Eredivisie weekend preview

Eredivisie weekend preview

Published Jan. 27, 2012 7:15 a.m. ET

PSV's first home match of 2012 is a crucial one in the title race, with victory set to hand the club top spot in the standings for 24 hours at least as leaders AZ Alkmaar are not in action until Saturday night.

The need to strike a psychological blow in the title battle is paramount in the mind of Rutten, but much of the talk in the build-up to the Vitesse match concerns Brazilian striker Reis, who will line up for the opposition after emerging from a year on the sidelines following an horrific knee injury.

Reis was playing for PSV in a league match against Roda JC in December 2010 when he suffered the career-threatening injury, and was allowed to leave the Philips Stadion on the expiry of his contract last summer.

The 22-year-old's future hung in the balance for a number of months, but in early December he penned a deal with Vitesse and is now in line for an emotional return to the club where he showed so much promise during a four-year spell from 2007.


But Rutten insists he cannot allow Reis' story to overshadow the task at hand.

"I realise very well that it's a media-driven hype," said Rutten.

"Jonathan Reis is not unsurprisingly the talk of the town, as he is a talented player with a history here.

"But we must take a professional approach. He will be wearing a Vitesse shirt and we will try to deal with him as with any other player.

"I know his personality includes willpower and a strong character, so his return to action does not come as a major surprise.

"Yet it is a medical miracle that he's back so soon.

"I have a special bond with him over the game of football but that will have no bearing on tomorrow night's game."

PSV will be bidding to bounce back from a disappointing 1-1 draw at FC Utrecht in their first game back after the winter break, while seventh-placed Vitesse are also seeking a lift after going down 1-0 at home to NEC Nijmegen last time out.

Pacesetters AZ failed to capitalise on PSV's slip as they were also held to a 1-1 draw by title rivals Ajax last weekend. Gertjan Verbeek's men will hope for better when they travel to Roda JC on Saturday.

Also on Saturday, fifth-placed Heerenveen entertain Utrecht, Heracles Almelo welcome bottom side Excelsior, and second-bottom De Graafschap are the visitors to NAC Breda.

On Sunday, sixth-placed Feyenoord meet fourth-placed Ajax at De Kuip in a match where victory for the hosts will see them pull level on points with the Amsterdam giants.

Third-placed FC Twente are at home to FC Groningen, RKC Waalwijk welcome third-bottom VVV-Venlo to the Mandemakers Stadion, and ADO Den Haag make the trip to Nijmegen to face NEC.