what’s at stake in the premier league?
The champagne has now been uncorked in Rotterdam-Zuid. Also, Cambuur and FC Groningen already know that they will play in the first division next year. Yet in the final two rounds of play there is still a lot to play for, for many clubs. Besides Feyenoord and the aforementioned two, only Fortuna and Vitesse have nothing left to play for.
Traditionally, all matches are the last two rounds of play Sunday afternoon at 2:30 p.m., so as not to give any team an advantage.
Pitches two and three
With five points ahead of Ajax, PSV is almost certain of second place and thus qualification for the preliminary round of the Champions League. The Eindhoven natives will play Heerenveen at home on Sunday to finish the season a week later in Alkmaar against AZ.
Ajax must hope for two missteps by PSV. Only then will the Amsterdammers still have a chance of finishing second. That would require a win over FC Utrecht at the Johan Cruijff Arena and FC Twente in Enschede.
With two points behind Ajax, AZ will be looking at the Amsterdammers’ matches with extra interest. Via NEC (away) and PSV (home), the Alkmaarders hope to knock Ajax out of place three and thus enter the Europa League playoffs, rather than the preliminary rounds of the Conference League.
European soccer playoffs
FC Twente could theoretically still finish fourth, but the club, like Sparta and FC Utrecht, is already certain of playoffs for European soccer. A lot more exciting is the battle for the last ticket.
The coveted eighth spot is now occupied by Heerenveen, but RKC, NEC and Go Ahead Eagles also have a chance to finish there. RKC has the best chances to overtake Heerenveen. The Waalwijkers are just one point behind the Frisians and still face FC Twente (at home) and already relegated Cambuur.
Heerenveen will visit PSV and play last against direct rival Go Ahead Eagles. A week earlier, the Eagles meet FC Volendam. NEC hopes for a good result at home against AZ and on a visit to Fortuna Sittard.
Even in the tail end of the premier league, it is certainly not yet played and several clubs are looking anxiously at place sixteen. The club that finishes in that spot is condemned to play nacompetition.
At the moment FC Emmen occupies the sixteenth place, but Excelsior and FC Volendam can also still end up there. FC Emmen has a difficult program with a home game against new champion Feyenoord and an away game against FC Utrecht.
On the last matchday FC Volendam and Excelsior play each other. A week earlier Volendam plays away at Go Ahead Eagles and Excelsior at home against Fortuna.
Apart from champion Feyenoord and the already relegated FC Groningen and Cambuur, only Fortuna and Vitesse are ‘outplayed’. They could both move up or down the rankings.