Ajax seek Klassieker response
Ajax were chastened by their Bernabeu experience in the UEFA Champions League, and must return to Eredivisie duties with one of their most challenging fixtures of the season. Real Madrid inflicted a 2-0 reverse on their Dutch visitors last night, but by Martin Jol's admission it could have been a far heavier defeat based on the number of chances carved out by the Spanish giants.
The Ajax coach recognised Cristiano Ronaldo might have had a hat-trick, and the performance from his side did not bode well for their chances of finishing in the top two in Group G, which also contains AC Milan and Auxerre.
"It was men against boys," said Jol. "Fortunately, Maarten Stekelenburg remained solid and therefore it was 2-0. If Cristiano Ronaldo had finished better, he would have scored three."
Ajax have nevertheless started well in the 2010/11 Eredivisie, winning four of their opening five matches and drawing the other. On Sunday, in a lunchtime kick-off, the ever-spicy clash with Feyenoord takes place at De Kuip.
Feyenoord have not finished in the top three since 2006, and although the corresponding fixture in Rotterdam ended 1-1 last season, they were beaten 5-1 in Amsterdam in the league and then home and away by Ajax in the KNVB Beker final.
Feyenoord will be weakened by the suspension of defender Bruno Martins Indi, who pays the price for his red card in the 2-0 loss to NAC Breda last Sunday.
Looking forward to the fixture is Ajax striker Luis Suarez, who missed the Real match due to suspension but seems certain to start at the weekend. The Uruguayan goal machine is braced for a hostile atmosphere in one of the Eredivisie's biggest fixtures, but believes he and his team-mates can be empowered by any abuse coming from the Feyenoord fans.
"It does not matter to me how the stadium rages," he told Ajax's official website. "In all stadiums, they are against me. The more they whistle, the stronger we become."
Preud'homme bouyed by Inter draw
PSV are above Ajax on goal difference at the summit. They travel to take on a Roda JC side who have also started well, winning three games so far, at the weekend.
Champions Twente remain unbeaten, with three wins and two draws, and travel to Heracles on Sunday, no doubt lifted by their 2-2 draw with Inter Milan in the Champions League on Tuesday. Coach Michel Preud'homme saw his side relinquish a 2-1 lead, but was still proud of his players.
The former Belgium goalkeeper said: "Three points would have been a better result for us but we are still growing as a team, and when you start like this against the champions of Europe, that can only be a positive thing."
Groningen have also made a flying start to the campaign, and stand alongside Twente on 11 points ahead of their tussle with Excelsior on Saturday, when lowly Vitesse take on NAC Breda and rock-bottom Willem II face ADO Den Haag.
One day later, NEC have home advantage against AZ, while Utrecht go up against VVV.