There was plenty of publicity around Feynoord’s seven-game losing streak last season – so it might surprise those outside of Rotterdam to know that Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men finished third in Eredivisie and lifted the KNVB Cup, ending the campaign with a run of 10 wins and two draws from their last 12 games.
Indeed, remove a sudden blip caused by injuries, poor fortune and an uncharacteristic loss of confidence, and there’s a strong argument to suggest they were the best side in the Netherlands last season.
The 5-0 demolition of Twente at De Kuip in November showed the huge depth of quality in de Stadionclub’s ranks, with four different scorers on the sheet, including a double from Simon Gustafson – a top-rate creative talent.
But it was on the road where Feyenoord produced many of their best performances.
The counter-attacking class of wingers like Dirk Kuyt and Eljero Elia – who managed 31 goals combined last season – produced both show-stopping wins like the 5-2 mauling of Heerenveen, and battling triumphs like the 2-1 victory at fifth-placed Utrecht in February.
Perhaps the only area they lacked in up front was a genuine target man – an issue Van Bronckhorst has now rectified with the signing of prolific 6ft 3in hitman Nicolai Jorgensen from FC Copenhagen.
Feyenoord have also become increasingly solid defensively, conceding just four times in their last eight Eredivisie outings – half as many as champions PSV shipped in the same period.
That’s largely because de Stationclub centre-backs Eric Botteghen and Sven van Beek are showing the makings of a confident partnership with a good understanding.
And while the Rotterdam giants have kept onto their main assets this summer, PSV have lost a key man Jeffrey Bruma, who has exited for Wolfsburg, while Ajax have seen their title hopes dented with the dependable Mike van der Hoorn and talented Viktor Fischer both departing for Premier League sides.
With an excellent backline, a raft of talented creative players and – now – two weakened challengers, now is the time to back Feyenoord at 10/1 to win their first Eredivisie title since 1999.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing