Feyenoord will look to salvage something from another disappointing Eredivisie season as they meet Roda JC in Sunday's Dutch Cup final at their own De Kuip Stadium.
The Rotterdam club, who celebrate their 100th anniversary on 19 July, could only finish sixth in the league despite bringing in the likes of Roy Makaay, Kevin Hofland, Tim de Cler, Luigi Bruins, Nuri Sahin and Giovanni van Bronckhorst at the start of the season. Thus they missed out on the UEFA Champions League play-offs for the second successive season.
Coach Bert van Marwijk will take over as Netherlands coach after UEFA EURO 2008™ but would love to leave Feyenoord with something to remember him by – their eleventh Dutch Cup. "It would be superb to win it in the year the club celebrates its centenary, although that also brings some extra pressure," he said. "In The Netherlands there are only two real prizes – the championship and the cup. PSV won the title and we can win the other prize on Sunday."
'Save our season'
Captain Van Bronckhorst, who returned to his first club last summer after spells at Rangers FC, Arsenal FC and FC Barcelona, has his own reasons to yearn for victory. "I've won trophies at every club I have played at, but not with Feyenoord," the Dutch international said. "It is the only way to save our season. The fans are hoping and expecting us to win. They have had to wait since 2002 [when Feyenoord won the UEFA Cup under Van Marwijk] for a trophy."
Roda finished ninth in the league this season, and are in the same play-off situation as Feyenoord, battling for a UEFA Cup spot at best. But like Van Marwijk's men they will look to take the direct route into Europe via the Dutch Cup, which they won in 1996/97 and 1999/00. The odds are against the Kerkrade side in the final, but coach Raymond Atteveld is not afraid.
'On the map'
"Feyenoord are big favourites," he said. "Just look at their league position, budget, history and home advantage. That does not mean we don't stand a chance. Records are there to be broken and a final is not just any game. This is our chance to put the club and Kerkrade on the map again. We will give it 100 per cent, and 13,650 fans from Kerkrade must give us an extra boost."
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