Last seasons KNVB Beker runners up PEC Zwolle will be looking for another positive season under Ron Jans in 2015/16.

  • By Andy Booth
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PEC Zwolle
The past three seasons has seen the meteoric rise of PEC Zwolle. From Eerste Divisie champions in 2011/12, they have quickly grown into a strong Eredivisie outfit. Back to back 11th place finishes and a 5-1 demolition of Ajax in the 2013-14 KNVB Beker Final was followed by victory over the same side in the Johann Cruyff Schaal at the start of last season. The 2014-15 season concluded with the side on 53 points and in 6th place, their highest ever points total and final league position. Another KNVB Beker Final, which was lost to Groningen, reflects growing consistency and competence in competing on multiple fronts.

In Ron Jans, they have one of the best managers in the league at the moment and he deserves a great deal of credit for driving the team forward in the two years he has been in charge. Keeping hold of him has perhaps been their shrewdest piece of business this summer.

Summer Transfers

Last seasons top scorer, Tomáš Necid, has left the club for pastures new at Bursaspor in Turkey. His replacement is Lars Veldwijk who joins on a season-long loan from Nottingham Forest. The 6 foot 5 striker struggled to break into the team at the City Ground, and failed to score in any of his 11 league appearances. The 23-year-old was in exceptional form for Excelsior in 2013-14 though, he scored 30 goals in 38 league games for the Rotterdam club and he will be hoping to recapture some of that form upon his return to the Netherlands.

Maikel van der Werff has earned himself a move to Vitesse after a strong season in the heart of the PEC defence. His departure is a big blow for the club and whether Dirk Marcellis can plug the gap remains to be seen. The former AZ man was part of the NAC Breda side who were relegated last season.

The loan signings of prospects Sheraldo Becker and Queensy Menig are encouraging and add to Jans’s options going forward. Menig in particular could be well worth keeping an eye on; his 11 goals for Jong Ajax last term left him behind only Richairo Zivkovic as the sides top scorer.

Perhaps the biggest concern at the moment is the goalkeeping department. 2014/15 number 1, Warner Hahn has returned to parent club Feyenoord, and with just two registered keepers at the moment, PEC will surely target this area in the transfer market before the season gets underway.

PEC Zwolle will also need to look at adding a new midfielder to the squad after losing Jesper Drost to Groningen, while Mustafa Saymak will miss the whole season after suffering a devastating injury.


Pre-season results have largely been positive. They kicked things off with a 9-0 win over Hatto Heim at the end of June, before a 4-1 win against Genemuiden a week later. A 2-2 draw with Europa League runners up Dnipro preceded a 3-1 victory over Sparta Rotterdam. The only blip was a 3-1 defeat to Levante, their first pre-season loss since 2012. The most alarming incident saw goalkeeper Kevin Begois being taken off injured, further highlighting the needed to recruit a new goalkeeper.

Their final friendly is against VVV Venlo on Saturday 1st August.

Key Player

pec nij dhdhStef Nijland

The striker was excellent for PEC Zwolle last season, scoring eleven league goals, and keeping Tomas Necid out of the first team at points towards the end of the campaign. With Necid now gone, Nijland will battle Lars Veldwijk for the starting spot up front.

One to Watch

Ryan Thomas

Ryan Thomas

Bram van Polen is perhaps the most consistent performer in the side but the flair of Ryan Thomas makes him the most exciting. Despite being only 20, Thomas is now very much a first team regular under Jans and he is starting to live up to his potential. The 3 goals and 7 assists he acquired last season demonstrates this development and don’t be surprised to see both of those numbers higher in a year’s time. The pacey Kiwi winger likes to cut inside and has the ability to play killer through balls, whilst his acceleration is a frightening prospect for the leagues defenders. 

Projected line-up

Begois; van Hintum, Marcellis, Sainsbury, van Polen; Rienstra, Dekker, Marinus, Menig, Thomas; Veldwijk


It’s hard to rule them out of another Europa League play-off spot at the moment, as their progress has been so positive. However the squad has suffered some key losses with Necid, Drost and van der Werff being particularly big blows, as well as the loss of Mustafa Saymak through injury. Their replacements look adequate though and I fancy them to sneak into the Europa League play-off slots once again.

Predicted position: 7th

Andy Booth (27 Posts)