Eredivisie four vie for Europa place
The Eredivisie play-offs start tomorrow with the final Dutch qualifier for the UEFA Europa League set to be decided. Fourth-placed Groningen will play Heracles while ADO Den Haag host Roda JC in their first leg match with the winners meeting later on in the month with a Europa League berth the prize.
Groningen manager Pieter Huistra has revealed that their was an air of despondency around the club after they missed out on automatic qualification, but insisted the team are now fully focused on their play-off with Heracles.
A 0-0 draw at home to PSV Eindhoven at the weekend was not enough for Huistra's side to leapfrog fourth-placed AZ Alkmaar, but they could still be playing European football next season if they can successfully navigate the Eredivisie play-offs.
Huistra, a former Twente and Rangers winger, told Groningen's official website he wants the club to move on from the weekend and aim to get the upper hand on Heracles. "We have been really close, the disappointment was palpable on Monday," Huistra said.
"The discussion we had was deliberately kept short. As of Tuesday there is no more talk about PSV, but the focus is entirely on Heracles. We have lost twice to them (this season) and so we have to right a wrong."
Huistra also set out his team's target for the first leg as he said: "Heracles play on artificial turf and we see this as a benefit for ourselves. We benefit from good football and on that surface it is possible. We go to Almelo to get at least a goal, because away goals are important. "
ADO and Roda meet again
Only one point separated ADO and Roda in the final table after 34 games, but Harm Van Veldhoven's side won 3-1 in The Hague earlier in the season as the two meet again with possible Europa League qualification at stake.
ADO will be at home for the opening leg, but will be missing Pascal Bosschaart, Christian Kum and Wesley Verhoek, who are all suspended. Roda will already be without suspended top goalscorer Mads Junker and playmaker Anouar Hadouir could also be missing after suffering a knee injury.
The former Willem II midfielder has been a key figure in Roda's season, but Van Veldhoven will give his 28-year-old talisman as long as possible to prove his fitness. "The day of the match is when we will make our final decision," Van Veldhoven said. "We have played a good season."