The biggest rivalry in Netherlands adds another chapter this Sunday as Ajax host Feyenoord in De Klassieker.

  • By Michael Bell
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aja feyThe 177th meeting between the two arch rivals could have major implications on the title race, with Ajax sitting four points behind leaders PSV, who face Cambuur on Saturday, while Feyenoord are currently 12 points off the summit. A loss for Feyenoord on Sunday coupled with a PSV win would all but end the Rotterdam side’s chances of ending their 16 year wait for the title.

Earlier in the season Ajax triumphed 1-0 at De Kuip, but Feyenoord were desperately unlucky to lose that day with Fred Rutten’s side dominating from start to finish, but they could not recover from Ricardo van Rhijn’s fourth minute strike. Feyenoord will be looking for revenge on Sunday, but you would have to go back to 2005 to find the last time they beat their rivals in Amsterdam, with Salomon Kalou and Dirk Kuyt scoring in a 2-1 win.

Ajax go into the game with injury issues, as Frank de Boer sweats on the fitness of midfielder Davy Klaassen, who is struggling with an abdominal wall issue, and Jairo Riedewald, who has a knee problem. Centre back Joel Veltman is definitely out, but left back Nicolai Boilesen returns to the squad and should start.

Possible Ajax line-up: Cillessen, Van Rhijn, Moisander, Van der Hoorn, Boilesen, Serero, Andersen, Schone, Kishna, El Ghazi, Milik

Feyenoord are without winger Elvis Manu, while Khalid Boulahrouz is a doubt through flu, and Bilal Basacikoglu could be left out after missing a training session during the week.

The match will be a huge occasion for goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer who returns to the Amsterdam Arena for the first time since leaving Ajax for Feyenoord in the summer.

Possible Feyenoord line-up: Vermeer, Wilkshire, Nelom, Kongolo, Van Beek, Clasie, El Ahmadi, Immers, Boetius, Toornstra, Kazim Richards

Pre game quotes:

Ajax boss Frank de Boer: “For us, a good result is also necessary.”

“I am confident, but i think Feyenoord will be as well.”

Feyenoord boss Fred Rutten: “We have to win, otherwise it will be difficult (to win the title)”

“We have a plan in our heads. We know the strengths and weaknesses of our opponents.”

“We are committed, know when to fight and when to play football. If we control both aspects then we are going to win in Amsterdam.”

Feyenoord captain Jordy Clasie, “I always have confidence in my team and the staff.┬áIt does not matter who we play. We need the good feeling that we have all the time and use it against Ajax.”

Previous meetings:

There have been 176 previous meetings in all competitions between the two clubs, with Ajax winning 79 times, Feyenoord 55 matches, and a draw occurring 42 times. In the last ten meetings, Ajax have won five times, Feyenoord once, and four matches have ended in draws.

Form:

Ajax have gone the last 14 Eredivisie matches unbeaten, winning 10 of those games. There last league defeat in Amsterdam was the 3-1 loss to PSV in August.

Since losing to Ajax in September, Feyenoord have only tasted defeat in the Eredivisie once, a 4-3 defeat to PSV, which is also their only loss away from De Kuip in the Eredivisie this season.

schone sjjAjax player to watch: Lasse Schone

With Davy Klaassen possibly missing out on Sunday, Frank de Boer may decide to move Lasse Schone from his usual position out wide and into a central play-maker role. The Danish international has scored six goals and added seven assists so far this season from the wing, and could be even more influential in the number ten role behind striker Arkaduisz Milik.

vermeer feyFeyenoord player to watch: Kenneth Vermeer

The goalkeeper has been excellent since switching Amsterdam for Rotterdam in the summer, and has been a key reason why the Feyenoord defence has only conceded 16 times in 18 matches. Vermeer may have made an error in the win over Twente last week, but back on his old stomping ground the 29-year-old will be determined to inspire his side to victory over Ajax.




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