AZ Alkmaar vs Vitesse Prediction, Preview, H2H, Lineups & Betting Tips
Days before an anticipated glorious day in Rotterdam, local football fans will have a fine opportunity to observe the 2017 KNVB Beker Final. Unfortunately hosts won’t participate in this year’s Dutch Cup final match as we have two sides that are not part of the so-called traditional “big three” in the Netherlands (Ajax, PSV, Feyenoord) – AZ Alkmaar versus Vitesse Arnhem.
AZ Alkmaar have won the trophy four times and the most recent success was only four years ago – in 2013. On other hand club from Arnhem has not won a major trophy in its long-standing history, which opens a massive chance almost 125th years after Vitesse’s foundation on 14 May 1892. So basically Vitesse may achieve its greatest accomplishment only two weeks before the 125th anniversary.
Don’t forget that winners of 2016–17 KNVB Cup will enjoy not only to a domestic reputation but to direct promotion to the 2017-18 UEFA Europa League group phase. Definitely an additional reason why AZ and Vitesse are fully concentrated and motivated to come out as winners from this final.
Head-to-head history: AZ Alkmaar vs Vitesse
AZ and Vitesse already met twice in regular Eredivisie season where their first encounter (mid-October) took place at the “AFAS Stadion” in Alkmaar. Guests from Arnhem went ahead after goals by Lewis Baker and Ricky van Wolfswinkel but Robert Mühren scored twice for AZ in closing part of the game and formed the final 2-2. This time Mühren won’t be available for selection since he moved to Belgian Zulte-Waregem in the winter.
Previous match between Vitesse and AZ Alkmaar was at the “GelreDome” in Arnhem where hosts once again earned a two-goal lead, however, this time they managed to retain it. Lewis Baker scored another first-half goal (as in the first game) while Brazilian winger Nathan made 2-0 in opening second-half minutes. Later on Vitesse’s captain Guram Kashia scored an own goal but that was not enough to AZ.
KNVB Beker Final: AZ Alkmaar vs Vitesse 30.04.2017
Both head coaches have insisted the 2017 KNVB Beker final is without a clear favourite. Nevertheless, there is perhaps more pressure over Vitesse who can’t boast with having of a significant trophy in their showcase and have also lost three Cup finals. Vitesse lost in three out of three (1912, 1927, 1990) so Henk Fraser realizes he can become the first ever coach who lifted a major trophy with club from Arnhem. The 50-year-old Fraser can do that on the field where he played in period 1990–1999 when he was part of Feyenoord’s setup.
AZ looks more experienced, although team from Alkmaar will celebrate its 50th anniversary on 10th of May. For five decades AZ Alkmaar established itself as one of the strong teams apart from the big trio in Dutch football and even spoiled PSV’s hegemony (winning the Eredivisie in four consecutive years) in 2009. Thereby AZ is approaching that final with more confidence after winning both domestic trophies in past 8 years.
AZ seems to handle relatively well when they reach a final and John van den Brom will try to use it as an ace. Indeed, AZ Alkmaar have won in four out of five Dutch Cup finals they have reached and the only exception was on 6 May 2007 when they lost on penalties to Ajax. Couple of years later, on 9 May 2013, AZ lifted the same trophy in Rotterdam when Gertjan Verbeek’s men were the winners (2-1) over PSV.
Match Preview: Team News, Squads and Missing Players
Vitesse remains in shadow of other Dutch clubs and if we assume how eager they are for winning a trophy, well, this surely can be a double-edged-sword for Henk Fraser’s side. They can either find enough positives or negatives in that aspect but it’s obvious that is one of the rare chances Vitesse has.
Good news for Henk Fraser are related with Matt Miazga’s name who is one of the few playing on loan by a potential Premier League champion Chelsea. Matt Miazga picked up an injury that forced him out of the team’s 1-0 loss to Excelsior. He missed last week’s Eredivisie fixture against Feyenoord (0-2) but the 21-year-old American defender is set to return for the Dutch Cup final. Thus he can feature from the outset alongside other first-team players like Nathan and Lewis Baker who are loaned from “The Blues” as well. Furthermore, considering absence of another central defender – Maikel van der Werff, presence of Matt Miazga next to skipper Guram Kashia seems to be extremely important.
Goal scorer Ricky van Wolfswinkel missed out last Eredivisie round due to yellow card accumulation and is eligible to return, and put on serious threat AZ’s defense.
AZ made a proper warm up, winning twice in a row in the Eredivisie, but an upcoming match requires completely different approach. John van den Brom is well aware, so the former coach of Vitesse (in period 2011-12) and other domestic clubs (+ Belgian Anderlecht) hopes to benefit from its bigger experience. Actually van den Brom and Henk Fraser are both 50-year-old and born in 1966, but AZ’s coach relies on a longer managerial experience he has.
John van den Brom will challenge his former club and will likely choose the same lineup he uses in most occasions. Perhaps biggest doubt on that statement is the right-back role. Norwegian Jonas Svensson starts in last two games but another Scandinavian in face of Swedish defender Mattias Johansson is keen to regain his starting position as well.
AZ Alkmaar vs Vitesse Betting Prediction
AZ heads to the 2017 Dutch Cup final with no injury concerns and in a combination with fact they are more fortunate in these type of games. This makes AZ favourite of the bookies but advantage is not easily given and it’s slightly expressed. Facts that AZ and Vitesse are neighbours in the Eredivisie standings, being only on a point from each other (AZ is fifth with 49 points, Vitesse is sixth with 48) and playing on neutral ground are making the game even more unpredictable.
Under these circumstances we would rather avoidance of any final winner bets and our betting prediction suggests: “Both teams to score – Yes“. Even if the betting odds on the chosen market are not that huge it looks very likely as we have two Dutch teams with typical strikers up front, versatile midfielders, pacey wingers and not the strongest defensive lines though.
Venue: “De Kuip”, Rotterdam.
Referee: Danny Makkelie.
Possible Lineups of AZ Alkmaar and Vitesse
AZ Alkmaar: Tim Krul – Mattias Johansson, Rens van Eijden, Ron Vlaar, Ridgeciano Haps – Derrick Luckassen, Joris van Overeem, Stijn Wuytens – Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Dabney dos Santos, Wout Weghorst. (4-3-3)
Vitesse Arnhem: Eloy Room – Kelvin Leerdam, Guram Kashia, Matt Miazga, Arnold Kruiswijk – Marvelous Nakamba, Navarone Foor, Lewis Baker – Milot Rashica, Nathan, Ricky van Wolfswinkel. (4-3-3)