This Sunday, Ajax face Feyenoord in De Kuip in what could be a massive game in this season’s Eredivisie title race.

Netherlands most famous fixture is the highlight of the Eredivisie season for most people and on Sunday, the 158th league meeting between the two clubs could have massive consequences for Ajax in this season’s title race.

Last weekend, Ajax had a massive chance to take top spot from PSV after they drew 2-2 with FC Emmen. However, Heerenveen held the Amsterdammers to a 4-4 draw which meant Ajax remains two points off the top.

PSV will face Groningen on Saturday evening and could be five points clear at the top by the time Ajax head to De Kuip. Feyenoord inflicted the only defeat in the league on PSV and they will be determined to get their first Eredivisie win over Ajax in De Kuip since January 2012.

Ajax legend Sjaak Swart believes that should Ajax lose on Sunday the title race is over. He told Voetbal Primeur, “If we get five points behind, it’s over.”

Feyenoord are currently 13 points off of the top spot and the title race is all but over for them. However, they are in control of third spot and looking to bounce back after a disappointing defeat in the league to PEC Zwolle last week.

Coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst announced that he will depart the Rotterdammers at the end of the season and he could be taking charge of a Klassieker for the final time on Sunday. Asked if he chose this week to announce his future as a motivation to his players, he said, “No. Clarity is now the most important thing. For myself and for the club. ”

The coach is hoping his players show more discipline on Sunday after Jeremiah St Juste was sent off just minutes into the 3-0 loss at Ajax earlier in the season, ‘That has been an expensive lesson. There is always more emotion in a match against the rival, but we now have to deal with that emotion better.”

Both sides go into the game on the back of booking their place in the KNVB Cup semi-finals. Ajax defeated Heerenveen 3-1 on Thursday, while Feyenoord dispatched Fortuna Sittard 4-1 a day earlier.

Team News

Feyenoord go into the game without first-choice goalkeeper Justin Bijlow and left-back Tyrell Malacia. Vermeer will start in goal, while Robin van Persie will line-up for what could be his final Klassieker.

Potential Feyenoord line-up: Vermeer, St Juste, Haps, Van der Heijden, Van Beek, Clasie, Vilhena, Van Persie, Larsson, Berghuis, Jorgensen.

Ajax are without left-back Nicolas Tagliafico for the trip to Rotterdam but goalkeeper Andre Onana is fit again after missing the draw against Heerenveen. Noussair Mazraoui limped off against Heerenveen but he is set to be fit.

Potential Ajax line-up: Onana, Mazraoui, De Ligt, Magallán, Blind; Schöne, De Jong, Ziyech; Van de Beek, Dolberg, Tadic

Odds

Feyenoord 3/1 Draw 16/5 Ajax 3/4

Players to Watch

Robin van Persie

The 35-year-old will line-up on Sunday for potentially his final De Klassieker, unless they meet again in the KNVB Cup.

Van Persie has announced that he is expecting to retire at the end of the season but he remains a key man for Feyenoord and goes into the game in great form.

Last weekend, Van Persie netted a lovely free-kick and he followed that up with a double in the cup win over Fortuna Sittard. On Sunday, he will be given a free role to roam behind Nicolai Jorgensen and he will look to make things tick for the home side.

Frenkie de Jong

All eyes around Europe are now on Netherlands most expensive player after De Jong sealed his move to Barcelona earlier this week for €86 million.

De Jong ensured Ajax fans that he is fully committed to helping the side win the Eredivisie before he leaves and Sunday’s clash will be key to making that happen.

The supremely talented midfielder will be the metronome in the Ajax midfield and it will be up to Jordy Clasie and Tonny Vilhena to ensure that he doesn’t control the game for the Amsterdammers.




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