PSV Eindhoven are one of the three undisputed giants of Dutch football along with arch-rivals Ajax and Feyenoord. More recently, they have been the ones attracting all the attention, both domestically and on the international scene.
Coach Sef Vergoossen's team currently enjoy a five-point
cushion over Ajax with only two matches to go in the Eredivisie and
are therefore odds-on to win their 21st league title and the
seventh in the past eight years. A win against Twente Enschede on
Sunday or Ajax dropping points at FC Groningen will be enough to
secure the silverware.
This domestic success has been built on a rock-solid defence, with Brazilian keeper Heurelho da Silva Gomes and Mexican international Carlos Salcido and their colleagues conceding a mere 23 goals in 32 games - by far the best record in the league. Up front, Danny Koevermanns and Danko Lazovic have contributed 13 and ten goals respectively.
This season's success has not been limited to the domestic scene. Things started off badly in the UEFA Champions League, with PSV finishing third in group stage, behind Italian champions Inter Milan and eventual quarter-finalists Fenerbahce. The Dutch side put these disappointments behind them however, and they are currently on the brink of qualifying for the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup.
After beating Swedish side Helsingborgs home and away in the first knock-out round, PSV were drawn against Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur. A dramatic tie ended up being decided on penalties, with Eindhoven eliminating the 1984 UEFA Cup winners and making it into the last eight to face Serie A outfit Fiorentina.
The first leg ended in a creditable 1-1 draw for the Dutch team but the result was marred by an injury to talismanic keeper Gomes. However, the recently-selected Brazilian international came through a training session on Wednesday and is expected to be fit for Thursday's home leg.
A host of honours
PSV Eindhoven's sole UEFA Cup success to date came in 1978, when they beat French side Bastia 3-0 in the final. Ten years later, however, they celebrated their finest moment on the international stage, winning the European Cup despite drawing their last five games in the competition. Against Bordeaux and Real Madrid they went through on the away goals rule before beating Benfica in the final on penalties.
Eindhoven have been more prolific on the domestic front in their 95-year history. They won their first league title in the 1928-1929 season and another 20 have followed since in the Eredivisie. Between 1986 and 1992 they won the Dutch league six times in a row and added three cup wins and a Super Cup to their trophy cabinet.
The mid-1970s was also a purple patch for PSV, when famous names like Willy van der Kuijlen, Jan van Beveren, the Van de Kerkhof brothers and Huub Stevens swept them to five trophies (three league titles and two cup wins) as well as the afore-mentioned UEFA Cup triumph.
Since the turn of the century, PSV Eindhoven returned to the levels of success they enjoyed in the silverware-laden late 1980s and early 1990s. This decade alone, they have won six league titles, the cup and three Super Cups, mainly thanks to squads containing such seasoned internationals as Mark van Bommel, Ruud van Nistelrooij, Arjen Robben, Mateja Kezman, Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink, Johann Vogel and Phillip Cocu.
The painstaking work of the various coaches - Guus Hiddink, Eric Gerets, Bobby Robson, Ronald Koeman and current incumbent Sef Vergoossen - has also played its part in the success of the club founded 95 years ago. Huub Stevens, another coach who sets great store by discipline and work rate, is set to take over in the summer, so it is fair to say that Eindhoven look set to remain on course for further glory.
Since it was renovated in 2000, the Philips Stadion in Eindhoven can seat 35,000 spectators. The Philips Sportverein (Sports Union) was playing on the same grounds as early as 1913, with the first stand being built in 1916. The biggest changes came in 1941, when the stadium was remodelled to host athletics meetings and expanded to hold 18,000 spectators. In 1958, the running track was removed and the capacity increased to 22,000. Between 1977 and 1996, the various other stands were gradually added.