Typical German finish marks the end of 2020 for PSV

Philips Stadium. Photo Credit: Joey van der Hart

Substitute Adrian Fein scored the 4-1 in the dying seconds of the extra time. PSV couldn’t have ended 2020 in a more typical German way; maybe only if it was the winning goal. But a winter break is definitely what the club can use.

The last home match of the season wasn’t the best they played, but it consolidated the second position on the ranking for PSV. Roger Schmidt started with Mvogo; Dumfries ( C ), Teze, Boscagli, Max; Sangaré, Hendrix; Gakpo, Götze; Ihattaren and Madueke.

Baumgartl, Delanghe, Fein, Oppegard, Piroe, Unnerstall and Viergever started on the bench. Donyell Malen hasn’t fully recovered from muscle pains after the match of RKC-Waalwijk. Captain Denzel Dumfries got a present for his 100 Eredivisie matches for PSV.

VVV-Venlo kicked off with Kirschbaum; Pachonik, Schäfer, Kum, Schmitz; Post, Linthorst, Hunte, Van Crooij; Giakoumakis and Arias. Head coach Hans de Koning let these player start in a 4-4-2 system at the Philips Stadium.

First half

PSV entered the penalty box three minutes after the kickoff but didn’t become dangerous until one minute later. But Cody Gakpo was just too far off the goal to kick Denzel Dumfries assist in. Mohamed Ihattaren’s first shot missed the target, and he spared VVV an early backlog. Three minutes later Gakpo missed the chance to kick Philipp Max’s assist into the goal, exactly from the spot where Malen has often been successful this season.

PSV – VVV club logo’s. Credit: Supportersvereniging PSV

PSV kept the ball rolling and Mario Götze kept sprinkling his passes, but Dumfries’ header and shot soon after both had no result. After the first twenty minutes, the rain kept pouring but the chances were drying out. Even worse: VVV were first to take the lead after Arias hit a perfect assist from winger Vito van Crooij home.

PSV took back control, but their finishing touches simply weren’t good enough. A fowl by Christian Kum on Noni Madueke opened the door for Philipp Max, who took the penalty kick and put the equalizer on the scoreboard. Referee Sander van der Eijk didn’t intervene after the handball by Giakoumakis. PSV created several more chances, but neither Mohamed Ihattaren, Cody Gakpo or Philipp Max were able to capitalize on them.

Second half

Both sides started the second half with the same line-up, and Gakpo took the first shot on target after ten seconds. Götze’s first shot got blocked, while his second shot was an easy save for goalkeeper Thorsten Kirschbaum. Surprisingly it was defender Olivier Boscagli who put the Eindhoven side in a leading position when he headed a corner kick from Max to the nets.

Ten minutes in, Ihattaren left the pitch injured. He got replaced by striker Joel Piroe, who now had 35 minutes official playing time to prove his worth again. Madueke then blew up the chance of a golden counter-attack with bad passing but recovered the minute after and gave the assist for Gakpo’s first goal of the night: 3-1.

Piroe missed a great chance on the 4-1 after another assist from Madueke, and PSV managed to do nothing with the many corner kicks they got. With twenty minutes to go, it appeared Max was out of gas. The quality level of the match didn’t improve anymore, and the number of substitutions got the pace out of the game as well.

Ten minutes before time, with the rain still pouring, midfielder Adrian Fein replaced Max, whose position was taken over by Jorrit Hendrix. A fantastic pass from Dumfries didn’t get what it deserved when Gakpo’s finish hit the goalpost. The captain enforced a free kick with one of his sneaky manoeuvers, but nothing interesting came out of it.

The last free-kick, after another fowl by Kum, was also left unused, when Dumfries hit the ball hard against Piroe. Fein made his first goal in the dying second of the extra time, after the next assist by Madueke, and gave PSV that typical German end of the match ánd first half of the season.

Schmidt explains

Half an hour before kick-off, Schmidt told Fox Sports: “I think it is not a good approach to start a match with the focus on the goal difference”. Directly after the match, captain Dumfries told the same interviewer “We delivered a scandalous first half when it comes to the energy we (didn’t) put in it”. Maybe, looking back, Schmidt will change his approach for the next matches? No.

Schmidt said to be happy “both with the and the match. I already expected it to be a difficult game, it went exactly as we had discussed. This was a test, and we passed. This was our fifth game in twelve days, don’t forget that. I also take that into account when assessing our performance. We also won those five duels in all competitions.” The coach concluded: “Now it is important that the players take a few days off and relax at home with their families. Then we can confidently start the second half of the season…”

Winter break

If there is one club that could use this winter break, it is PSV. Due to the late transfers, injuries and the number of coronavirus infections, the club has used no less than 31 players in order to be able to form a reasonable line-up every match. Because of the constant changes, it has also been extra difficult for the head coach to implement his style of play and for his squad to create patterns and consistency. The entire first season half has been exhausting and could be seen as the preparation they didn’t have in the pre-season.

Philips Stadion. Photo Credit: Joey van der Hart

It has been the custom for PSV to take some of their finest talents from the Youth Academy along to the training camp. But since the whole world is in some or another form of lockdown due to the second wave of the coronavirus wave, the PSV selection isn’t going anywhere. Roger Schmidt already shared several months ago that they are staying in Eindhoven and will use the outstanding facilities of De Herdgang to prepare for the restart of the season in 2021.

The winter break will be relatively short, with the away match against Ajax Amsterdam scheduled as first of the new year. This takes place on Sunday 10 January. Technical Manager John de Jong obviously hopes that players like Marco van Ginkel, Érick Gutiérrez and Armando Obispo will be able to participate in the group training again and that Mauro Júnior, Ryan Thomas and Eran Zahavi will become match fit again soon. Mario Götze, Mohamed Ihattaren and Donyell Malen and Noni Madueke should all be ready to show what they’ve really got when this winter break is over.

Busy schedule for January

The month of January will be as busy as December has been. Also, the quality level of opponents will increase, since the KNVB has scheduled all top matches after the winter break. The idea behind this is based on the hope that the coronavirus would be under control at this moment, so that season ticket holders would be able to watch at least one of the top matches live at the stadium. Unfortunately, the second wave doesn’t allow for anything like that for another while yet again.

The following matches are scheduled:

Sunday 10 January, 16:45:                           Ajax Amsterdam – PSV (Eredivisie)

Wednesday 13 January, 18:45:                     PSV – AZ Alkmaar (Eredivisie)

Saturday 16 January, 18:45:                        Sparta Rotterdam – PSV (Eredivisie)

Tuesday 19 January, 21:00:                         FC Volendam – PSV (KNVB Cup)

Saturday 23 January, 20:00:                        PSV – RKC Waalwijk (Eredivisie)

Tuesday 26 January, 20:00:                         FC Emmen – PSV (Eredivisie)

Sunday 31 January, 14:30:                           Feyenoord Rotterdam – PSV (Eredivisie)

Merry Christmas

I want to thank you for reading my articles and wish you a merry Christmas from behind my laptop. Stay safe and try to make the best out of this season, despite the given circumstances and restrictions. I will soon post an article with my thoughts on 2020’s season of PSV, so keep checking back for that.

Article by Joey van der Hart for Eindhoven News

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