It is possibly the biggest day on the Dutch football calendar on Sunday. The first De Klassieker of the season takes place as Ajax and Feyenoord lock horns in the Johan Cruijff ArenA. The kick-off is 15.45 GMT.

The Eredivisie title race is hotting up and on Sunday, top of the table Ajax takes on second placed Feyenoord, who sits only three points behind their bitter rivals.

Ajax have had a tough week, with a 2-2 draw against PSV Eindhoven last weekend followed up with a 3-1 victory over FC Twente in Enschede. Erik ten Hag’s side must now prepare for another crucial game.

Feyenoord are having a great campaign under Dick Advocaat and have lost only once all season. Last weekend they saw off local rivals Sparta Rotterdam before a slender 1-0 victory over PEC Zwolle.

Ten Hag is looking forward to the challenge, “I think we are in the right direction, but we get a new challenge every time. Sunday will be a tough challenge against a very determined Feyenoord, we are all looking forward to that. We want to win every game: good is not good enough.”

Dick Advocaat has said his Feyenoord will not set up to defend in Amsterdam, “We won’t be defending with five men or something. As always we will play grouped and compact, but we will also have to do something with the ball ourselves. Otherwise it makes no sense. We have to make it a competition.”

Team News

Ten Hag has to decide whether to pick Perr Schuurs in the defence after he replaced him with Jurrien Timber against FC Twente. Ajax will be without David Neres, Lassina Traore and Brian Brobbey.

It is unclear whether Klaas Jan Huntelaar will be with the group or if he is on his way to Schalke. Mohamed Kudus is back but only fit enough for the bench.

Possible Ajax line-up: Onana, Mazraoui, Tagliafico, Timber, Blind, Gravenberch, Klaassen, Labyad, Tadic, Antony, Haller

Advocaat has to choose who starts up front against Ajax. Lucas Pratto did not make a good impression in his first two starts and could be dropped in favour of Nicolai Jorgensen or Luis Sinisterra, who came off the bench to score against PEC Zwolle.

Orkun Kokcu could be back in time for the clash, while Justin Bijlow is still out.

Possible Feyenoord line-up: Marsman, Geertruida, Haps, Senesi, Spajic, Fer, Toornstra, Diemers, Sinisterra, Berghuis, Linssen

Odds

Ajax 4/9 Draw 7/2 Feyenoord 6/1

Match History

Sunday’s clash will be the 196th meeting between the two clubs since 1921.

Ajax have won 88 of those with Feyenoord coming out on top in 59.

Last season, Ajax won this tie 4-0 in the ArenA and Feyenoord have not win in Amsterdam since 2005

Key Battles

Haller v Senesi

Feyenoord’s defence has been excellent this season with Senesi the standout in the centre of defence. This weekend though he will come up against Haller, who scored on his first start for Ajax against Twente.

Gravenberch v Fer

Ryan Gravenberch continues to have an excellent campaign and he will look to control the midfield on Sunday. It will be up to Fer to break up the play and get Feyenoord moving forward.

Antony v Berghuis

Who will win the battle between the two excellent right wingers? Antony has seven goals and eight assists this season, while Berghuis has ten goals and seven assists. Both could be the match winner for their side.

What to expect from the first De Klassieker of the season?

Feyenoord have built their success this season on the strength of their defence with Advocaat’s side only conceding one goal in their last six league games.

They will have the toughest test of their season so far though when they travel to free-scoring Ajax, who will look to take the initiative from the start and pin Feyenoord back on their own half.

Feyenoord will need to take any chance they can get to counter if they are to get anything out of the game. Ajax go into it as the favourites but Feyenoord look more than capable of ending their poor run in Amsterdam and at least getting a draw.

We will have a live post-match podcast here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfMEvLDqXrk




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