Ahead of the Eredivisie’s imminent return, the champions host cup-holders PSV to decide who will start their 2023-24 campaign by winning the Dutch Super Cup.
After claiming just a second league title in the past 24 years, Feyenoord fans had little time to celebrate before some members of Arne Slot’s Eredivisie-winning squad decided their destiny lay elsewhere.
The Rotterdam club lost only twice last term to finish seven points clear of runners-up PSV, but their task in repeating such a feat in the coming campaign became more of a challenge when captain Orkun Kokcu joined Benfica and Brazilian striker Danilo departed for Rangers.
Nonetheless, a team which reached the inaugural Europa Conference League final in 2022, before being knocked out by Roma again in the quarter-finals of last season’s Europa League, have begun to impose themselves more forcefully following a period of Ajax dominance.
Several stars also exited De Kuip last summer, but Slot – who has turned down approaches from other clubs to remain in situ – still forged a side capable of playing progressive football and taking advantage of others’ slip-ups in the title race.
Since returning to action this summer, Feyenoord have beaten PEC Zwolle, Club Brugge and – most recently – Benfica; drawing with Villarreal and Union Saint-Gilloise, but losing 4-2 to Hoffenheim.
During the pre-season period, Slot’s side have integrated new signings Calvin Stengs and Ramiz Zerrouki, as they again aim to fight for silverware at home and abroad.
PSV, meanwhile, began their warm-up programme on a losing note, but having been beaten by Sint-Truidense at the start of July, they went on to post four consecutive wins ahead of this week’s return to competitive action.
Hosting Nottingham Forest in Sunday’s final friendly fixture, the Eindhoven club restricted their Premier League counterparts to just two shots and had most of the ball during a 1-0 win secured by Johan Bakayoko’s second-half goal.
Previous victories over BW Linz, Augsburg and neighbours FC Eindhoven have also helped former Feyenoord technical director Peter Bosz build momentum, as the ex-Ajax boss seeks to improve on a hit-and-miss 2022-23 campaign overseen by Ruud van Nistelrooy.
Though they failed to push Feyenoord all the way in the league, Van Nistelrooy’s side did see off plucky amateurs Spakenburg in the KNVB Beker semi-finals before beating Ajax on penalties in the decider, with on-loan striker Fabio Silva slotting home the winning spot-kick.
Now seeking their 14th Dutch Super Cup success and a third win on the trot, PSV will take part in the curtain-raiser for a new season which continues next week with a crucial Champions League qualifier against Austria’s Sturm Graz.
While Feyenoord will enter Europe’s top club competition at the group stage as reigning champions of the Netherlands, Bosz and company must make it through two knockout rounds to join them.
Feyenoord pre-season form:
PSV Eindhoven form (all competitions):
We say: Feyenoord 2-1 PSV Eindhoven
Having made a wise managerial appointment this summer, PSV should be a more cohesive unit in the coming months – but Dutch champions Feyenoord are far from finished yet.
Despite losing their captain and playmaker, Arne Slot’s side still have plenty of weapons to threaten their rivals’ defence, and with home advantage on their side they are set to lift the new season’s first silverware.