After breezing through the Eerste Divisie last season, NEC Nijmegen will be hoping to re-establish themselves back in the top flight of Dutch football this season. 

  • By Michael Bell
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nec nijmegen logoAfter suffering a shock relegation to the Eerste Divisie in the 2013/14 season, NEC Nijmegen were unstoppable in their pursuit of a return to the Eredivisie. Ruud Brood’s side stormed to the Eerste Divisie championship with 33 wins in 38 games, and only three defeats, ending the season 21 points ahead of second placed FC Eindhoven.

Since the season ended NEC and PSV Eindhoven have coach swapped, with Brood leaving to become Phillip Cocu’s assistant at the Philips Stadion, while Ernest Faber left the Eredivisie champions to become the Nijmegen club’s coach. Faber spent a season on loan with NEC during his playing career, and will now be tasked with keeping the club in the Eredivisie.

Summer Transfers

In-Wojciech Golla (Pogon Szczecin), Marco van Duin (Almere City), Janio Bikel (SC Heerenveen), Thór Halldorsson (Sandnes Ulf), Mohamed Rayhi (PSV), Bart Buysse (Cercle Brugge)

Out- Lasse Nielsen (Gent), Mike Vanhamel (White star), Tobias Haitz (Viktoria Koln), Daan Disveld (Den Bosch), Kenny Elders (Achilles 29), Jesper Waalkens (Almere City), Paco van Moorsel (returned to parent club Groningen), Bahnou Diarra (released), Giovanni Gravenbeek (released), Patrick Joosten (Utrecht), Sylla Sow (Utrecht), Kevin Conboy (released), Alireza Jahanbakhsh (AZ)

NEC have done well this summer to sign the likes of talented winger Mohamed Rayhi, and experienced goalkeeper Thor Halldorsson, but their best work so far is keeping Anthony Lambombe at the club. The club’s transfer business is not over yet, with defenders and a midfielder sure to be on Faber’s list.

Pre-season

NEC Nijmegen have barely been tested during pre-season so far, racking up big wins over amateur sides DIO’30 (6-0), SC NEC (8-0), Terschuurse Boys (9-0), and Sparta Nijkerk (5-0), before a 1-0 win over Eerste Divisie side Achilles 29 and a 2-0 win over Scottish side Ross County. The final match of their pre-season will be their biggest test so far with Spanish side Levante visiting Nijmegen on the 1st of August.

Key Player’s

ars necSjoerd Ars

The experienced forward was in excellent form for NEC last season with his 28 league goals firing the club to an easy title win. Despite being 31, Ars is yet to experience Eredivisie action, but will finally get the chance this season, and expect him to be the biggest goal threat for Faber’s side.

limbombeAnthony Limbombe

Another of NEC Nijmegen’s talented group of wingers, Limbombe was hugely impressive last season after signing from Genk, scoring 14 goals and adding ten assists. The 21-year-old will now be able to showcase his considerable talent in the Eredivisie, and is definitely one youngster to keep an eye on this season.

Youngster to watch

rayhi psssMohamed Rayhi

The Dutch U21 international decided to reject the chance to stay at PSV Eindhoven in order to gain first team experience at NEC. The winger suffered an injury hit campaign last year, but when fit showed glimpses of his immense talent for Jong PSV in the Eerste Divisie. Rayhi also starred for Netherlands during this summer’s Toulon Toulon Tournament.

Projected line-up

Halldorsson, Appiah, Buysse, Van Eijden (c), Golla, Foor, Breinburg, Bikel, Limbombe, Santos, Ars

Prediction

With the likes of Ars, Christian Santos, Rayhi, and Limbombe, NEC Nijmegen definitely have the attacking talents to keep them away from the relegation zone, even after losing key man Alireza Jahanbakhsh. Pre-season has been positive for new boss Ernest Faber, and if his side can take the confidence they have shown and their attacking spirit from last season they could be the surprise package to watch in the Eredivisie.

Predicted position: Comfortably safe between 11th-13th




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