Verbeek hoping for cup glory
© AFP

AZ manager Gertjan Verbeek believes his side will have to be at the top of their game when they take on holders PSV in the final of the KNVB Beker tomorrow at De Kuip.

AZ go into the match as the underdogs as they are set to finish the Eredivisie season in mid-table while their opponents are currently second in the standings behind newly-crowned champions Ajax. Verbeek told reporters: "We need to have a very good day for us. It's something unique to achieve with this team. A beautiful event, especially if you win it."

Former AZ assistant coach Shota Arveladze hopes his old club can go one better than the team which lost the 2007 final when he was working there. Arveladze, now coach of Istanbul-based Turkish Super Lig club Kasimpasa, will be rooting for his old team.

"On Thursday I will have my fingers crossed," Arveladze told the AZ website. "PSV are a very strong team. Yet I treasure the opportunities for AZ highly. For AZ it is a great opportunity, for PSV it is an attempt to make up for missing out on the title.

"A final is not just about football, but mainly mentality and willpower. AZ can write history. I support AZ, obviously. Hopefully they bring the cup back to Alkmaar so it gets a nice spot in the trophy case."

PSV defender Mark van Bommel thinks he and his team-mates will have little problem turning their focus away from their failed title race and on to the cup final. "If you can win a prize, you can easily switch your focus to the cup competition," he said.

"I have so far won the cup one time in the Netherlands, which was against Willem II (2005). If you can win a prize, I love to take part. It is ultimately the biggest thing in your career that you win prizes."