AZ ALKMAAR VS FEYENOORD PREVIEW & PREDICTION
The championship in the Netherlands has been decided since last week. In the direct duel between the two leaders PSV Eindhoven defeated Ajax Amsterdam 3-0 and crowned the Dutch champions for the 24th time. The other national title will be decided on Sunday evening. In the Cup final, third-placed AZ Alkmaar meet fourth-placed Feyenoord Rotterdam. The officially hosted team from Rotterdam has the advantage that the match takes place in the Feyenoord Stadium. For Alkmaar a triumph on Sunday would mean the fifth cup title. Last year’s champion Feyenoord Rotterdam can conclude a rather disappointing season with the cup title. For Feyenoord it would be the 13th title in the Dutch Cup. The kick-off at Feyenoord Stadium will be at 6pm.
The Dutch Eredivisie has always been dominated by three teams: Ajax Amsterdam, PSV Eindhoven and Feyenoord Rotterdam. Hardly once all three teams stumble in one season, so there may be another champion. So there was only in just four seasons since 1960 a champion who was not Ajax, PSV or Feyenoord. Half of these extraordinary championships were won by AZ Alkmaar in 1981 and the last in 2009. Alkmaar has been able to win the KNVB Beker four times, most recently in 2013.
In the current championship AZ Alkmaar could already achieve a small partial success and has the third place, before Feyenoord Rotterdam, already in the bag. After 32 of 34 rounds Alkmar collected 68 points and is eight points ahead of the first pursuers. Even the second place is theoretically still possible, which would mean a qualification place for the Champions League. On the next matchday, there will be a direct duel against the second Ajax Amsterdam, who is five points clear of Alkmaar. In the last weeks AZ Alkmaar had problems only with the “Big 3”. Alkmaar won seven of the last nine league games, only beaten by Feyenoord Rotterdam and PSV Eindhoven in that period. The last game against Vitesse Arnhem was a real spectacle. Already at halftime it was 3: 2 for Alkmaar. In the end, the hosts won 4-3, with Iranian Alireza Jahanbakhsh becoming the match winner for Alkmaar with three goals. He overtook team-mate Wout Weghorst, who scored 16 goals this season, and now leads the league’s top scorer’s list with 18 goals. Also with the assists the Iranian leads his team. The 24-year-old right winger can not only complete, but also prepare perfectly. With 15 assists no other player was able to score more in the Eredivisie.
After the championship last season, had to wait for the Feyenoord 18 long years, followed for the Rotterdam again a sobering season. After 32 rounds last year’s champion is only in fourth place and can not improve or deteriorate in the remaining two games. With Holland’s Eredivisie Play-Offs being the last remaining place in the Europa League, even these are not yet in the towel. The drama playoffs Feyenoord wants to deal with winning the cup with certainty. The Rotterdam gambled a good starting position early in the season. After a great start of four victories in a series followed by a dry spell of just one win from the next eight games. From that point on it was known that the championship decision without Feyenoord Rotterdam falls.
In recent weeks, Feyenoord has been mitigating damage and has started a great run. With the 5: 1 at Willem Il Tilburg Feyenoord could win the sixth game in a row. This winning streak was initiated with a 2-1 win against the Cup final opponent AZ Alkmaar. Especially the offensive game works perfectly in the last few weeks. In the last six games Feyenoord scored 22 goals. Thus, the Rotterdam in these games shot on average almost two goals per game more than in the 26 games before. The most successful man was right winger Steven Berghuis, who netted 14 times. The 26-year-old Dutchman is also the best assistants with 14 assists.
PREDICTION: Over 2.5 goals @ 1.57