The Dutch football season officially gets underway with the annual meeting off the league and KNVB Cup winners with Ajax facing off against PEC Zwolle at the Amsterdam Arena.

  • By Michael Bell
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schaalpecThe tie is a rematch of last season’s KNVB Cup final in which PEC Zwolle handed Ajax a shock 5-1 hammering to lift their first major trophy, and earn a place in the Europa League for the first time in their history.

Ajax will be looking for revenge on Sunday as they go in search of their 9th Schaal success, which coach Frank de Boer will hope is the start of a journey towards their fifth straight Eredivisie title.

Its been a relatively quiet summer for the Eredivisie champions, who have seen Siem de Jong, Christian Poulsen, and Danny Hoesen leave, while Richairo Zivkovic, Arkadiusz Milik, and Nick Viergever have come in.

There will be no debut for Zivkovic as he has been left out of the Ajax squad, which will also be missing Jasper Cillessen, Daley Blind, and Joel Veltman after their World Cup efforts, while Viktor Fischer, and Ricardo van Rhijn are injured. Young winger Anwar el Ghazi, who has been top scorer in pre-season is in Frank de Boer’s squad and could make his official debut.

Possible Ajax XI: Vermeer, Ligeon, Boilesen, Moisander, Denswil, Viergever, Serero, Klaasen, Schone, Kishna, Milik

PEC Zwolle have seen key players Fred Benson, Mateusz Klich, and Darryl Lachman all depart this summer, while Ron Jans has been unable to bring in experienced recruits. Youngster Rick Dekker has come in from Feyenoord, while attacker Nikalaos Ionnidis joins from Olympiakos on loan.

Despite the player losses, PEC Zwolle have had a great pre-season which has included wins over Bundesliga side Hannover, and PAOK of Greece, which will give them huge confidence ahead of the Ajax match.

Possible PEC Zwolle XI: Boer, Van Polen,  Sainsbury, Broerse, Van Hintum, Mokotjo, Rienstra, Saymak, Drost, Karagounis, Nijland

Ajax will be huge favourites when the match kicks off at the Amsterdam Arena, but PEC Zwolle were the surprise package of Dutch football last season. Can they pull off another shock?

P.S Look out for the magic spray which was used to mark free kick’s during the World Cup, which will make its debut in Dutch football tomorrow.

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