13 August 2014 19:47
Ajax will be aiming to make amends for a poor away start to last season when they travel to AZ in the Eredivisie on Sunday.
The game is a repeat of the Amsterdam club’s opening away fixture of last season, which they lost 3-2 before going on to win a fourth Dutch title in a row.
Ajax have beaten AZ on two subsequent occasions – once in the league and once in the 2013-14 KNVB Beker semi-finals – and will be looking to build a good run of form at the start of the new campaign.
Frank de Boer’s men got their title defence off to a convincing start last weekend with a 4-1 win over Vitesse, which come courtesy of goals from new signing Nick Viergever, Mike van der Hoorn and a Lasse Schone brace.
Marco van Basten’s AZ also made a good start to their Eredivise campaign as they won 3-0 at Heracles.
Utrecht coach Robby Alflen continues to plan for life without Edouard Duplan (knee) and Michael Zullo (knee) – both long-term absentees – but could hand forward Ruud Boymans a debut against his former club Willem II if he recovers from a dislocated shoulder in time.
Willem II were soundly beaten 3-1 by PSV on the opening weekend of the season and they will be looking to end an 11-game run against Utrecht without a win – a record that stretches back to 2006.
Friday’s only game in Eredivisie sees Feyenoord host Heerenveen in Rotterdam.
Feyenoord managed to recover from the disappointment of their UEFA Champions League qualifying defeat to Besiktas as they beat Den Haag 1-0 on Sunday.
They won both matches against Heerenveen last season, a team who enjoyed a strong run-in to finish fifth.
However, Heerenveen will want to make amends for their shock 2-1 home defeat to Eredivise new-boys Dordrecht last weekend.
Dordecht face PEC Zwolle on Saturday, while PSV play host to NAC Breda. Twente play Den Haag, and Vitesse will look to get off the mark against Cambuur.
On Sunday, Go Ahead Eagles travel to Excelsior, and Groningen take on Heracles.