The head is off. With the Eredivisie back on the road again, FootballPrimeur is looking at the focal points for the top four clubs this season. Which matches, and especially in which periods, should Ajax, AZ, Feyenoord and PSV watch out for?
Triple HeadersNow there will be no matches between Ajax, AZ, Feyenoord and PSV in the first half of the season, the programmes for the top clubs in 2020 seem simple at first sight. But because of the postponed European season, the difference in the title match can be made precisely in the months of October, November and December.
This has everything to do with the two European triple headers planned by UEFA. Two periods in which three rounds of play in the Champions League and the Europa League will be completed in three weeks. These triple headers are the reason why top clubs in Europe are doing a lot of shopping: only with two fully-fledged teams can you get through this hectic period with little damage. After a tough, foreign adventure, loss of points is always lurking in the competition.
In the Netherlands, Ajax (Champions League), Feyenoord (Europa League) and AZ (Champions League of Europa League) have already secured participation in the group stage of a European final tournament. PSV and also Willem II are still competing for a place in the group stage of the Europa League. What do the weeks of the top four clubs around those triple headers look like? First we look at the duels around the first triple header, which runs from 20 October to 5 November.
AjaxAjax is warming up for the Champions League group stage with a home game against sc Heerenveen and is still playing during the three busy European weeks at VVV-Venlo and at home against Fortuna Sittard. After three gruelling European rounds of play, Ajax awaits one of the most difficult away games of the season, visiting FC Utrecht.
Saturday 17/10: Ajax-HeerenveenZaturday 24/10: VVV-AjaxZaturday 31/10: Ajax-Fortuna SittardSunday 8/11: FC Utrecht-Ajax
AZAZ will play against VVV-Venlo before the start of the European final tournament and will then visit ADO Den Haag in the stadium where it also played a lot last season. After a home match against RKC Waalwijk, the most difficult game for AZ in this first busy period awaits sc Heerenveen.
Saturday 17/10: AZ-VVV Saturday 24/10: ADO-AZZ Saturday 31/10: AZ-RKCZ Saturday 7/11: Heerenveen-AZ
Feyenoord will also play a home game in the weekend before the start of the Europa League, against fellow townsman Sparta. During the European weeks the Rotterdammers will have two away games in a row: RKC Waalwijk and FC Emmen. At the end of the first triple header, Feyenoord FC Groningen will play in the Kuip.
Sunday 18/10: Feyenoord-SpartaZondag 25/10: RKC-FeyenoordZondag 1/11: FC Emmen-FeyenoordZondag 8/11: Feyenoord-Groningen
PSVPSV has tough first weeks in the first European triple header with two away matches against PEC Zwolle and Vitesse. These will be followed by two home games against ADO and another possible European competitor: Willem II.
Sunday 18/10: PEC-PSV Sunday 25/10: Vitesse-PSV Sunday 1/11: PSV-ADO Sunday 8/11: PSV-Willem II
The second European triple header, which will run from 24 November to 10 December, awaits us immediately after an inter-country period.
AjaxAjax has an advantage with three home matches in this period. For the resumption of the European group phases, the Amsterdammers will play against Heracles Almelo at home. After a visit to FC Emmen, FC Twente and PEC Zwolle will also come to Amsterdam.
Saturday 21/11: Ajax – HeraclesSaturday 28/11: FC Emmen-AjaxSaturday 5/12: Ajax-FC TwenteSaturday 12/12: Ajax-PEC Zwolle
AZAZ first receives FC Emmen before European football is released, and then has three difficult matches: out with Heracles Almelo, home against FC Groningen and out with FC Twente.
Saturday 21/11: AZ – FC EmmenZaturday 28/11: Heracles – AZZaturday 5/12: AZ-GroningenZaturday 12/12:FC Twente-AZ
FeyenoordFeyenoord will first visit Fortuna Sittard after the international break and play the centre piece in-house, with two home games against FC Utrecht and Heracles Almelo. At the end of the group stage a distant away match against VVV-Venlo awaits.
Sunday 22/11: Fortuna Sittard-Feyenoord Sunday 29/11: Feyenoord-FC Utrecht Sunday 6/12: Feyenoord-Heracles Sunday 13/12: VVV-Feyenoord
PSVPSV does not have an easy program around the second triple header. First the away game against FC Twente, then the home game against Sparta and then duels with Heerenveen (away) and FC Utrecht (home). Quite a jaw-dropping, with three European matches in between.
Sunday 22/11: FC Twente – PSV Sunday 29/11: PSV-Sparta Sunday 6/12: Heerenveen-PSV Sunday 13/12: PSV-FC Utrecht
Super JanuaryThe next centre of gravity for the top clubs will of course be in January, in which all the ‘duels’ between the top four will be played before the European club tournaments are restarted. The KNVB has planned the top games as late as possible in the hope that by that time more fans can be present in the stadium.
Return-toppersThe returns of the toppers are played later in the season. Exact dates will only be announced in December, but it is already clear which top games will be played in which round.
AZ-Feyenoord (playing round 24)PSV-Ajax (playing round 24)PSV-Feyenoord (playing round 26)AZ-PSV (playing round 27)Ajax-AZ (playing round 30)Feyenoord-Ajax (playing round 32)
Closing of the seasonViewing the last four rounds of play, Feyenoord and Ajax obviously have a difficult closing of the season with the Classic in round 32 towards the possible conclusion of the title match. In the last four games, Ajax also find FC Emmen (at home), VVV-Venlo (at home) and in the final round Vitesse (out). Feyenoord will visit ADO Den Haag, Heracles Almelo and continue to play at home against RKC Waalwijk.
AZ, which still has to visit Ajax in round 30, hits RKC Waalwijk (out), Fortuna Sittard (home), FC Groningen (out) and Heracles Almelo (home) in the last four rounds. PSV meets Heerenveen (home), Willem II (out), PEC Zwolle (home) and FC Utrecht (out). A risky duel to make it to the final round of play.