The Tilburg poison bucket: from Europa League to demotion football

โ€œ They say poisonous cup. With us it looks like a poisonous bucket that needs to be empty…โ€ Willem II trainer Adrie Koster has been in the profession for over 33 years and has experienced almost everything. He thought.

Four months ago, he wrote history with William II. The 5-0 victory at Progrรจs Niederkorn in Luxembourg was the biggest European victory of the Tilburgers in club history.

This achievement was a logical result of an excellent season, in which Kosters team turned out to be the surprise of the top division. The fact that the placement for the preliminaries of the Europa League was ultimately achieved by a decision in Zeist, was disputed by few outside Utrecht.

Because if you can defeat Ajax (1-3), AZ (0-2) and PSV (2-1) and also do that with fresh and offensive football, then you deserve a price. A prize that was celebrated big, coronare rules or not.

After the decision of the KNVB that Willem II would receive the last European ticket, the fans went through the streets honking. The duel with Rangers in September even ended in a small folk festival.

How different does the world look now, just a few months later. Willem II moves through the top division: self-confidence has given way to doubt, last seasons excruciators are desperately looking for their form.

Top scorer Vangelis Pavlidis does not even unwell on paper with six hits in sixteen duels, but the Greek is nowadays in the shadow of his unstoppable compatriot Georgios Giakoumakis, who makes a furore at VVV.

Kรถhlert reserve

The frivolity with which Mats Kรถhlert presented itself in the top division last year has disappeared and has given way to a place on the couch. Even more harrowing is the decline of Mike Trรฉsor, who is no longer a shadow of the playmaker for whom the top clubs stood in line last year.


fact that Trรฉsor is still playing in Tilburg is due to the fact that the club unilaterally redeemed a previously agreed option to buy with NEC a year ago. Joris Mathijsen and Martin van Geel, respectively technical and general director, rubbed into the hands about this golden deal. It seems like an eternity ago.

Forgot to defend
In the

meantime, Willem II is the number seventeen of the top division at a direct degradation site, but that awareness has yet to grow in Tilburg. The way in which the 3-2 home defeat against FC Groningen came about was typical.

A quarter of an hour before Willem II came with the necessary fortune on 2-1 against the Groningen subtopper, who was very moderate. Before that, two hits of the Tilburgers had already been rejected, because first Kwasi Wriedt and later Chรฉ Nunnely was a toe offside.

So laboriously obtained, so quickly the lead was lost again. A seasoned degradation candidate would probably have cherished the point after that.

However, Willem II started a final offensive enthusiastically and forgot that there should also be people behind the ball. Thus, deep in injury time, the Groningers were thrown into their lap the unanticipated victory.

It would make you despondent. โ€œIf you give away such presents, it will be very difficult to win a competition,โ€ Koster sighs. โ€œEven if you make two goals.โ€

The zeperd against FC Groningen is not on its own. Last weekend Willem II also lost unnecessarily to VVV-Venlo, also in injury time. Koster saw a better William II against Groningen. โ€œWe have shown commitment and had good football moments. But if you make crucial mistakes, which also result in goals, it becomes difficult. That is not allowed at this level.โ€

Crucial weeks

In the coming weeks, Willem II will meet four direct competitors with RKC Waalwijk, PEC Zwolle, FC Emmen and ADO Den Haag. โ€œA month, in which much will become clear,โ€ Koster realizes.

โ€œ There are, of course, a number of people who have never played football under these conditions,โ€ Koster sighs again. โ€œYou stand in a position, which means you have to win your matches. Were not doing that right now. Were in a very difficult situation.โ€

Degradation, of all things now, would be a disaster scenario for the Tilburgers. On 12 August the club, founded in 1896, existed 125 years old.

That anniversary should be celebrated with, among other things, the wearing of a beautiful anniversary logo. But if the club is not careful, that logo will only be visible against Helmond Sport, Telstar and MVV.

Normally Koster, who extended his contract until mid-2022 at the end of November, is there. โ€œTheres always pressure, you put it on yourself. That pressure doesnt get any bigger either, there is. You mustnt go down to it. But of course I worry.โ€