ADO Den Haag vs. NEC Nijmegen
Saturday, March 5th 2011, 19.45 CET
Closer to home, in the Dutch Eredivisie, ADO Den Haag is facing NEC Nijmegen this evening. Although many Dutch punters focused on the easier-to-predict games today, like Excelsior Rotterdam vs. PSV Eindhoven or FC Twente vs. NAC Breda, I’m really interested in how tonight’s game between ADO and NEC ends up. It’s true, the teams are 10 points and 5 places away in the Eredivisie, but ADO didn’t win their last 2 matches, and NEC didn’t lose their last 6. And with important changes in the teams’ line-up tonight, it will no doubt be an interesting match to see in a pub. And although the last half is overlapping the Italian derby between Juventus and AC Milan, I’m sticking to the Eredivisie tonight 🙂
ADO Den Haag, now this is a side with a lot to talk about. If we consider it statistics-wise, during their last 6 matches, they won 4, tied one and lost one. And they’re currently on the 6th place in Eredivise, in front of FC Utrecht and (the disappointment) Feyenoord. I think it’s fair to say that ADO Den Haag has been one of the most constant teams in Eredivisie this year. They’re now in the play for the playoffs for the Europa league. There aren’t big chances that they make it to the 3rd place and secure a place in the Europa League, and teams like FC Utrecht and Heerenven are desperately trying to get in the playoffs.
They are constant indeed, and rather solid, but tonight they’re missing two key players:
- Frantisek Kubik, ADO’s Slovakian striker, who is out with an injury.
- Christian Kum, the German-born Dutch central/left defender, who is suspended.
These losses are tragic for ADO Den Haag, I believe. Take Christian Kum: this season he’s been a real pillar in his team’s defense. And now, when NEC Nijmegen are bringing in the Belgian start striker Björn Vleminckx, the royal city’s defense has a lot to worry about.
And what about Frantisek Kubik? What would Dmitri Bulykin do without his perfect team-mate in the attack? With a crippled defense (which had real problems during their last game against Breda), ADO Den Haag will try to compensate with their attack. But that’s (maybe less) crippled too. And with competition heating for the playoff spots, they have to come up with something that will keep them there.
NEC Nijmegen. They are specialized in drawing, for some reason. They drew 5 of their last 6 games, and they didn’t score in only one game. That’s ok, the team is not one of the kn0wn-forces in the Eredivisie, and they sit on a comfortable 11th place. So they’re safe from relegation, but they’re still far from those playoff places: at 8 points away from the closest playoff spot, they still have to get ahead of Utrecht, NAC Breda and challenge Roda just to get there. This may seem a bit too much right now, when the Eredivisie is slowly coming to an end, but it’s not impossible, and Nijmegen knows that.
I had always thought NEC Nijmegen have difficulties facing opponents with a “fighting” mentality. But they tied against FC Utrecht 1-1 in Nijmegen, and it is a well known fact (maybe only in the Netherlands) that Utrecht, like ADO Den Haag, are real fighters (mainly because they always fight for the playoff seats, where the competition is very intense). They had lost 0-4 in Utrecht previously, so that’s an improvement.
Their line-up is better than before: they recovered a lot of players injured previously, and they will use the services of the Belgian-born striker Björn Vleminckx, their main weapon against ADO Den Haag’s crippled defense. Plus, NEC can also rely on the Danish midfielder Zimling and on Sibum to keep things in order at the middle of the field.
With ADO Den Haag’s crippled defense and NEC Nijmegen’s good attack, NEC must score at least once. They’re not the favourites though, according to bookmaker Bwin (where ADO is set at 1.80 and NEC at 3.75). Maybe I’m being a bit too optimistic, but I’m going for an Over 3.5 goals at 2.55 on Bwin for 3 units. I couldn’t predict the winner here, but NEC has a good chance of getting out of their draw depression.
Prediction: Over 3.5 goals for 3 units