The Dutch football season officially kicks off on Sunday at the Amsterdam Arena with the annual curtain raiser between the cup holders and league champions. Competing for the Johan Cruijff Schaal this year are PSV Eindhoven and Groningen. Kick off 5pm UK time.

schaalPSV Eindhoven ran away with the Eredivisie title last season, finishing 17 points ahead of Ajax, but coach Phillip Cocu has been forced to rebuild his squad after the departures of key players Memphis Depay, Georginio Wijnaldum and Karim Rekik. Vitesse midfielder Davy Propper, Uruguayan attacker Gaston Pereiro, Belgian winger Maxime Lestienne, and right back Simon Poulsen have all arrived this summer, and could all make their debuts against Groningen.

Cocu’s side will be aiming to retain their title, and compete in the Champions League this season, but the coach is first aiming to add the Johan Cruijff Schaal to their trophy cabinet.

He told a press conference, “We faced some tough opponents in the pre-season campaign but the season is now officially starting. We will have to go out there and go for it. We want to win the Dutch Super Cup”

“The Johan Cruyff Shield is a coveted trophy. The players will have to go out there and go for it and show the right spirit. Of course we have added some changes to our squad but we have worked hard and the preparations stretched to tactics as well as fitness”

PSV will be without the injured Jetro Willems for the tie, while Andres Guardado has just returned from winning the Gold Cup with Mexico and wont feature.

Probable PSV line-up: Zoet, Arias, Poulsen, Bruma, Isimat-Mirin, Hendrix, Maher, Propper, Narsingh, Lestienne, De Jong

Groningen are competing in the Johan Cruijff Schaal after picking up the KNVB Cup for the first time last season, but Edwin van de Looi’s side have also gone through a number of changes. Captain Maikel Kieftenbeld and midfielder Tjaronn Chery have departed for England, with Bryan Linssen (Heracles), Abel Tamata (PSV) and Jesper Drost (PEC Zwolle) arriving.

After picking up his first trophy as a coach last season, Van de Looi is hoping his side can continue their winning streak against PSV, “The players just can’t wait and as KNVB Cup winners want to win another prize. It´s great to be here. After all, we haven’t won that much yet.”

Probable Groningen line up: Padt; Hateboer, Botteghin, Lindgren, Tamata; Hiariej, Rusnak, Tibbling; Antonia, De Leeuw, Linssen

After several key departures this summer, PSV Eindhoven will be eager to show that they are still the team to beat in the Netherlands on Sunday, and they should prove too strong for Groningen if they are at their best.

Prediction: PSV 2-0 Groningen




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