PSV Eindhoven will need to be wary of a revitalised Feyenoord as they begin their bid to win a fourth successive Dutch Eredivisie title this weekend.
SC Heerenveen's 0-0 draw against Willem II on Friday marked the start of the new campaign, with last season's race having gone down to the wire when PSV won the title on goal difference from AFC Ajax after AZ Alkmaar blew their chance of claiming the title on the final day of the season. Feyenoord finished seventh, but are sure to improve on that disappointing standing this season. Their first test will be a trip to FC Utrecht on Sunday.
With Bert van Marwijk returning as coach, the Rotterdam side have brought in Tim de Cler, Roy Makaay, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Kevin Hofland and Under-21 star Luigi Bruins - and PSV coach Ronald Koeman told uefa.com he expects them to be tough opponents. "Feyenoord have made the biggest changes this summer with some excellent signings. It remains to be seen how fast they can grow into a team."
PSV, who go to Heracles Almelo on Sunday, have some readjusting to do following the departure of Alex, Michael Reiziger, Phillip Cocu and Patrick Kluivert. Koeman said: "It was impossible to replace those players man for man so we chose to sign several players to give us more options, especially up front." PSV's new arrivals are midfielders Mike Zonneveld and Tommie van der Leegte, attackers Kenneth Perez, Jonathan Reis and Danko Lazović, defender Slobodan Rajković and goalkeeper Cássio Ramos, while Ismaïl Aissati and Otman Bakkal have returned following loan spells.
Ajax have suffered even more dramatic losses in the summer with Ryan Babel, Tom De Mul, Perez, Zdeněk Grygera and most recently Real Madrid CF-bound Wesley Sneijder all leaving Amsterdam. Laurent Delorge, Dennis Rommedahl, Kennedy Bakircioglü, Ismael Urzaiz and Luis Suárez will look to fill the gaps, but Koeman still feels they will be "a force to be reckoned with". The first test will be when they visit De Graafschap on Sunday.
Having missed a golden opportunity to claim the title last season, Louis van Gaal's AZ must try again without De Cler and captain Shota Arveladze. They get going on Saturday, when VVV Venlo visit. Belgian defender Sebastien Pocognoli and Argentinian goalkeeper Sergio Romero have been signed while two new strikers - Brazilian Ari and Italian youngster Graziano Pellè - may be crucial. "They bought two strikers for €12m," said Koeman. "Now they have four quality strikers so they have to go for the title."
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