Dutch Eredivisie preview

Ronald Koeman begins life as Feyenoord coach with a trip to the

club’s Rotterdam rivals Excelsior 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

6million euros. 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.