Feyenoord vs. Ajax: Date, Time and Preview

Danny CollinsFeatured ColumnistMarch 2, 2014

Ajax's coach Frank de Boer gestures during the Champions League Group H soccer match between Ajax Amsterdam and Celtic Glasgow at ArenA stadium in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013. Ajax won the match with a 1-0 score. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Peter Dejong/Associated Press

Ajax face rivals Feyenoord as they attempt to stamp their authority on the Dutch Eredivisie.

The Amsterdam club currently sit six points clear of FC Twente and nine points ahead of their Rotterdam rivals, who are in fourth place. 

Feyenoord vs. Ajax: Date, Time and Preview
Feyenoord vs. AjaxSunday, March 31:30 GMT/8.30 ET

Graziano Pelle will be key to Feyenoord's chances.
Graziano Pelle will be key to Feyenoord's chances.BAS CZERWINSKI/Associated Press/Associated Press

Match Preview

Ajax are enjoying an excellent run of form, having won 11 of their last 13 Eredivisie matches. They have also scored at least two goals in 19 of their last 21 matches, as per whoscored.com.

By contrast, Feyenoord have joined a campaign of mixed emotions, drawing last week to fellow title challengers FC Twente. That draw was a blemish on an otherwise excellent run of form, which saw them take 10 victories from 11 matches. 

This will be the 176th De Klassieker between the two sides, but it is Frank de Boer's men who have enjoyed the greater success of late, winning last year's title.

De Boer will face his former Dutch teammate Ronald Koeman knowing that if Ajax can defeat the Rotterdam side, they will knock them out of the title race. But that task has been made all the more difficult owing to several key injuries. 

Viktor Fischer picked up a hamstring injury against AZ Alkmaar last weekend, and joins Nicolai Boilesen, Lasse Schone and Thulani Serero on the sidelines. Schone and Serero particularly are big losses for Ajax, having provided eight assists between them this campaign. 

In their absence, the creative burden will fall to former Barcelona starlet Bojan Krkic, who has provided three assists of his own this season. 

Feyenoord's chances are strengthened by the news that top scorer Graziano Pelle will be available after his one-match ban was suspended. Pelle is far and away Feyenoord's most important player, hitting 19 goals this season as well as providing four assists, as per ESPNfc.com. The 28-year-old Italian will be pivotal if Feyenoord are to taste victory in De Klassieker.

Bruno Martins Indi also returns from suspension, and Koeman is likely to name Joris Mathijsen and Stefan de Vrij in the centre of defence. 

Victory here for Feyenoord could breathe new life into the Eredivisie race, and there is no better time to face an Ajax side hit by a raft of key injuries.