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Eredivisie | Gameweek 22
Feb 18, 2023 at 8pm UK
De Kuip
AZ Alkmaar

2 - 1

Jahanbakhsh (45+2'), Holmgren Pedersen (90')
Wieffer (28'), Gimenez (38'), Idrissi (45+5')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Dilrosun (17' og.)
Hatzidiakos (23'), Pavlidis (36'), Goes (75')

Preview: Feyenoord vs. AZ Alkmaar - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Eredivisie clash between Feyenoord and AZ Alkmaar, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Feyenoord and AZ Alkmaar are separated by two points in the Eredivisie table going into this weekend's top-of-the-table clash.

Both teams head into round 22 on the back of a few draws in recent weeks, but the title contenders claimed wins in their most recent league outings, respectively beating SC Heerenveen and Excelsior.

Match preview

Santiago Gimenez celebrates scoring for Feyenoord on September 15, 2022© Reuters

A tough run of fixtures that has seen table-topping Feyenoord battle four sides currently in the top seven comes to a head in Saturday's encounter with AZ.

The leading side's challenging run began with a visit to seventh-placed Utrecht in early January, before meetings against Ajax Amsterdam, FC Twente and PSV Eindhoven followed.

Interestingly, all four games ended in draws, a run that preserved the Pride of the South's ongoing unbeaten run since that rip-roaring 4-3 loss at PSV in September.

Arne Slot's team have gone 14 games without losing since that reverse against Ruud van Nistelrooy's troops, and they head into this weekend's face-off with AZ knowing full well that they keep their spot atop the standings if they avoid defeat.

A 10-game unbeaten run at De Kuip means that they are one of two sides in the Eredivisie to remain unbeaten at home this season, but their inclination for stalemates in front of their fans suggests a win is far from guaranteed.

Feyenoord manager Arne Slot pictured on November 3, 2022© Reuters

Be that as it may, with Ajax three points adrift of Slot's men, extending that undefeated home run to 11 games keeps them in first place for another week at least.

While Feyenoord have avoided losses against sides in and around them, AZ may feel they have missed the opportunity to supplant the top-ranked side in recent weeks owing to their inability to capitalise on the former's results.

The Cheese Farmers could only draw 1-1 at relegation-threatened Volendam in round 20, having played out a 5-5 thriller at home to Utrecht the week before.

Those two ties followed a three-game winning run against Heerenveen, Fortuna Sittard and Go Ahead Eagles, but Pascal Jansen's men got back on track with a 5-0 hammering of Excelsior last Friday.

Another win for AZ would see them end the gameweek top of the table, a position they last occupied in October. On the other hand, defeat on the road could mean they slide to fourth if Ajax secure maximum points against Sparta Rotterdam and PSV win at Utrecht.

That said, the Cheese Farmers hold the division's best away record, having secured 25 points from an available 33 on their travels.

Their ongoing four-match unbeaten run outside Alkmaar has produced 10 points, including a 1-0 triumph at Nistelrooy's PSV. No side in the Dutch top division has claimed as many points as the side in second place in their last quartet of away fixtures.

That offers hope to the side looking to supplant Feyenoord, but they have to find a way past a defence that has conceded just five times on their turf in 10 home games, with only Twente — three — conceding fewer.

The reverse fixture between the teams ended 3-1 to the current leaders, and a similar outcome must be avoided if AZ are to avoid the worst-case scenario of finishing the round in fourth.

Feyenoord Eredivisie form:

Feyenoord form (all competitions):

AZ Alkmaar Eredivisie form:

AZ Alkmaar form (all competitions):

Team News

AZ Alkmaar's Jens Odgaard celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on October 6, 2022© Reuters

Feyenoord's first-choice goalkeeper Justin Bijlow is still out with a fractured wrist, and Timon Wellenreuther — who has deputised in the last two league games — ought to continue between the sticks.

The backline is likely to be unchanged from the quartet that started in the win at Heerenveen, with Hartman keeping his place at left-back.

Mats Wieffer and captain Orkun Kokcu are expected to retain their spots in central midfield, but there might be rotation in the positions behind centre-forward Santiago Gimenez, who was the match-winner last time out.

While the injury that saw Igor Paixao withdrawn 21 minutes after his introduction last weekend is not expected to keep the left-winger out of the squad, Sebastien Szymanski is still ruled out with a knee injury.

AZ goalkeeper Mathew Ryan has replaced Hobie Verhulst since joining from FC Copenhagen, so the Australian is likely to get his sixth straight league start at the home of the leaders.

Bruno Martins Indi is a long-term absentee and is still out with the hip injury that has kept him out of action since September.

Sven Mijnans scored twice and assisted another in the 5-0 annihilation of Excelsior, possibly earning him a spot for his 18th Eredivisie start in 2022-23.

If selected from the off, the 22-year-old will reprise his role behind striker Vangelis Pavlidis, who netted his 10th league strike in last week's success.

Feyenoord possible starting lineup:
Wellenreuther; Pedersen, Geertruida, Hancko, Hartman; Wieffer, Kokcu; Dilrosun, Timber, Idrissi; Gimenez

AZ Alkmaar possible starting lineup:
Ryan; Sugawara, Goes, Hatzidiakos, Kerkez; Clasie, Reijnders; Odgaard, Mijnans, Karlsson; Pavlidis

SM words green background

We say: Feyenoord 1-1 AZ Alkmaar

It is hard to separate both clubs, with Feyenoord's stubbornness on home turf facing off with the Eredivisie's best away record.

With the teams often finding the back of the net, a score draw at De Kuip may be in the offing.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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rhs 2.0
Today's games header
Tables header RHS
2Almere CityAlmere City00000000
3AZ AlkmaarAZ00000000
5FC Twente00000000
6FC UtrechtUtrecht00000000
8Fortuna SittardSittard00000000
9Go Ahead Eagles00000000
11NAC BredaNAC Breda00000000
13PEC Zwolle00000000
14PSV EindhovenPSV00000000
15RKC WaalwijkRKC Waalwijk00000000
17Sparta RotterdamSparta00000000
18Willem II00000000

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