The KNVB Cup final takes place this Sunday with Ajax and Willem II going head to head for the trophy. Kick-off in De Kuip is 5pm.

Coming off their excellent 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League semi-finals in midweek, Ajax are still on course for a famous treble.

Erik ten Hag’s side are not only 90 minutes away from the Champions League final, they also sit top of the Eredivisie with two games to go, and on Sunday they clash with Willem II for the KNVB Cup.

Ten Hag assured Ajax’s fans that they are fully focussed on Sunday’s clash, “We set goals early this season. Winning the cup was also part of it. Now is the chance to grab it and we must now fully go for it. It is the first chance for a prize for many of our young players. ”

The Amsterdam side last lifted the KNVB Cup back in 2010 and haven’t won any major silverware since 2014. Their last trip to the cup final was in 2014 but PEC Zwolle hammered Frank de Boer’s side 5-1.

Willem II will take hope from PEC Zwolle’s success as they look to lift their first trophy since 1963. They last reached the cup final in 2005 but lost to PSV Eindhoven.

For Adrie Koster’s side, that has been transformed by the signing of Alexander Isak in January, the final also offers the opportunity to qualify for the Europa League should they triumph. If they lose, eighth spot, which they currently occupy, becomes a European playoff place.

Team News

Ajax will have one eye on the Champions League second leg but Ten Hag has already confirmed that he will not make wholesale changes to his side. Lasse Schone could be rested in favour of Kasper Dolberg.

Possible Ajax line-up: Onana, Mazraoui, Tagliafico, De Ligt, Blind, Frenkie, van de Beek, Ziyech, Tadic, Neres, Dolberg

Willem II had some doubts over goalkeeper Timon Wellenreuther but he is fit to start the final. Other than that, Koster has no fresh injury concerns.

Possible Willem II line-up: Wellenreuther, Lewis, Dankerlui, Peters, Meisner, Tapia, Crowley, Llonch, Saddiki, Vrousai, Isak


Willem II 10/1 Draw 6/1 Ajax 1/5

Previous meetings this season

At the start of March, Ajax defeated Willem II 4-1 in Tilburg and in Amsterdam, Ten Hag’s side also triumphed 2-0.

Route to the final

Ajax: After hammering amateur side HVV 7-0 in the first round, Ajax dispatched Go Ahead Eagles 3-0. A nervy penalty shootout win against Roda JC followed before Heerenveen were downed 3-1 in the quarter-finals. In the semis, Ajax travelled to bitter rivals Feyenoord and knocked the holders out with a 3-0 win.

Willem II: A narrow 2-1 win over Volendam in the first round was followed up with simple wins over amateur sides Spakenburg (5-0) and AFC (3-0). In the quarter finals, Twente were defeated 3-2 before Willem II overcame AZ on penalties to book their place in the final.

Key Battles

Frenkie de Jong v Renato Tapia

On Sunday, former Willem II academy graduate, Frenkie de Jong, goes in search of what could be the first of many trophies in his career.

The excellent midfielder will look to keep Ajax ticking over in midfield and it will be up to Feyenoord loanee Renato Tapia to stop him from dominating the game.

Matthijs de Ligt v Alexander Isak

Willem II were expected to struggle after losing Fran Sol in January, but the loan signing of Isak from Borussia Dortmund has been a revelation.

The Swede has scored 13 goals in 15 appearances for Willem II so far and he will be the Tilburg sides key man on Sunday. He will come up against Matthijs de Ligt, who has been in sensational form this season and is looking to lift his first trophy as Ajax captain.

How will the final go?

Ajax go into Sunday’s clash as the major favourite but with no trophy since 2014, there will be nerves for the Amsterdam side, who will also have one eye on the second-leg against Tottenham.

In Isak, Willem II have a player that can cause Ajax’s defence problems and he offers the Tilburg side hope of a big upset.

Expect Ajax to dominate possession and go looking for a goal early, while WIllem II will play mostly on the counter.

admin (13828 Posts)

Follow @Footballoranje_ on Twitter