PSV assured themselves of Europa League football after Christmas sooner than expected. Yesterday’s victory also gives a lot more space to fully focus on the upcoming Eredivisie matches. Sunday is the one against ‘angstgegner’ sc Heerenveen.
The most favourable scenario unfolded for PSV, last evening in Granada. They beat the local Club de Futbol and got the news that PAOK Saloniki lost their match in Cyprus. This means the Eindhoven squad have reached the knockout phase and will be playing more Europa League football after Christmas, and the focus can now be fully turned to the upcoming Eredivisie and KNVB Cup match. The last group match, next week Thursday, can’t change anything about that anymore.
PSV started with a lot of energy, clearly with the intention to score an early goal. This didn’t happen, and the squad had learned in the weeks prior that they needed to balance their pressure play a bit more with a low tempo. That the opening goal fell in the 38th minute was still a relatively early game-changer, and it didn’t seem that Granada was in shape to turn things around as they did in the opening match. The beautiful set up by Olivier Boscagli and sharp pass by Philipp Max made Donyell Malen’s finish look like a walk in the park.
PSV tried to push through and score the second goal to make it an easier match, but that just didn’t happen. The Spaniards seemed to have faith in a better result, and maybe also felt the pressure since they didn’t win their last matches in La Liga either. They created some chances, but Roger Schmidt’s men showed they learnt from their mistakes and kept the lines close together. One particular defensive action got Denzel Dumfries seriously injured, and the captain got replaced by Timo Baumgartl ten minutes later. Noni Madueke had already been replaced by Eran Zahavi, also due to an injury, but the Israeli was unfortunate that he couldn’t finish the match himself.
With Jorrit Hendrix as the last substitute, the German head coach made sure he did not want to take any risk but consolidate the lead. With six minutes extra time the wait for the final whistle became more exciting, but not a single Schwalbe from the Granadians could keep PSV from taking the three points to Eindhoven. When the players heard that PAOK had lost their away match against Omonia Nicosia and that the knockout phase had already been reached, the relief was gigantic. And the technical staff can be more than satisfied with the decisions they took to get the best team ready for tonight. Watch the full resume here.
Next opponent: SC Heerenveen
SC Heerenveen is the current number six of the Dutch Eredivisie competition. The club from the northern province of Friesland was established on 20 June of 1920, under the name Athleta, and was baptized to SC Heerenveen on 1 June of 1977. Their home stadium is named after Abe Lenstra, one of the greatest Dutch football players of his time. He scored 523 goals in 500 matches and left the club in no less than 18 seasons, in 1954.
Riemer van der Velde, chairman from 1983 until 2006, made sure the club got rid of financial debts and brought them to the Dutch sub-top. He attracted Foppe de Haan, who grew to become an internationally respected football head coach. The breakthrough came in 1993 when he reached the KNVB Cup final against Ajax and got the club promoted to the Eredivisie. Through their sophisticated scouting policy, the Frisians succeeded in attracting many great talents to their club, which has proven to be perfect for strikers to start their career. Markus Allbäck, Igor Kornejev, Jon Dahl Thomasson, Ruud van Nistelrooij, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Georgios Samaras, Alfred Finnbogason and Bas Dost are some of the great examples.
But Heerenveen also has a good youth academy, with Luciano Narsingh, Lasse Schöne and Hakim Ziyech as some of the best-known exponents. With Denzel Dumfries, PSV has a great example of a player who made the move to the Blue Whites as a step up to a top team in the Netherlands. Albert Guðmundsson had the same thing in mind, but after three seasons with PSV Under 21, he decided to try his luck at AZ in 2018. Real Madrid’s Martin Ødegaard played at Heerenveen on loan in the season of 2017/18.
The Blue-White Army has the fondest memories of 2009 when they played the KNVB Cup final. After 120 minutes against the FC Twente of Bryan Ruiz and assistant coach Erik ten Hag, the score was 2-2. Heerenveen, with Darryl Janmaat, Bonaventure Kalou and Gerald Sibon in the squad, took the penalties better and gave Heerenveen their first and only ever prize on the highest Dutch football level. Former head coach and club icon Foppe de Haan became European Champions with the Dutch Under 21 team in 2006 and 2007 and was the assistant coach of the Dutch Lionesses who became European Champions in 2017.
Facts and figures
PSV and Heerenveen played 68 matches against each other throughout history. PSV won 37 times, Heerenveen 14 times. PSV scored a total of 145 goals, an average of 2.13 per game. SC Heerenveen scored 82 goals, an average of 1.21 per game. In the context of the Dutch Eredivisie competition, PSV won 12 and lost 8 of the 29 matches so far. PSV scored 54 goals and conceded 43. The last victory dates back to 18 December of 2011, when they beat the Superfriezen with 1-5. In the seven following matches, the team from Eindhoven drew three and lost four times. This is why the sports club nowadays is seen as an ‘angstgegner’ for PSV.
Strengths and weaknesses
SC Heerenveen has won five of its ten matches this season, four of which were home matches. They scored 18 goals and conceded 13, and the main couple to keep an eye on are both named Veerman. The 22-year-old Joey is a talented midfielder, who gave four assists and scored three goals so far. The 29-year-old Henk is a completely different type of player. Where Joey is light-footed and technical, Henk is tall and rigid, but both the Volendammers are of crucial worth for ‘t Fean. Henk is top scorer with eight goals and also gave two assists.
The main strength lies in the ability to switch and create dangerous counter-attacks. This could be very dangerous for PSV, especially when you look at the chances their opponents got in the last couple of months. If Lennart Thy had been sharper and calmer before the goal, he could have scored a goal against PSV exactly in the way Heerenveen have become good at. With Jan Paul van Hecke and Pawel Bochniewicz, they have a strong central defence. This will most likely become another match where PSV gets to make the play and has to be very aware of the counter-attacks.
Dumfries, Madueke and Zahavi got injured during yesterday’s match in Granada. At today’s press conference, head coach Schmidt said the injuries didn’t come from tiredness, but because the players all got a hit from a Spaniard. He adds:”I think the injuries are not that big, but I’m not sure if they can play on Sunday”. You can watch the full pre-match press conference online here.
Match: sc Heerenveen – PSV
Date: Sunday 6 December
Time: 16:45 (4:45PM)
Location: Abe Lenstra Stadion, Heerenveen
Referee: Bas Nijhuis
VAR: Rob Dieperink
Broadcast: Fox Sports
Article by Joey van der Hart for Eindhoven News
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