Preview of the upcoming season for Heerenveen, who have a new coach, and have to face up to life without top scorer Alfreð Finnbogason.

  • By Harry Taylor
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heereLast season was a relatively successful campaign for SC Heerenveen, they ended up finishing 5th, mainly thanks to the brilliance of Icelandic forward Alfreð Finnbogason who netted on 29 occasions, making him the league’s top goal scorer. Finishing 5th meant that the Frisian side were the first team to qualify for the Europa league play-offs which saw them get a more favourable draw against Dick Advocaat’s AZ Alkmaar. Despite supposedly having an easier match, Heerenveen were outclassed by AZ as they went on to lose 3-1 on aggregate over the 2 games. This was a disappointing way for Coach Marco van Basten to end his two year tenure for the club as he departed for the last side to beat him, AZ Alkmaar. However this is all in the past and Heerenveen will look to maintain the target of a Europa League play off place, something that has been made more difficult for new coach Dwight Lodeweges with the loss of their star man Finnbogason departing to Spain.

Transfers: Heerenveen have not been the most active this transfer window, bringing in just three players, showing that once again they shall put their faith into their successful youth system. The players brought in are young Norwegian talent Morten Thorsby, an 18 year old midfielder who has represented his nation for the under-17’s, Dutchman Jordy Buijs from NAC Breda, who’s a good passer of the ball that can play in both midfield and defence and finally Thomas Dalgaard, a 30 year old Dane with an eye for goal.

Despite have a strong domestic campaign Heerenveen were unable to prevent the departures of several key players, with a total of 8 players leaving the club. The list of players to depart the club include, star striker Alfreð Finnbogason as well as exciting young winger Van la Parra and huge talent Basaçikoglu who left for Sociedad, Wolves and Feyenoord respectively. The others to leave were sold on a free and they included; Noppert to NAC, Lurling to Den Bosch, Zomer to Heracles, Kum to Utrecht and Kruiswijk to Vitesse.


Sc Heerenveen had a solid pre-season tour, they participated in 9 friendlies and managed to win 6, draw on one occasion and lose twice. Heerenveen beat Buitenpost 6-1, Flevo boys 3-1, Telstar 3-0, MVV 2-0, Go Ahead Eagles 2-1 and Qabala 1-0 but could only draw 0-0 against Almere City and were beaten by Preußen Münster and Spanish side Levante.

Possible starting XI: Nordfeldt; van Anholt, Otigba, Van Aken, Marzo; de Roon, Buijs, Ziyech; Wildschut, Dalgaard, Uth.

Key players:

Hakim Ziyech: Despite being only 21 years old, Ziyech emerged as one of the Eredivisie’s biggest talents last season, putting in some remarkable performances and playing an integral role in helping his team to 5th, netting on 9 occasions and getting 10 assists. And despite being so young, Ziyech will have to improve his performances even more if his side are to get a Europa League play off place, Ziyech will be given a more important role in the team, given more freedom in the centre of the field to help create chaos for the opposition and create even more chances. However Heerenveen may well have a battle on their hands just to keep the midfielder at the club with Twente being supposedly linked with the star man earlier on in the summer, it is pivotal that Heerenveen can keep Ziyech as he is one of the few players the club possesses that can create something out of nothing, and can determine the outcome of a match.

Thomas Dalgaard: New summer signing Dalgaard has a huge amount of pressure on his shoulders, the Dane is replacing Icelandic hit-man Finnbogason, the league’s top scorer last year. Finnbogason became a club legend last season, becoming the clubs all-time top scorer in the Eredivisie, and his lose would of broke many fans hearts, the fans will most likely have high expectations for the 30 year old as the club has always had a great number 9 in their side, Huntelaar, van Nistelrooy, Lenstra, Dost and Finnbogason to name a few. Not only this but being 30 years old the player is not going to be one for the future and he will only have this season, possibly next to prove himself. If Dalgaard can’t find his shooting boots then Heerenveen could be in for a torrid time with goals unlikely to come from many other sources.

Youngster to watch:

Joost van Aken: Coming through the clubs youth academy, Van Aken broke into the first team for the last few games of the last season, featuring 8 times and even managing to get on the score sheet twice. The defender can play at left back but is most effective as a central defender, being a typical Dutch defender, Van Aken is comfortable at bringing the ball out from the back and is firm in the tackle and to top it off the 20 year old has a strong physical presence which will only develop further as he ages. Also with Kum departing for Utrecht that means there is one less player for Van Aken to compete with in order to cement a first team place and assert himself as a prominent young centre-back.


Losing Finnbogason will have a detrimental impact on Heerenveen and with the Icelandic man providing such a high proportion of the team’s goals I think this is a feat that Dalgaard will struggle to live up to. However Ziyech should continue to develop and I think he has enough quality to assure his side of a Europa League play off place, but only just.


Harry Taylor (30 Posts)