the Europa League writes Will Burns.
Adrie Koster’s Willem II surprised a lot of pundits last year firing their way up to fifth in the Eredivisie, their highest finish since their runner-up place in 1998/99. One of the main reasons for the rapid progression was the goals of Vangelis Pavlidis.
The Greek striker notched 13 goals in 28 games in all competitions last season before the Eredivisie were forced to curtail the campaign due to the global pandemic. If Koster’s men are to replicate the efforts of last year, then he will have to be on top form.
Of course, a striker cannot score goals on his own and the help he received from fellow attacking players Mats Kohlert, Che Nunnely and Mike Tresor does not go uncounted. Each guy took the burden off the striker scoring goals (6, 5 and 9 respectively) and provided a total of 17 assists between them.
Some more aid was inputted into the squad squad this week as Ghanaian winger John Yeboah arrived on a three-year deal from VfL Wolfsburg.
Unfortunately, I don’t think we will see goalscorer markets in the UK but Pavlidis to score anytime would have been my best bet in this one.
The Tilburgers’ opponents tomorrow evening will be Luxembourg side FC Progres Niederkorn, who people in the UK may remember held Steven Gerrard’s Rangers to a goal-less draw in last season’s second qualifying round and knocked the Scottish giants out of the competition in 2017-18.
This will indeed be the fourth years in a row that Niederkorn attempt to qualify for the Europa League group stages. In 2017-18, after shocking Rangers, the Luxembourgers fell to AEL Limassol. They went one better the year after falling at the third hurdle after defeating Azerbaijani outfit Gabala and Hungarians’ Honved, they were narrowily defeated 4-3 on aggrerate against Russians FC Ufa.
Last year, they emerged victors against Cardiff Metropolitian University on away goals rules in the first round then beat Cork City from Ireland by 3-2 before Rangers got revenge at Ibrox.
They are certainly no slouches at this stage in the tournament and easily defeated FK Zeta of Albania by 3-0 in the one-legged ties that have been introduced this year, which changes the perception of the games.
In a two-leg affair, it is less likely to cause a shock. If you win one game, the likelihood of upsetting the favourites twice is doubtful. This time round, Willem II will need to be wary of that.
I do not think this match as easy as a lot of people think and I think this could be a close one with the hosts getting a goal.
Willem II should have enough quality to see their opponents off (then again so did the 2017 Rangers side) but I feel the underdogs will definitely get a goal. Niederkorn has scored in every game since October 2019 so they are surely good for a goal here.
Willem II win with Both Teams to Score (3.00 at bet365)
Cody Gakpo double makes Robben return an unhappy one
The opening week of the new season got underway at the Abe Lenstra Stadion as Heerenveen dispatched Willem II 2-0 on Saturday afternoon. The scoring was opened on 22 minutes by left-back Lucas Woudenberg after a great counter attack move by the hosts. After the man of the match, Joey Veerman played a delicate ball through the left-back on the edge of their other box, Woudenberg stormed up the field until he played a one-two with the ball to young winger Arjen van der Heide. Upon receiving the ball back, Woudenberg continued into the area to slot it past new Tilburg goalkeeper Robbin Ruiter.
The visitors pressed high in the second half thought they had equalized by danger man Vangelis Pavlidis smashed a ball home but he was deemed offside. However, both sides had chances to build on the score but it was Heerenveen that shut the door on their opponents by notching the second decisive goal. Within 15 minutes of time remaining, that man again, Joey Veerman whipped in a free-kick to be headed home by debutant Pawel Bochniewicz. The Polish centre-back was signed earlier this week from Gornik Zabrze for around €1.4m. A great opening day win for Johnny Jansen’s men that brought smiles on the faces of those that were lucky to attend, with only minimal crowds allowed into the grounds due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Feyenoord began their campaign with a relatively easy win away to John Stegeman’s PEC Zwolle. Continuing his great goalscoring from last season, Steven Berghuis notched twice in a 2-0 win for the Rotterdammers. It didn’t take long to open the scoring with Berghuis hitting a low drive from outside the box past Zwolle stopper Michael Zetterer after just 5 minutes of play. The win was cemented with Berghuis penalty kick on 68 minutes after Orkan Kocku was fouled in the area by Thomas Lam.
The remaining game on Saturday was another 2-0 score line with Ron Jans’ FC Twente defeating Fortuna Sittard. As mentioned in our season preview, it was yet another summer of all change in Enschede as Twente hired a whole new staff and technical director with many changes on the pitch too. Meanwhile, the team seemed to gel and took the lead after ten minutes through former Ajax youth Queensy Menig. It was some good work on the left for Menig who played a quick pass exchange with impressive young left-back Jayden Oosterwolde and then cut inside to fire home for the lead.
Soon after the half-time break, Brazilian signing Danilo, a summer loan signing from Ajax, made it 2-0 converting a penalty after Branislav Nihaj dragged Jesse Bosch down in the box. Twente looked more likely to add to their score than any chance of a Sittard comeback. A great start for Jans in his new role with his youthful squad with an average age of 23.6 years, third youngest only to Heerenveen (22.5) and Groningen (23.3).
Sunday opened up with a wild game in Emmen as VVV-Venlo came back from two goals down to end up winning 5-3 against FC Emmen. The hosts took the lead early on with a fourth minute strike from Robbert de Vos before Croatian striker Marko Kolar added a second after the break to extend the lead to 2-0.
However, Greek striker Georgios Giakoumakis, a free agent signing in the summer from AEK Athens, notched a 22-minute hat-trick to take the game to 3-2. Nicolas Laursen levelled the game in the 76th minute before an own goal from debutant Caner Cavlan gave VVV the 4-3 lead. Emmen searched for an injury time equalizer but Jafar Arias put the nail in the coffin for Emmen making it 5-3 four minutes into stoppage time.
Frank Wormuth’s Heracles defeated the new-look ADO Den Haag side 2-0 on Sunday afternoon. ADO is now managed by former midfielder Aleksandr Rankovic but the beginning to his new career did not go to plan when former PSV youth Rai Vloet gave Wormuth’s men the lead just after the break. The very impressive Sylvester van de Water finished the scoring adding a second on 70 minutes. The 23-year-old carried the ball through the midfield before dishing the ball to Luca de la Torre on the left of the area, before getting on the end of the return ball to poke the ball past Luuk Koopmans in goal. To make matters worse for Rankovic, he saw defender Boy Kemper (on loan from Ajax) sent off soon after.
Ajax got their title challenge underway with a narrow 1-0 win away to Sparta Rotterdam with some great difficulty. Erik ten Hag’s side played the majority of the match with just ten men after Nicolas Tagliafico was dismissed by referee Jochem Kamphuis, however it looked a harsh decision as the Argentine was deemed to purposely handball an attempt to put through Mohamed Rayhi on goal.
Despite the setback, debutant Antony who was lively throughout, scored from a bouncing drive outside the area just before half-time. It was a goal that Sparta stopper Benjamin van Leer, playing against his old club, should be possibly stopped.
Henk Fraser’s men pressed the Amsterdammers but it was to no avail, Ajax grabbed their first win however, it was too close for comfort.
Arjen Robben did not experience a good return to FC Groningen as suffered an injury before the half-hour mark in his side’s 3-1 defeat to PSV. Over 6,000 disappointed fans attended as the 36-year-old winger, who retired last July after a hugely successful career, returned to where it all began.
Soon after Robben’s substitution, Cody Gakpo showed great power to shrug off the challenge of Azor Matusiwa and finishing prowess to grab his first of the day to put Roger Schmidt’s side ahead. Howeve, it was not all plain sailing for Schmidt as an error from new goalkeeper Yvon Mvogo allowed Tomas Suslov level it up at 1-1. The Swiss international and Jordan Teze were caught out playing the ball to each other in their own area and new Norwegian striker Jorgen Strand Larsen incepted a pass which landed at Suslov’s feet for the equalizer.
Soon after, PSV regained the lead as Donyell Malen was put through by Noni Madueke and finished past Sergio Padt. PSV were given a harsh penalty on 82 minutes which Padt saved from Malen and despite, Groningen having their chances to level the game up, PSV emerged as the victors with Gakpo’s second goal on three minutes from time. Notwithstanding, the horrendous error in defence for the hosts goals, Schmidt experienced a good start to his new head coach role at PSV.
The final game of the weekend saw RKC Waalwijk fall to Vitesse by the single goal thanks to a Oussama Darfalou effort in first half stoppage time.
It’s finally here! The new Eredivisie is set to get underway this afternoon with a barnburner at the Abe Lenstra Stadion as Heerenveen take on last years’ highflyers Willem II. Will Burns has picked his ‘Double Dutch’ bet for tonights game.
SC HEERENVEEN vs. WILLEM II
Abe Lenstra Stadion | Saturday 12th September | 17:45 GMT
Ahhh yes, we have football back and I see Heerenveen-Willem II meeting as a good start to the affairs.
Heerenveen have strengthened this week by bringing in Polish centre-back Pawel Bochniewicz from Gornik Zabrze for around £1.26m, using some of the funds that CSKA Moscow provided for Chidere Ejuke earlier this summer. Additionally, they brought in German-Brazilian left-winger Oliver Batista Meier on loan from Bayern Munich to fill Ejuke’s boots.
Bringing back Henk Veerman to the club is a bonus for Johnny Jansen’s side. Last season, he notched 11 goals in 22 games last year for St. Pauli in the 2. Bundesliga. Standing at 6ft 5inches, he is a handful to defenders and won an average of 3.6 headed duels per game. With Mitchell van Bergen (profiled in our season preview) on the wing, big Henk should see some crosses coming his way often.
Willem II powered up to fifth in the division last year under Adrie Koster mainly due to the success of Greek striker Vangelis Pavilidis. He bagged in 11 goals in the 2019-20 curtailed season and is always worth a shout to get a goal for the Tilburgers.
Koster’s mind in this match may be elsewhere as on Wednesday evening, they have a tricky Europa League qualifying tie at home to Progress Niedercorn of Luxembourg. Koster stated earlier this week that his side were “ready for competition” but his treatment table is full with wounded players at this time.
New signings, Kwasi Okyere Wriedt and Leeroy Owusu both nursing long-term injuries and Driess Saddiki only returned to training this week. Koster has also declared to the press this week that Justin Ogenia, Rick Zuijderwijk and Dylan Ryan are not match-fit and may miss todays’ game.
This leaves his side depleted in a game I would have possibly predicted them to win.
Pre-season did not look good for sc Heerenveen losing all six of their warm-up games, however they were lacking defenders and now they have them installed into their squad. But the new central defensive partnership will take time to gel so I do see Johnny Jansen’s men conceding. In attack, with van Bergen, van der Heide, Batista Meier and big Henk Veermen they have the talent to score. Let’s add Both Teams to Score to our Double Dutch bet.
Both Teams to Score (1.67 at Bet365)
PEC ZWOLLE vs. FEYENOORD
MAC³PARK stadium | Saturday 12th September | 19:00 GMT
I talked in the season preview about how I think PEC Zwolle could do with some bodies to help their campaign this year. Especially at the back, I think they look weak and well underprepared.
Some business has been completed during the summer with attacking midfielder Jesper Drost came home after a spell at Heracles. He will be joined in the middle of the park by Rico Strieder who arrived from FC Twente and the highly-rated Slobodan Tedic was borrowed from Manchester City to take the burden off Mike van Duinen and Reza Ghoonchannejhad in attack.
Their opponents, Feyenoord still have 72-year-old Dick Advocaat at the helm, in which should be his last season… possibly. The Rotterdammers are well equipped to mount a serious title challenge and in the pre-season games they looked incredibly impressed defeating a strong Borussia Dortmund side 3-1.
The addition of Bryan Linssen is a great one for Advocaat. Linssen is an experienced goalscoring stalwart, scoring 88 goals in 278 Eredivisie games, he knows where the net is and he could very well beat last year’s total of 14.
PEC Zwolle are too weak. I see nothing but a Feyenoord win. Enough said.
Feyenoord to win (1.70 at Bet365)
So our first official bet of the season is here and it’s the first Double Dutch of year. Take the below two picks in a double (best priced at bet365) and enjoy the games.
Heerenveen-Willem Both Teams to Score and Feyenoord to win (2.67 at Bet365)
The nineteenth round of Eredivisie action got underway at the Rat Verlegh Stadion where a goal from super-sub Gervane Kastaneer five minutes into the second half ultimately proved enough to earn struggling NACBreda a priceless point from their clash with ADO Den Haag in their battle to beat the drop.
Saturday’s action began in Almelo where goals from Mike van Duinen and Lennart Thy saw a resurgent PEC Zwolle post back-to-back victories for the first time since the end of September by seeing off hosts Heracles.
Elsewhere, goals from Luigi Bruins and Mounir El Hamdaoui saw Excelsior snap a run of five games without a win at the expense of rock bottom De Graafschap while a first-half double from Hirving Lozano saw reigning Eredivisie champions PSVEindhoven negotiate the challenge of visiting Groningen to open up a five-point lead at the top of the standings.
The day’s action was concluded in Venlo where a last-gasp effort from Michael Chacón in the fifth minute of added time saw FC Emmen snatch all three points in a five-goal thriller with VVV.
Sunday’s Eredivisie action began in Sittard where a 92nd-minute strike from Finn Stokkers saw Fortuna snap a run of three games without a win by seeing off visiting Vitesse.
Elsewhere, there were remarkable scenes at De Kuip where Feyenoord claimed Klassieker honours in emphatic fashion by hitting title-chasing Ajax for six while a lone Daniel Crowley effort a minute into the second half ultimately proved enough to earn Willem II all three points on the road in Utrecht.
The nineteenth round of Eredivisie action was brought to a close in Friesland where an own goal from the unlucky Sherel Floranus and an Oussama Idrissi effort saw AZ Alkmaar make it three wins on the bounce in all competitions with a victory over Heerenveen.
With the winter break over, the eighteenth round of Eredivisie action got underway on Friday evening in Arnhem where a 67th-minute effort from Maikel van der Werff ultimately proved decisive as Vitesse edged out visiting Excelsior in a five-goal thriller.
Saturday’s action in the top flight of Dutch football began at the AFAS Stadion where AZ Alkmaar got back to winning ways by hitting FC Utrecht for three without reply.
Elsewhere, PEC Zwolle kicked off the Jaap Stam era in style by putting three past visiting Feyenoord while VVV Venlo made it back-to-back victories by hitting an undermanned ADO Den Haag for four on the road in The Hague.
The day’s Eredivisie action was brought to a close at the Hitachi Capital Mobility Stadion where a new-look Groningen posted their first win since the start of December by smashing Heracles for three.
Sunday’s action got underway in Tilburg where goals from Pol Llonch and Marios Vrousai saw Willem II claim the bragging rights against an undermanned NAC Breda in the Brabantse derby.
Elsewhere, bottom-of-the-table De Graafschap gave their survival hopes a much-needed shot in the arm by smashing Fortuna Sittard for five while two goals in the space of the final ten minutes from Nicklas Pedersen saw FC Emmen snatch a late share of the spoils in their clash with defending Eredivisie champions PSV Eindhoven.
The eighteenth round of Eredivisie action was brought to a close in spectacular fashion at the Johan Cruijff ArenA where a late leveller from Kik Pierie in the first minute of added time saw Heerenveen claim a last-gasp share of the spoils in an eight-goal thriller that also denied title-chasing Ajax the chance to replace PSV at the top of the standings.
With the near month-long winter break looming large on the horizon, the seventeenth round of Eredivisie action got underway on Friday evening at De Koel where goals from Tino-Sven Susic and Patrick Joosten saw hosts, VVV Venlo snap a run of five games without a win by turning away the challenge of an undermanned PEC Zwolle.
Saturday’s action in the top flight of Dutch football got off to a false start with ten-man Fortuna Sittard and struggling Groningen drawing a blank.
However, while goals were in short supply in Sittard, that certainly wasn’t the case elsewhere as reigning Eredivisie champions, PSV Eindhoven hit in-form AZ Alkmaar for three to open up a five-point lead over Ajax in second and, in the process, claim the title of ‘winter kampioen’ while, at the other end of the table, struggling NAC Breda gave their survival hopes a timely boost by hitting nine-man Heerenveen for four.
The day’s action was brought to a close at the Van Donge & De Roo Stadion where Heracles got back to winning ways by hitting hosts, Excelsior for three without reply.
Sunday’s action began at the Stadion Galgenwaard where Ajax rounded off the year by smashing hosts, Utrecht for three to cut pace-setting PSV’s advantage at the top of the standings back to two points once more.
Elsewhere, a 77th minute spot-kick from Abdenasser El Khayati saw ADO Den Haag grab a late share of the spoils from their clash with an undermanned Feyenoord while a 65th minute leveller from Vitesse Arnhem’s Matus Bero denied bottom-of-the-table De Graafschap a much-needed three points in Doetinchem.
The seventeenth round of Eredivisie action was concluded in Emmen where goals from Aras Ozbiliz and Fran Sol saw Willem II end the year with a win.
The sixteenth round of Eredivisie action got underway on Friday evening where ADO Den Haag got back to winning ways by hitting hosts, Willem II for three without reply on the road in Tilburg.
Saturday’s action in the Dutch top flight got off to a false start at the MAC3PARK Stadion where it was frustration all round for both PEC Zwolle and visiting, NAC Breda as it ended goalless between two sides struggling at the wrong end of the table.
Elsewhere, a 94th-minute strike from substitute Bjørn Johnsen saw AZ Alkmaar snatch all three points at the death from their encounter with visiting Excelsior while reigning Eredivisie champions, PSV Eindhoven put European elimination firmly behind them by hitting nine-man Heracles for four to move five points clear at the top of the standings.
Saturday’s Eredivisie action was concluded in Arnhem where an 80th-minute effort from Oussama Darfalou ultimately proved enough to see Vitesse edge out visiting VVV Venlo.
Sunday’s action began in Friesland where FC Utrecht withstood a second-half fightback from hosts, Heerenveen to ultimately emerge victorious in a five-goal thriller.
Elsewhere, title-chasing Ajax closed the gap between themselves and table-topping PSV to just two points once more after smashing a hapless De Graafschap for eight while a late double from super-sub Nicklas Pedersen saw FC Emmen come from behind to snatch a late win against fellow strugglers Groningen.
The sixteenth round of Eredivisie action was brought to a close at De Kuip where goals from Lars Hutten and substitute, Ahmed El Messaoudi saw Fortuna Sittard bag a shock victory over Feyenoord.
Results: Week 16
Willem II 0-3 ADO Den Haag
PEC Zwolle 0-0 NAC Breda
Heracles Almelo 0-4 PSV Eindhoven
AZ Alkmaar 2-1 Excelsior
Vitesse Arnhem 2-1 VVV Venlo
SC Heerenveen 2-3 FC Utrecht
AFC Ajax 8-0 De Graafschap
FC Groningen 1-2 FC Emmen
Feyenoord 0-2 Fortuna Sittard
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The fifteenth round of Eredivisie action got underway with two fixtures taking place on Friday evening. The first of which saw AZ Alkmaar get back to winning ways by hitting Fortuna Sittard for three without reply before reigning Eredivisie champions, PSV Eindhoven put the loss of their 100% league record firmly behind them by putting six past a hapless Excelsior at the Philips Stadion.
Saturday’s action began in Tilburg where Heerenveen made it back-to-back victories by hitting an undermanned Willem II for five.
Elsewhere, title-chasing Ajax closed the gap between themselves and top-of-the-table PSV to just two points once more after putting four past struggling PEC Zwolle.
However, while Saturday’s first two fixtures yielded a whopping eleven goals between them, there were none to be found in The Hague where ADO Den Haag and De Graafschap drew a blank in the day’s final fixture.
Sunday’s Eredivisie action got underway at the Stadion Galgenwaard where FC Utrecht hit Heracles for three without reply – a result which saw Dick Advocaat’s men leapfrog their guests into fourth place in the standings.
Elsewhere, having hit VVV Venlo for four on Thursday evening in a fixture rearranged from earlier in the campaign, Feyenoord posted another four goals to see off the challenge of hosts, FC Emmen and, in the process, record a sixth consecutive victory in all competitions.
In sharp contrast, there were no goals to be found at De Koel where Sergio Padt was the hero in securing Groningen a priceless point from their clash with VVV Venlo.
The fifteenth round of Eredivisie action was brought to a close at the Rat Verlegh Stadion where Arno Verschueren’s 84th-minute effort ultimately proved just enough to see struggling NAC Breda edge out an undermanned Vitesse Arnhem and move off the foot of the table.
The fourteenth round of action in the Dutch top flight began on Friday evening at the Van Donge & De Roo Stadion where three goals in the space of ten second-half minutes saw an undermanned FC Utrecht come back from the dead to snatch an unlikely share of the spoils from their clash with Excelsior.
Saturday’s Eredivisie action got underway in Arnhem where a 51st-minute Caner Cavlan effort ultimately proved enough to earn FC Emmen a point from their encounter with Vitesse.
Elsewhere, goals from Clint Leemans and Younes Namli saw PEC Zwolle end a run of three straight defeats by edging out an undermanned De Graafschap on the road in Doetinchem while a first-half double from Fran Sol saw Willem II get back to winning ways at the expense of AZ Alkmaar.
The day’s action was concluded in Friesland where Heerenveen rediscovered that winning feeling by hitting in-form Fortuna Sittard for three.
Sunday’s Eredivisie action began at the Johan Cruijff ArenA where Ajax cut PSV Eindhoven’s lead at the top of the standings to just two points by hitting a hapless ADO Den Haag for five.
Elsewhere, Heracles edged their way back into the top four by smashing visiting VVV Venlo for four while first-half goals from Nicolai Jørgensen and Sam Larsson ultimately proved just enough to see Feyenoord bring PSV’s run of thirteen-straight league victories to an end at De Kuip.
The fourteenth round of Eredivisie action was concluded at the Hitachi Capital Mobility Stadion where struggling Groningen gave their survival hopes a much-needed shot in the arm by hitting rock-bottom NAC Breda for five.
Following the final international break of the calendar year, the Eredivisie resumed its normal service with a pair of fixtures getting underway simultaneously on Saturday evening which saw Ajax tune-up for Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League engagement with AEK Athens by hitting struggling NAC Breda for three without reply while an 83rd minute Nick Kuipers effort saw ADO Den Haag snap a run of five games without a win in all competitions by edging out hosts, PEC Zwolle in a five-goal thriller at the MAC3PARK Stadion.
The day’s action was concluded with two more matches taking place concurrently that saw reigning Eredivisie champions, PSV Eindhoven put three past an undermanned Heerenveen to post a thirteenth-straight league victory while Fortuna Sittard continued to exceed expectations by hitting high-flying Heracles for three to muscle their way into the top ten.
Sunday’s Eredivisie action got underway at De Oude Meerdijk where an 89th-minute effort from Ryan Koolwijk saw Excelsior snatch all three points late on against FC Emmen.
Elsewhere, FC Utrecht edged their way into the top five after smashing a hapless De Graafschap for five while a lone Jens Toornstra effort ultimately proved just enough to see Feyenoord squeeze past in-form Groningen at De Kuip.
Meanwhile, first-half goals from Matus Bero, Oussama Darfalou and Bryan Linssen saw Vitesse take all three points from their clash with Willem II in Tilburg before the thirteenth round of action was brought to a close at De Koel where a last-gasp leveller from Patrick Joosten in the third minute of added time saw an undermanned VVV Venlo snatch an unlikely point from their clash with visiting AZ Alkmaar.