Ajax vs Feyenoord Prediction, Preview, Lineups & Betting Tips
The “Johan Cruijff ArenA” in Amsterdam is set to host the biggest game in Dutch football when Ajax and Feyenoord will meet on Sunday afternoon, 21 January 2018. This promises a kicking return of the Eredivisie after a short winter break and while hosts from Amsterdam will be keen to achieve third consecutive win over The Rotterdammers, then Feyenoord still seeks first Eredivisie success over its eternal rival since almost six years.
Head-to-Head: Ajax vs Feyenoord
Feyenoord suffered a heavy home defeat (1-4) when both sides met on 22 October 2017, which was the third win of Ajax in the last four De Klassieker editions. In the meantime, Feyenoord have just one victory against Ajax for the past six years which was for the KNVB Cup and it dates more than two years ago – back in October 2015.
Ajax boasts a strong Eredivisie record when facing Feyenoord in the last 12 league encounters (period January 2012-January 2018) – 7 wins, 4 draws and one defeat only.
Eredivisie: Ajax vs Feyenoord 21.01.2018
Ajax have won 21 of their last 23 home matches in the Eredivisie, including the last four in which “The Godenzonen” have also won 3-0 against current leaders PSV. They were also winners in 12 of the last 14 De Klassieker editions in Amsterdam, boosting their confidence before the upcoming one. Moreover, Ajax have scored at least 2 goals in 12 of their last 14 home matches against Feyenoord in all competitions, making them favourites when we look at the statistics.
Ajax are the clear favourites when we take a look at both teams’ form before the break and current positioning, ranking the Amsterdammers on five points behind PSV, whilst reigning champions Feyenoord are fifth, being on 14 points distance to the top, although they have played one game less.
Sunday’s derby will officially mark Erik ten Hag’s debut in charge of Ajax as the 47-year-old Dutchman has been recently appointed as a replacement of Marcel Keizer, who was fired on 21 December 2017, after losing a KNVB Cup match by penalties against FC Twente. Thus the legendary former defender Michael Reiziger, who currently leads Jong Ajax (B team), had to lead Ajax in their last Eredivisie fixture for 2017 when the club made a full comeback to win 3-1 vs Willem II at home. This was their last competitive match prior the winter pause.
Despite an unconvincing performance in the campaign thus far, Feyenoord’s board keeps the credit upon Giovanni van Bronckhorst who won the Eredivisie title only couple of months ago, which was the club’s first in 18 years. Furthermore, van Bronchorst won all possible domestic trophies in the past two seasons – starting with the KNVB Cup in 2015–16 and the 2017 Johan Cruyff Shield, right after the long-awaited Eredivisie triumph. Feyenoord also tasted from the Champions League group stage football where they’ve been eliminated in a highly competitive group alongside Manchester City, Shakhtar Donetsk and Napoli, so they can fully focus onto the domestic stage for the next few months. Besides, Feyenoord remain engaged with the Dutch Cup where they’ll host to PSV in last day of January and the opportunity to win a trophy this year will most likely be their main priority. Of course, this doesn’t mean they will underestimate the Eredivisie and the upcoming derby against Ajax in particular. They can basically play the game with no additional pressure over them.
Team News and Missing Players
AFC Ajax Amsterdam
Erik ten Hag will make his greatest managerial debut so far as he previously led Go Ahead Eagles, Bayern Munich II, as well as Utrecht before his current appointment. He also has experience as an assistant, working with Fred Rutten in both Twente and PSV Eindhoven in period 2006-2012. Unfortunately, ten Hag will have a tough challenge at the beginning and he must face it without some important players who will miss De Klassieker due to different injuries.
Hosts must deal without the injured centre-back Maximilian Wöber, whose absence means that ten Hag should look for an alternative to start alongside Matthijs de Ligt. One of the options is to pull Frenkie de Jong at the back, while the other one is to start with captain Joël Veltman as a central defender. Winter signing Nicolás Tagliafico is set to make his official debut for Ajax as well, arriving from the Argentine Club Atlético Independiente in first days of the new year.
Benjamin van Leer, Daley Sinkgraven, Nick Viergever, Vaclav Cerny and Kasper Dolberg are all injured, while left forward Amin Younes has been linked with a potential move towards several directions and remains questionable for the match. The German international is a key player for Ajax and he won serious attention by various European clubs, but nevertheless, another brilliant talent in Justin Kluivert’s face is set to start as a left wing, while Klaas-Jan Huntelaar will play as a central forward, supported by David Neres from the right side.
Matchday update 21.01.2018: Max Wöber and Amin Younes have both been included in Erik ten Hag’s 19-men group ahead the clash.
Feyenoord’s boss has his own concerns but everyone in Rotterdam will be inspired by the most recent transfer. It has been announced that Robin van Persie returns into his birth place and first professional club as well. However, Giovanni van Bronckhorst won’t be able to use him so soon and the living legend of Feyenoord and Dutch football will have to watch the match only, but rest of the players will definitely be influenced by the news for his returning presence.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst won’t be able to rely on injured defensive quartet Miquel Nelom, Ridgeciano Haps, Eric Bottenghin and Jan-Arie van der Heijden. Jeremiah St. Juste and Sven van Beek will most likely build the centre-back duo of Feyenoord, while Bart Nieuwkoop and Tyrell Malacia are favourites to start as both full-backs (right and left, respectively).
Sofyan Amrabat competes with Jens Toornstra for a starting position in midfield where the presence of Karim El Ahmadi and Tonny Vilhena looks out of question. Top scorer Steven Berghuis will attack from the right side, Nicolai Jørgensen should play in centre, while Sam Larsson is expected to start on the left wing.
Matchday Update 21.01.2018: A few players came into action this week with Feyenoord II, including Eric Botteghin and Ridgeciano Haps. The final training session on Saturday will show whether they will be fully fit to play in “De Klassieker”.
Ajax vs Feyenoord Prediction and Betting Tips
Ajax are our favourites again, despite all missing players in the home side, and they can shorten the distance on top of the table at least for a while, before PSV’s visit to Heracles later this afternoon.
Ajax will find a way to edge Feyenoord’s resistance and we believe they will confidently maintain a solid home record they hold against the Rotterdammers. Our analysts recommend betting on a home win (1X2 Betting): Ajax to beat Feyenoord in the early Sunday afternoon.
Possible Lineups of Ajax and Feyenoord
Venue: “Johan Cruijff ArenA”, Amsterdam.
Referee: Bjorn Kuipers.
AFC Ajax: Andre Onana – Joël Veltman, Matthijs de Ligt, Maximilian Wöber, Nicolas Tagliafico – Hakim Ziyech, Lasse Schöne, Frenkie de Jong – David Neres, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Justin Kluivert. (4-3-3)
Feyenoord Rotterdam: Brad Jones – Bart Nieuwkoop, Sven van Beek, Jeremiah St. Juste, Tyrell Malacia – Tonny Vilhena, Karim El Ahmadi, Jens Toornstra – Steven Berghuis, Nicolai Jörgensen, Sam Larsson. (4-3-3)