Learn more about Dutch giants Feyenoord and their iconic De Kuip home, as Southampton’s pre-season plans continue to take shape…
A 15-time winner of the Eredivise, Feyenoord are an undisputed giant of Dutch football having been home to a host of heroes and future stars throughout their decorated history.
Their home, De Kuip (literally, the “The Tub” in English) is one of the nation’s most iconic stadiums and has hosted two major European finals since the turn of the millennium.
The 51,177-capacity arena was the site of David Trezeguet’s iconic golden-goal winner against Italy in extra-time of the EURO 2000 final before hosting Feyenoord’s own UEFA Cup success in 2002 following a 3-2 win over Borussia Dortmund.
This summer’s friendly will be Saints’ second visit to the city of Rotterdam in recent years, goals from Graziano Pellè, Maya Yoshida and Juanmi set up a 3-0 victory for Saints in July 2015.
The fixture marked emotional returns for Pellè, Jordy Clasie – who has spent the last season on loan with the Feyenoord – and Ronald Koeman.
HOW DID THEY DO LAST SEASON?
A third-place finish earned Feyenoord a place in the third round of Europa League qualifying for next season in a campaign in which a thrilling title race between Ajax and PSV went down to the penultimate game of the season.
The fact that they finished 18 points adrift of runners-up PSV shows the current gap separating the top two and the rest of the league despite the Rotterdam-club lifting the title themselves as recently as the 2016-17 season.
Club icon Robin van Persie ended his professional career after returning to his boyhood club last summer via Arsenal, Manchester United and Fenerbahce to become leading goal scorer, netting 21 times in 37 appearances.
WHO IS THEIR MANAGER?
A new era begins for Feyenoord this coming season following the departure of Giovanni van Bronckhorst.
The former Rangers, Arsenal and Barcelona star spent eight years in the De Kuip dugout, beginning as Ronald Koeman’s assistant in July 2011 before taking on the top job in March 2015.
Three major trophies followed including a first league title in 18 years in van Bronckhorst’s second full season as manager. His successor, Jaap Stam, will need no introduction.
The former Man United defender takes charge on the back of a brief spell with PEC Zwolle and a heart-breaking play-off final defeat to Huddersfield Town with Reading in 2017.
The Dutchman was dismissed by the Berkshire club after a run of one win in 18 games through the winter of the following campaign.
Continuing the work of van Bronckhorst and returning Feyenoord to the Champions League are obvious, but by no means easy places to start.
WHO ARE THE PLAYERS TO LOOK OUT FOR?
Replacing the goals and influence of van Persie will be difficult but Stam can turn to clutch of attacking talents to step up and fill the void left by the Netherlands’ record goal scorer.
Former Watford striker Steven Berghuis followed on 13 goals in all competitions last term, ably supported by Scandinavian forwards Nicolai Jørgensen (seven) and Sam Larsson and (six).
Feyenoord’s summer however may well hinge on the fate of the 24-year-old Tonny Vilhena; long tipped for a move away from De Kuip, the Dutch international has been a box-to-box regular in midfield since the age of 17. The likes of Tottenham and Roma have been reportedly linked since the turn of the year.
Vilhena holds an Eredivisie record, becoming the youngest player to score at least two goals in a single game against Willem II in February 2013 at the age of 18 years and 31 days.
DID YOU KNOW?
Since 1965, Ajax, PSV and Feyenoord have won all but three Eredivisie titles (the 1981 and 2009 trophies went to AZ Alkmaar and FC Twente respectively).
The so-called Big Three of Dutch football are the only three clubs in their current forms to have appeared in every edition of the Eredivise since its formation.