Excitement builds ahead of Eredivisie kick-off
New Feyenoord coach Ronald Koeman hopes to open the Eredivisie season with a win as his side visit Rotterdam rivals Excelsior for the derby match on Friday evening.
Koeman, brought in at short notice to replace Mario Been, saw his charges lose their pre-season encounter with Spanish side Malaga 2-0 on Sunday but believes he has prepared his players for the season's league opener. Koeman told the club website: "We know we face difficult opponents, but we can win at Excelsior and that would give us lots of confidence."
The coach will be looking for his team to make more use of former Excelsior striker Guyon Fernandez than they did against Malaga. He said: "There was plenty of room for Guyon Fernandez, but we made too little use (of this). This should be better (against Excelsior)."
Joining Fernandez in the Feyenoord squad are three other former Excelsior players - Kaj Ramsteijn, Miquel Nelom and Jordy Clasie - who could be in for an early reunion with their old team-mates. Koeman has seen defenders Bruno Martins Indi and Nelom return to training following minor knee injuries, and they should come into contention.
Former Feyenoord forward Jon Dahl Tomasson will also see familiar faces after taking on his new job as assistant coach at Excelsior. Tomasson, a Dutch title and UEFA Cup winner with Feyenoord, has been forced to retire from playing through injury but has fond memories of his time at De Kuip. The Dane said: "They were seven good years, I've become a Dutchman."
Excelsior coach John Lammers will have new signing Joost Broerse available after he joined from Cypriot outfit APOEL Nicosia. The experienced midfielder, a former FC Groningen and FC Utrecht player, signed a one-year deal on Tuesday. Lammers will need his side to improve on last season when they finished in 16th and in the play-off places, but managed to avoid relegation.
Promoted side RKC Waalwijk take on Heerenveen on Saturday, with the day's other games seeing Roda JC play Groningen, Heracles Almelo play host to NEC Nijmegen and VVV Venlo, who escaped relegation through the play-offs at the end of last season, at home to Utrecht.
Ajax begin their title defence on Sunday away to De Graafschap without World Cup finalist Maarten Stekelenburg after the goalkeeper joined Italian side Roma for a fee in excess of €6 million. Ajax are also reeling from the Johan Cruyff Shield defeat to Dutch Cup winners FC Twente.
Coach Frank de Boer was impressed by the way his team dominated but disappointed that they allowed their opponents two chances and they took both. He told the club website: "We didn't dominate like that all year (on the way to winning the title). This is a big positive for us and we'll take that into our next matches. We're disappointed, but we're moving ahead with our chin up."
Twente coach Co Adriaanse will look to his players to improve when they visit NAC Breda after he was disappointed with the performance against Ajax. "I am happy with the prize we have won, but the way could have been better," said Adriaanse on his first game in charge back in Holland following his return from managing in Qatar.
Nicky Hofs makes his return for Vitesse Arnhem in the game at ADO Den Haag. The former Feyenoord midfielder returns for a third spell at the club where he made his debut after last season playing for Cypriot side AEL Limassol. In Sunday's remaining fixture, AZ Alkmaar are at home to PSV Eindhoven.