Slot makes Geertruida captain against AZ – Van Dijk faces comeback
Slot on difference between being coach of Feyenoord and AZ
Feyenoord coach Slot: ‘Difference between AZ and Feyenoord? The media attention’
Slot on successor Jansen: ‘Doesn’t surprise me that he is doing so well with AZ’
Arne Slot will meet Pascal Jansen, his successor as coach of AZ, on Saturday. “That he is doing so well doesn’t surprise me at all. I knew he was a good trainer, who was very good with the group. And before I was there AZ had good players, when I was there AZ had good players and after I left they had good players. The coach is there for the style of play, but the players determine the performance.”
Did Slot and Jansen think the same way about soccer? “In the beginning, not necessarily. I think I was on the offensive side what, where he also still mentioned the defensive side. Not that one sat on the right and the other on the left, but they were interesting conversations. I won’t say we are the same, but when you see our teams play you will see a lot of similarities.”
When two trainers know each other’s views so well, the trick is to trounce each other. “You do that with every coach before every match,” Slot is resolute. “It’s easier with Pascal Jansen, AZ plays very recognizable and good soccer. That doesn’t make the match easier, but it makes it easier to indicate what they are doing. And that’s a big compliment to Pascal.”
Feyenoord coach Slot on successor Jansen: ‘Doesn’t surprise me that he’s doing well with AZ’
Slot gives Geertruida Feyenoord captain’s armband in topper against AZ
With a broad smile, Feyenoord coach Arne Slot sat down for the fourth topper in the last six duels. Against Ajax, FC Twente and PSV, Feyenoord played to a draw; Saturday awaits AZ. “It doesn’t stop there,” Slot laughed. “The number one against the number two. A nice affair with two very good footballing teams.”
It was our goal after this series of top games to still compete for the top spots. Well, we’re first, so we did well if you look at the performance. But if you look at our play, we had secretly hoped for a few more points.”
Four base players missing: Sebastian Szymanski, Gernot Trauner and Justin Bijlow are injured, Orkun Kökçü is suspended. The playmaker will be replaced as captain by Lutsharel Geertruida. “Orkun is the first captain, Gernot the second and Justin the third. All three of those are not here. Lutsharel is doing an excellent job. And in the meantime, I think he has also played the most games for Feyenoord out of Saturday’s players.”
Wieffer and Timber
But can anyone replace Kökçü’s scoring ability (eight goals), assists and front assists? Slot still held his cards somewhat to his chest. “Mats Wieffer and Quentin Timber will play alongside each other. Who will play attacking for that, you will see on Sunday.”
Wieffer was sick at the beginning of the week and Timber is still not top fit. “Mats’ illness was a bit of a shock, but he has already returned to full training. Quentin still hasn’t been able to play the full 90 minutes. That’s something you do have to think about as a staff.”
Mazraoui and Mané are also close to returning
In the ‘players returning from injury’ category, Bayern Munich also had good news to report. Noussair Mazraoui and Sadio Mané will soon rejoin group training.
“Mazraoui will be back with the squad training on Wednesday,” said coach Julian Nagelsmann. Mazraoui, who has yet to play a game in 2023, trained with the ball again for the first time on Thursday.
The Moroccan international suffered a corona infection during the World Cup in Qatar, after which an inflamed pericardium was diagnosed upon his return to Munich.
Mané ‘completely recovered’
Mané missed the World Cup because of a leg injury. The Senegalese played his last game on Nov. 8, but is now also fit again.
“He will return to group training on Sunday,” Nagelsmann said. “He is fully recovered and can participate fully. Theoretically, he can play again after a week of group training.”
Van Dijk may start making his comeback
After more than a month’s absence, it may be “Virgil-time” again at Liverpool on Saturday. Virgil van Dijk has recovered from a hamstring injury and manager Jürgen Klopp “thinks he is available.”
“On Thursday he certainly looked fit and I think the same goes for today,” Klopp said a day before the game against Newcastle United. “Based on today’s training we will make a decision.”
Van Dijk (31) dropped out in the lost league game against Brentford in early January. He has since missed seven games for ‘The Reds,’ who have dropped to ninth place in the Premier League.
Match shirts auctioned for earthquake victims
Orange women in the boat: practice match Austria moved to other Maltese island
The Orange women have been training on Malta for a few days now. Tonight (6 p.m.), national coach Andries Jonker’s team will meet Austria in the first of two practice matches. There is only one problem…
A huge storm raged in Malta last week, rendering the stadium in which the Dutch were to play unplayable. The alternative was found on an island further away. Outcome: this afternoon, Orange and the media in attendance will travel on a ferry to the match.
From the supermarket to the Kuip: AZ playmaker Tijjani Reijnders
The topper of the weekend is of course Feyenoord-AZ, Saturday at 9 p.m. at De Kuip. We are at the press meetings of trainers Arne Slot and Pascal Jansen this afternoon. And earlier this week we already spoke with one of the Alkmaarers’ tastemakers, the good-humored Tijjani Reijnders.
Emmen say goodbye to Sánchez, Vitesse let Ferro go
Two little transfer news: FC Emmen are letting Gonzalo Sánchez return to Peru. The Italian-Peruvian striker signed a two-season contract in Drenthe last summer, but has not yet come to play in official matches.
“He was keen to return to Peru due to a lack of playing time and the club has cooperated with that. We wish Gonzalo good luck with the continuation of his career,” said the No. 16 Eredivisie player.
Earlier this week Vitesse said goodbye to Portuguese Francisco Reis Ferreira, known as Ferro, is leaving Vitesse. The rental of the 25-year-old defender is terminated with immediate effect. Vitesse rented Ferro for one season from Benfica, with an option to buy.
Ferro appeared in nine duels this season, but did not get to play lately and now goes to HNK Hajduk Split, the current number 2 in the Croatian league. He previously played for that club as well.
Barcelona weeks without prodigy Pedri
Spanish international Pedri suffered a hamstring injury from his club Barcelona’s duel with Manchester United. He sustained the injury as early as the first half.
Barcelona has since confirmed that the midfielder will be out for several weeks. As a result, he will miss anyway the return with United at Old Trafford (next Thursday) and the first cup game with Real Madrid on March 2.
Speaking of stadiums: Vitesse and Gelredome owner in court
In Volendam the stadium is named after a club icon for a one-off, in Arnhem there have been arguments for months over whether Vitesse will be allowed to use Gelredome at all next year. The club has been agitating for years against the high rental costs of the stadium and has even terminated the lease agreement.
Vitesse, however, invokes a “perpetual right to play” that was once agreed upon when the stadium was built. However, owner Michael van der Kuit, who took over the stadium with his real estate company Nedstede in 2018, has no intention of accommodating the club.
The club filed summary proceedings in court against stadium owner Nedstede and operating company Gelredome, hoping in the meantime to still reach an agreement for at least one year. On Wednesday, those talks appeared to founder once again, but on Thursday it was announced the parties are back around the table at the court’s insistence.
If a compromise is not found, the judge will have to rule on the rent issue. To be continued, no doubt.
Volendam dwells on Wim Kras, still the youngest ever premier league player
On November 22, 1959, Wim Kras made his debut for Volendam in the home match with Ajax. The match ended in 3-0 for the Amsterdammers, but that is not why that match has been in the books for more than half a century. Kras was in fact 15 years and 290 days at the time, which still makes him the youngest player ever in the premier league.
Between 1959 and 1974, Kras played 381 games for Volendam, scoring 94 goals. Last week, Kras died at the age of 79.
On Saturday, the fishing village will pause to remember the remarkable footballer during the game with Vitesse (16.30 hours). The stadium will be renamed the Wim Kras stadium for one occasion, and a minute’s applause will sound prior to the match.
It’s also a special day for Emmen midfielder Keziah Veendorp
Hip hip hurrah in Emmen. Because there, culture guard Keziah Veendorp is celebrating his 26th birthday today. The Sappemeer, Groningen-born defensive midfielder can make his birthday unforgettable with a win Saturday at Euroborg in the relegation cracker against FC Groningen.
Indeed, at that club he went through youth training and was allowed to make one appearance in the first, in 2016 against AZ. Since 2017, he has already played 161 duels for Emmen.
Speaking of Europe, twelve years ago FC Twente played at -14 (or -17?).
On February 17, 2011, FC Twente played a memorable game in the Europa League against Roebin Kazan. That match was memorable not necessarily because of the result (Twente won handsomely 2-0), but because of the icy conditions.
Indeed, the mercury in Moscow – where the match was played – dropped to 17 degrees below zero that afternoon. At least that is what Twente’s thermometers indicated; UEFA’s kept it at -14.3 degrees below zero. The limit for canceling the match was 15 degrees below freezing, so football was played as usual.
Back to yesterday for a moment: Barcelona and Man United revive old glories
Ten Hag balks at result and referee: ‘Should have won’
The most beautiful match of the evening produced the most beautiful match. FC Barcelona and Manchester United played 2-2 against each other in an open match.
Three Oranje internationals contributed their part to the soccer party. Frenkie de Jong at Barcelona, who have been unbeaten since October. And Tyrell Malacia and Wout Weghorst at Manchester United, which has established itself under coach Erik ten Hag and is back among the top in the Premier League.
Actually, the game did not get the stage it deserved. It was just an intermediate round in the Europa League, which still feels a bit like no man’s land in this club competition. The winner of the duel will advance to the eighth finals.
Back to yesterday: weak Ajax comes away well against Union Berlin
Heitinga after ‘difficult’ duel with Union Berlin: ‘It was insufficient’
In the Europa League intermediate round, Ajax failed to deal a blow to Union Berlin. The Germans stood their ground fairly easily in the Johan Cruijff Arena: 0-0. Next week is the return.
The current Bundesliga number two even scored a goal in Amsterdam midway through the second half, but Morten Thorsby saw his goal disallowed for hands after VAR interference.
Back to yesterday: sour night PSV in Europe
Van Nistelrooij sees effective Sevilla: ‘It’s never finished, tremendously difficult though’
Of course, PSV’s players and staff hold out hope for a miracle. But after the 3-0 defeat in the first meeting with Sevilla, they too realize that the European season is almost certainly over. And that feels unnecessary.
Indeed, Ruud van Nistelrooij had enjoyed his team’s play in the first half. “But because of a blackout we are still 1-0 behind,” the PSV coach said. Noted captain Luuk de Jong wasted the ball on his own half with a frivolous pass with the outside of the foot. Sevilla took advantage and took the lead.
Within ten minutes in the second half, the Spaniards extended the margin to 3-0. Normally, this decided the duel in intermediate rounds of the Europa League.
FC Twente: Bruggink succeeds Streuer as technical director
Arnold Bruggink will succeed Jan Streuer as FC Twente’s technical director. The club expects to conclude an agreement with the former player of FC Twente and PSV, among others, in the near future. Bruggink is currently active as an analyst at ESPN.
“Last week it was already heard and seen that Arnold Bruggink is a candidate for this position,” writes general manager Paul van der Kraan in a newsletter on the club website. “Arnold has already been involved in many areas within the club this season. We expect to come to an agreement with Arnold soon, after which he will start working at FC Twente as early as mid-March. From July 1, Arnold will then be the new technical director, with Jan Streuer inducting and supporting him for the time being.”
PSV will have to do without Thorgan Hazard for the next few weeks. The Belgian striker came on as a substitute against Sevilla and played out the match with a muscle injury.
Hazard is rented by PSV from Borussia Dortmund, to make up for the departures of Cody Gakpo and Noni Madueke. On his debut against Feyenoord (2-2), Hazard was immediately on target.
Welcome to the warm-up!
In this liveblog, we look ahead to the 22nd matchday of the premier league and follow all the other (inter)national soccer news leading up to the weekend.
The premier league kicks off tonight at 8 p.m. with RKC Waalwijk-Fortuna Sittard, and we will follow that match closely as well.