Chance to continue momentum against Fortuna Sittard

What are they in for?

Sittard is a city nestled on the South-eastern border of Netherlands. Their biggest season came in the 1956-7 season where the previously merged club won the KNVB cup and finished the Eredivisie in second place behind Ajax.

The club was formed from two clubs merging: Fortuna 54 and Sittardia. They merged to become Fortuna Sittardia Combinatie on 1 July 1968.

Fortuna were always fighting relegation for many seasons. Manager, Bert van Marwijk left at the end of the 1999-2000 season to join Feyenoord. The club subsequently dropped to First Division in the 2001-02 season. For the first time in 16 years, Fortuna stepped up to win promotion to the Eredivisie after beating Jong PSV 1-0 to stay clear from NEC.

To give today some perspective: Fortuna finished last season on 35 points just outside the relegation zone. They are now currently at the 11th spot on 32 points. They are already 3 points behind where they finished last season with six games left.

They have accomplished no easy feet given their troubles. However they face a very different challenge on Easter Sunday when they come up against a war-torn Ajax.

Physically bruised. Emotionally scarred. But they got the job done to seal a final berth in the KNVB cup after de Klassieker ended 2-1 and play had to stop because Klaassen was injured by a foreign object thrown from the crowd. It was all happening.

Ajax have only lost one of their last five Eredivisie games while Fortuna Sittarda have only won two from their previous five. In their past nine meetings, Ajax have next lost to Sittarda.

The Team

Mohammed Kudus hobbled off the field this week against Feyenoord. He was about to attack the ball before holding his hamstring and pulling out midway. There is still doubt over whether he plays this game but Ajax would probably want their talisman firing for the KNVB final.

Klaassen had his head split open by a foreign object fired from the crowd. Play had to be stopped for 30 minutes. Once the players came back on, Klaassen asked to be subbed off citing a possible concussion but no word has come out that he would not be able to feature for this game.

Looking ahead

Ajax are eight points behind Feyenoord. It would be foolish to say they have any hope of a title challenge but weirder things have happened in football.

All the fans could want is 90 minutes – albeit not all – of good football pinning Sittarda into their own half and creating chances. Ajax have looked good in moments. In patches. And this pretty much sums them up for a whole season.

It can’t hurt to go on a run and use the momentum from a massive cup win to help develop players and finish strong to attract some quality to a fragmented squad in the summer transfer window.

Sittardia, on the other hand, would dream of a win against the club that stopped them winning the title in 1957. It would also be a valuable coat to add to Julio Valazquez’s armour.