The 121st De Klassieker in the Eredivisie takes place on Sunday as table-topping Feyenoord host bitter rivals Ajax at De Kuip.

aja-fey-oFeyenoord have been unstoppable in the Eredivisie so far, winning all of their nine games including a victory at PSV, but the biggest test of their title credentials will come on Sunday when they come face to face with rivals Ajax.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst is trying to bring the Eredivisie title back to Rotterdam for the first time since 1999 and a win on Sunday would put them eight points ahead of Ajax in second, while they are already nine ahead of defending champions PSV. However, that will be easier said than done with Ajax proving to be the bogey side for Feyenoord for years, with the Amsterdam side losing just once in the last 20 league meetings between the two sides. A 4-2 loss at De Kuip during the 2011/12 season.

Ajax got off to a rocky start in the league, but they have found their groove under new boss Peter Bosz in recent weeks and head into the tie on Sunday full of confidence and unbeaten in their last ten games in all competitions.

Despite the fact Feyenoord could move eight points ahead of them with a win, Bosz told the press on Friday that the result on Sunday “is not crucial” but he went on to say, “Feyenoord is a leader and is already five points ahead of us. That should not be eight, so it’s an important game.”

Team news

Van Bronckhorst decided to rest Dirk Kuyt for the 1-0 win over Zorya in the Europa League on Thursday and the captain should return to the side in place of Renato Tapia. Eljero Elia is back into contention after injury but he is likely to start on the bench.

Possible Feyenoord line-up: Jones, Karsdorp, Kongolo, van der Heijden, Botteghin, Vilhena, El Ahmadi, Kuyt, Basacikoglu, Toornstra, Jorgensen

Bosz decided to field his strongest side for the 2-2 draw with Celta Vigo on Thursday and he will likely pick the same XI on Sunday with Lasse Schone still a doubt through injury.

Possible Ajax line-up: Onana, Veltman, Sinkgraven, Viergever, Sanchez, Gudelj, Klaassen, Ziyech, Toure, Younes, Dolberg

Head to Head

Since their first meeting in 1921, Ajax and Feyenoord have met on 187 occasions. Ajax have 82 wins to Feyenoord’s 58, while there has been 47 draws.

Key Players to watch

Nicolai Jorgensen

The Danish striker has proved to be an excellent signing for the Rotterdam side, scoring seven times in nine Eredivisie games so far and also adding five assists. Jorgensen has scored four in his last three league games and netted the winner in Thursday’s 1-0 win over Zorya in the Europa league. Jorgensen is a constant threat in the box and will use his height and strength to try and bully Viergever and Sanchez in the Ajax box. If Feyenoord can get enough crosses into the area then the striker should continue his excellent goalscoring form.

Hakim Ziyech

Everyone thought Ajax had made an incredible signing when they brought in Hakim Ziyech from FC Twente in the summer and that has proved to be the case with the Moroccan adding some much-needed creativity to Bosz’s side. The midfielder has seven assists and three goals in eight games for Ajax so far and he is behind most of the clubs attacking play. If he can find space behind his Moroccan teammate Karim El Ahmadi on Sunday then he can run the game for Ajax and provide the ammunition for Kasper Dolberg up front.

Why you should watch the game

Ajax and Feyenoord games are notoriously the most highly fiercely contested games in the Eredivisie with loads of cards, goals and major talking points. The game in Sunday is probably the most crucial tie between them in recent years with a win for Feyenoord putting them in a commanding position at the top while an Ajax victory will throw the title race wide open once again. Both sides go into the game with impressive unbeaten records and something will have to give on Sunday.

Watch out for the clashes on the pitch between Moroccan teammates El Ahmadi and Ziyech, while which Danish striker will prove decisive on Sunday as Dolberg and Jorgensen go head to head. Fans of the Netherlands will also be eager to see Eljero Elia back in action on Sunday ahead of the Netherlands squad announcement next week.




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