The Eredivisie is back this weekend so here is a guide to everything you need to know heading into the new campaign.

eredThe Teams

(click on a club’s name to see in depth season preview)

ADO Den Haag, Ajax, AZ Alkmaar, Cambuur, De Graafschap, Excelsior, Feyenoord, Groningen, Heerenveen, Heracles, NEC Nijmegen, PEC Zwolle, PSV Eindhoven, Roda JC, Twente, Utrecht, Vitesse Arnhem, Willem II

When does the Eredivisie start?

The league kicks off on Saturday the 8th of August, with the first weekend depleted due to police strikes. Roda JC v Heracles gets the league going, while holders PSV have to wait until Tuesday for their first match against ADO Den Haag.

Where can i watch the Eredivisie?

Fox Sports have the rights to the Eredivisie in the Netherlands, but in the UK its Sky Sports who will show several games throughout the season, but usually only those featuring Ajax, PSV or Feyenoord. You can also stream every match through betting website Unibet.

How does the league work?

The team that comes top of the Eredivisie picks up the Schaal and enters the Champions League group stage. Second gets you into the Champions League qualifiers, while third gains an entry into the Europa League. Places 4th-7th then enter the end of season play-offs to determine the other Europa League place. That could be 5th-8th depending who wins the KNVB Cup, which also holds a Europa League place for its winner.

At the bottom the club that finishes 18th is automatically relegated to the Eerste Divisie, while 17th and 16th enter the play-offs to fight for their future.

Who are the title contenders?

Defending champions PSV Eindhoven will once again be the team to beat, but Ajax, who finished 17 points adrift of top spot last year,  should give them a closer fight than they did last year. Feyenoord, under the leadership of Giovanni van Bronckhorst, are bolstering their squad with experienced players like Dirk Kuyt, Marko Vejinovic and Eljero Elia, and they may also join the race for the title.

Clubs such as Vitesse, AZ Alkmaar, and FC Twente are not strong enough this season and will contend for the European play-off spots.

Who will finish in the bottom three?

Promoted sides Roda JC, and De Graafschap start as favourites to finish bottom of the table, while Excelsior, Heracles Almelo, Cambuur, and even ADO Den Haag could get dragged into the relegation scrap. Eerste Divisie champions NEC Nijmegen should do well back in the Eredivisie, with their young squad possessing enough talent to keep them safe.

What were the big summer transfers?

Its been a busy summer for all the Eredivisie club’s, and you can check out every club’s transfers on this page here.

Who are the players to watch?

PSV will line up in the Champions League without Memphis Depay and Georginio Wijnaldum, but they do have striker Luuk de Jong who netted 20 goals last season, midfielder Andres Guardado, and Jetro Willems, who has become one of the most productive left backs in Europe. Young midfielder Adam Maher is also expected to have an excellent season in Eindhoven.

At Ajax you have Netherlands number one and reported Manchester United target Jasper Cillessen, Polish forward Arkaduisz Milik, and the hugely talented midfield trio of Davy Klaassen, Daley Sinkgraven and Riechedly Bazoer to look out for. On the wings Anwar El Ghazi has drawn comparisons to Cristiano Ronaldo, while Viktor Fischer is back after missing most of last season through injury.

Dirk Kuyt has returned to Feyenoord, who now possess ex-Juventus and Southampton winger Eljero Elia, as well as the hugely talented centre back duo Sven van Beek and Terence Kongolo.

Hakim Ziyech and Jesus Corona of FC Twente, Albert Rusnak of FC Groningen, Luciano Slagveer of Heerenveen, and Alireza Jahanbakhsh of AZ Alkmaar are also worth watching this summer.

Fans of Chelsea will need to keep a keen eye on Vitesse with five of their youth talents currently in Arnhem. Young striker Dominik Solanke and Brazilian Nathan could be the pick of the bunch.

Which youngsters will make their breakthrough?

Eighteen-year-old striker Richairo Zivkovic is hoping to impress this season on loan at Willem II from Ajax, while 21-year-old forward Vincent Janssen will get his first chance in the Eredivisie after being snapped up by AZ Alkmaar.

Young defenders Kenny Tete and Jairo Riedewald are set to be part of Ajax’s first team, 17-year-old winger Steven Bergwijn could replace Memphis Depay on PSV’s left wing, and goalscoring machine Jari Schuurman has been promoted to the Feyenoord first team at the age of 18.

Also look out for Juninho Bacuna at Groningen, Jerry st Juste of Heerenveen, Kevin Diks at Vitesse, and young Belgian winger Anthony Limbombe of NEC Nijmegen.

Who will finish as top scorer?

Luuk de Jong is the favourite to snap up the Eredivisie’s golden ball title after finishing second on the goalscoring chart to Memphis Depay last season. His main competition will come from Milik of Ajax, and Janssen of AZ Alkmaar. Michiel Kramer could enter the race if he moves to Feyenoord, while Richairo Zivkovic and Dominik Solanke are the young strikers looking to make an impression.

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