The 20/21 Eredivisie season begins this Friday and we will preview the expectations of each Eredivisie club. In this article, we look at FC Groningen.

Jordy Buijs had Groningen fighting for a European playoff spot last season and sitting ninth before the season was ended. This was with the club lacking up front and having a young squad.

The club have caused huge excitement this summer with the signing of Arjen Robben, who decided to come out of retirement to join his former club.

Can the veteran winger turn back time and fire Groningen up the table?

Transfers

The arrival of Arjen Robben has of course been the biggest transfer story of the summer so far for the club, but Wessel Dammers has also arrived from Fortuna Sittard, while Willem II right-back Damil Dankerlui has also been brought in. Winger Patrick Joosten has joined from Utrecht while Ko Itakura is loaned from Manchester City once again.

Groningen needed a new striker and they have brought in Norwegian youngster Jørgen Strand Larsen from Sarpsborg 08 FF.

Dankerlui is a replacement for Deyovaisio Zeefuik, who has joined Hertha Berlin. Mike te Wierik has left for Derby County, while Django Warmerdam is now with Utrecht.

There is still a chance that Azor Matisuwa could depart, while Richairo Zivkovic is training with the club and a loan deal is possible.

Head Coach

Danny Buijs has been with Groningen since 2018 and has grown his reputation as one of the Netherlands best young coaches since.

Buijs keeps Groningen’s defence compact and they are very hard to beat. He also relies on quick counter attacks to get goals.

Key Player

Arjen Robben is a superstar and will of course be Groningen’s key man when he plays.

The 36-year-old has barely featured in pre-season as he works on his fitness but he will captain Groningen this season. If he can get back to form then Groningen has a player capable of winning them games basically on his own. Eredivisie defences will be quaking at the thoughts of trying to prevent Robben from cutting in and firing in goals from the right-wing.

Azor Matusiwa was an excellent addition to the Groningen midfield last season but the 22-year-old wanted to leave the club when there was interest from France. Groningen refused and the Netherlands U21 international is still with the club. If he remains, Groningen has an excellent midfielder.

Young players to watch

Groningen has so many talents breaking through at the moment. Romano Postema (18) is an exciting young striker, who will get plenty of time in the Eredivisie this season.

Kian Slor (18) is an exciting winger, who has made an impact in pre-season, while brothers Daniel (20) and Joel (18) van Kaam will feature in the midfield.

New signing Jørgen Strand Larsen will start the campaign as the club’s main striker, and the 20-year-old is highly rated in his homeland of Norway. Groningen could have found themselves a star in the Norway U21 international.

Pre-season

Groningen’s pre-season has been mixed with the club recording wins over Heracles (1-0), Emmen (4-1), and Volendam (2-0).

However, they have also lost 4-0 to Werder Bremen, 2-0 to PEC Zwolle, and drew 1-1 with Almere City, and NEC Nijmegen (3-3). Their final pre-season clash saw the club drawing 1-1 with German side Arminia Bielefeld with Robben scoring the goal.

Strongest line-up

Padt, Zankerlui, Van Hintum, Itakura, Dammers, Matusiwa, Hrustic, D. Van Kaam, Joosten, Robben, Larsen

Predicted finish

Much will depend on the fitness and impact Arjen Robben can have this season. With him firing, Groningen could challenge for a top eight spot.

However, if Robben misses half the season then Groningen’s young squad may struggle, especially if Larsen doesn’t turn out to be a prolific striker.

Robben will be eager to impress and help his club out and eighth is definitely the position they will be aiming for.




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