Jupiler league

Jupiler League – Season Guide 2012/2013

Also known as Eerste Divisie – look at league format

AGOVV Apeldoorn

In:
Bakx (att) (FC Den Bosch), John (att) (Osnabruck), Godee (mid) (Sparta Rotterdam), Fischer (def) (Emmen), Cruz Vicente (def) (Veendam), Brouwer (gk) (FC Twente, loan), Hengelman (gk) (Heracles Almelo), Oosterhof (gk) (Heerenveen), Langeveld (mid) (FC Twente), Brouwers (att) (FC Utrecht), Kaak (mid) (De Graafschap), Tissingh (def) (Zwolle), Schulmeister (att) (Almere City)

Out:
Van Erwijk (mid) (Graafschap), Krohne (att) (HHC Hardenberg), Kerr (mid) (Wiedenbruck), Krul (gk) (Valletta), Wille (mid) (SC Genemuiden), Siers (def) (Helmond Sport), Schwiebbe (mid) (Volendam), Cairo (att) (DETO Twenterand)

After a disastrous previous campaign, which AGOVV concluded at the 17th position in the table, the team of coach Andries Ulderink can only do better. Last year’s coach, Hans van Arum, left in anger after supporters and eventually the players turned their back at him. AGOVV conceded a terrifying 94 goals last season and has signed three new goalkeepers and a few defenders to strengthen their defense. Brouwer, Oosterhof and Hengelman are all three young goalkeepers, who joined from the reserves of various Eredivisie teams. It remains to be seen who is getting the privilege to start in AGOVV’s first match of the season, away at Fortuna Sittard. Perhaps the most significant reinformcents of last year’s unbalanced squad include Joey Godee and Sander Fischer, who came from Sparta Rotterdam and FC Emmen respectively. Godee is a striker, who scored 10 goals for Sparta in the 2010/2011 campaign. Fischer was Emmen’s best player last season, playing 32 games in which he scored three goals. Cruz Vicente and Tissingh are other important additions to the squad of AGOVV, where mediocre players such as Wille, Krohne, Van Erwijk and Cairo all had to leave. AGOVV’s friendly campaign in the lead-up to this season was not free from problems. Results in friendly matches were not so encouraging and the team management struggled to find competitive opponents. Nevertheless, AGOVV is expected to do better than last year and perhaps play for a spot in the top-half of the table

Target:
Winning a period title, conceding fewer goals, finishing in the top-12 of the table

Almere City FC

In:
Guerain (def) (PSV), Gentenaar (gk) (VVV Venlo), Dissels (att) (Cambuur Leeuwarden), Lilipaly (mid) (FC Utrecht), Van Zaanen (att) (Willem II), Beekmans (mid) (Goldcoast United, AUS), Toivomaki (def) (Ajax), Keller (def) (Neuchatal Xamax)

Out:
Misidjan (def) (Go Ahead Eagles), Ozturk (att) (Spakenburg), Rosheuvel (att) (AZ), Burgzorg (mid) (Ludogoreta, BUL), Malone (def) (ADO Den Haag), Schulmeister (att) (AGOVV)

At the annual press day, the Almere team management set the bar quite high for the upcoming campaign. Almere hope to finish in the top-8 of the table, even though last year’s three best players all left the team. Without Rosheuvel, Burgzorg – who left for a Bulgarian team – and Malone, Almere coach De Boer needed to build his team from scratch. Sander keller is the most important defensive addition to the team. The 32 year-old defender played in Switzerland for the past few seasons, but has a solid track record in the Dutch Eredivisie, where he played for FC Utrecht for nine seasons. Offensively, Almere appear to be a bit stronger than last year, with Charles Dissels and Rowin van Zaanen being new names. The 36 year-old goalkeeper Dennis Gentenaar will compete with Erwin Friebel for a starting place under the bar. Gentenaar played more than 200 matches in the Dutch Eredivisie. Last season, Almere finished at a disappointing 16th position in the table after finishing the first half of the season in 8th place. This year, more constancy is demanded from the team management, which expressed its confidence in coach Dick de Boer, now entering his third season at the club. A top-8 ranking may prove overly ambitious, but Almere won’t have to fear for relegation. Friendly matches during the summer gave a mixed impression. Almere defeated Eredivisie team FC Zwolle (0-1), but lost to fourth-tier team Harkemase Boys in their last friendly match, just a week before the start of the season.

Target:
Finishing in the first half of the table, qualification for promotion play-offs

Cambuur Leeuwarden

In:
Dennis Telgenkamp (gk), Heracles – loan), Tim Bakens (def), St Gallen), Leonard Nienhuis (gk), Groningen – loan), Oebele Schokker (mid), Harkemase Boys), Michiel Hemmen (att), Westerlo), Yuri Rose (mid), De Gaafschap), Johnny de Vries (mid), Heerenven Jong), Leon Broekhof (def), Roda), Mark Diemers (mid), FC Utrecht – loan)

Out:
Sandor van der Heide (mid), Sneek), Robert van Boxel (def), Sparta Rotterdam), Leon Hese (def, Spakenburg), Oguzhan Turk (VVV Venlo), Robbert te Loeke (gk), Veendam), Mark de Vries (att), Sneek), Kevin van der Meulen (gk), Charlie Dissels (att), Almere City), Jasar Takak (mid), Dennis van der Wal (def), Bob Scheppers (att), Utrecht – end of loan), Marco Bizot (gk), Ajax Jong – end of loan)

Cambuur prepare for the new campaign hoping that their continuing attempts to clinch promotion to Eredivisie bear fruit this time around. The Blue and Yellow Army have not had much luck in the play-offs over the last couple of seasons and will hope that this changes in the upcoming season. They were cruelly beaten 4:3 by VVV Venlo with a goal in added time at the end of last season and thus were denied a place in the play-off final clash against Helmond Sport. Alfons Arts’ men performed really well in the two games against VVV and there is little reason for them not to challenge for top places in the upcoming campaign. They have been one of the most consistent teams in the division over the last three or four years and will feel that the upcoming campaign represents a good chance to have a tilt at promotion given that the quality of the teams coming from the upper echelon is lower than the ones that clinched promotion last season. Arts lost plenty of experience in his squad during the summer as Sandor van der Heide and Mark de Vries stopped their professional careers and dropped to amateur football. Moreover, Bob Scheppers, Leon Hese and Marco Bizot are no longer with the team. However, the biggest lost may be Robert van Boxel who was excellent last season whether in midfield or defence but opted to join prospective title rivals Sparta Rotterdam. The man expected to bring the goals in the new season is Michel Hemmen who had an awful last 12 months but fired 20 goals for AGOVV in 2010/11. Leon Broekhof comes with a decent pedigree from Roda Kerkdrade and will be expected to shore the defence while Yuri Rose has good experience and will be expected to add composure in midfield where Erik Bakker stood out last season and is still with the club with a week of the season left. The rest of the signings are youngsters from top-flight clubs and some local talent with Arts hoping some of them make the step up. Overall, the quality is there for a serious push for promotion but Cambuur will need to sort their away form and be more consistent than last season.

Target:
Play-off spots are well within grasp but automatic promotion is very unlikely

De Graafschap

In:
Lazic (att) (Turnhout), Van Erwijk (mid) (AGOVV), Vincken (att) (Excelsior), Tarfi (mid) (Anderlecht – loan), Van der Meulen (def) (Bayern München, reserves), Hulst (att) (Dordrecht), Van Kouwen (def) (Eindhoven),

Out:
Sreckovic (mid) (Frederikstad), Gyasi (mid) (FC Twente), Kaak (mid) (AGOVV), De Leeuw (att) (FC Groningen), Wormgoor (def) (ADO Den Haag), De Winter (gk) (AZ), Poepon (att) (ADO Den Haag), Rose (mid) (Cambuur), Saeijs (def) (HBS)

After a completely unexpected knock-down in the first round of the relegation play-offs last season, De Graafschap are now up for the tough task of rebuilding their squad, just two years after they finished first in the Jupiler League and thereby claimed promotion. During the summer break, the entire offensive line left the club, but productivity hadn’t been their greatest strength anyway last season, and with new players such as Lazic, Vincken and Hulst, it’s unlikely that De Graafschap have lost much in terms of quality. The team kept relatively quiet on the transfer market and will start the season with a young and largely unexperienced squad. Pieter Huistra is the new coach of De Graafschap, having left his previous club – FC Groningen – after a terrible season. For Huistra as well as for De Graafschap, the upcoming season is about taking revenge for the misfortune and mistakes of last season. Only three players in the small squad of De Graafschap are over 30 years old, and experience may well prove decisive in the race for the title. Still, De Graafschap are likely to finish in the top-5, even though their last friendly match – against the modest Bundesliga side of Fortuna Dusseldorf – resulted in a humbling 4-0 defeat.

Target:
Promotion

Excelsior

In:
Richard Stolte (mid), Heerenveen), Kevin van Diermen (def), Vitesse), Daan Smith (def), Feyenoord Jong), Rangelo Janga (att), Willem II), Daan Blij (att), Feyenoord Jong), Mats van Huijgevoort (def), Feyenoord Jong – loan), Rick Kruys (mid), Volendam)

Out:
Joost Broerse (mid), Zwolle), Jason Oost (mid), Norichio Nieveld (def), Zwolle), Tim Vincken (mid), De Graafschap), Luigi Bruins (mid), Nayib Lagouireh (att), FC Eindhoven), Samuel Scheimann (mid), Maccabi Haifa), Martijn de Vries (def), Sparta Rotterdam), Andrea Fileccia (att), Leen van Steensel (def), Capelle), Mitchell te Vrede (att), Feyenoord), Edwin de Graaf (def), Kevin Jansen (mid), Feyenoord – end of loan)

Excelsior Rotterdam are back in Jupiler League after two seasons fighting out against the big boys in Eredivisie and will be looking to launch an immediate return. The Kralingen outfit suffered agonising relegation last season when they suffered a few costly defeats courtesy of late goals towards the end of the season and were made to pay dearly for that. They are starting anew now though and have a new manager in Leon Vlemmings. He was a coach with AEK Larnaca last season and ha good pedigree in this division. He has had a difficult task assembling a squad capable of challenging for the top places on shoestring budget and currently it is a leap of imagination to see the team really getting a promotion. Summer signings have been a mix of Feyenoord youngsters and reserve players in other Eredivisie clubs. And with the likes of Edwin de Graaf, Jason Oost and Joest Broerse leaving in the summer, a lot of quality has gone from the squad. Excelsior will hope for a good start of the campaign and given the lack of clear favourite for the title, they will fancy their chances but in general it will be a difficult season for them and they should focus on consolidation and stability.

Target:
Challenging for promotion but a title charge will be difficult and likely out of their reach

FC Den Bosch

In:
Justin Tapahary (def, FC Eindhoven), Emre Bilgin (mid, Telstar), Wouter de Wogel (mid), ADO Den Haag, loan), Jelle de Bock (def, FC Eindhoven), Enzio Boldewijn (att, FC Utrecht – loan), Rinke Pennings (mid), FC Eindhoven), Anthony ter Hurk (att), Jong PSV), Moreno Rutten (def), Jong Feyenoord), Randy Wolters (mid), FC Emmen)

Out:
Paco van Moorsel (mid), Groningen), Jeffrey Fortes (def), Gevaro Nepomuceno (att), Fortuna Sittard), Danny Verbeek (att), Standard), Nick Netten (mid), Genemulden), Kees van Buuren (def), Willem II), Jordens Peters (def), Willem II), Stijn de Looijer (mid), Den Bosch), Ronnie Reniers (att), Zwolle), Osama Rashid (mid), Werder Bremen U21)

FC Den Bosch will be launching another attempt to reach promotion in the coming season having come ever so close to their ultimate goal a few months ago. A tense and nerves-filled two games against local rivals Willem II ended with a 2:1 aggregate win for the team from Tilburg and the Blue and White Dragons were left to contemplate their narrow loss. They did really well over the season to get so far and will believe that they stand a good chance of making the big step this season. They played some of the most enterprising and sophisticated football in the league over the season and now the task of new manager Jan Poortvliet will be to further the work of Alfons Groenendijk. The former must be relishing the chance to work with a superior squad than the one he has at Telstar in the last two seasons and will believe that a challenge for promotion is feasible. Important players like Paco van Moorsel and Danny Verbeek have left for bigger clubs but top scorer Tom van Weert is still around and the likes of Wouter de Wogel, Randy Wolters and Jelle de Bock are very good additions to a versatile and deep squad. Thus, Den Bosch have the personnel to at least put themselves in contention for the top places. It is just a matter of whether they will gel quickly enough and get a decent start that will help their confidence.

Target:
Top six and a play-off final

FC Dordrecht

In:
Warner Hahn (gk), Ajax Jong), Garry Mendes Rodrigues (mid), ADO Den Haag – loan), Adnan Alisic (mid), Debrecen), Lars Veldwijk (att), FC Utrecht – loan), Niels Konijnenburg (gk), Heerjansdam), Ricardo Samoender (def), ADO Den Haag Jong), Rogiel Molhoek (mid), VVV Venlo), Davi Lizardo (mid), Ajax Jong)

Out:
Nick Coster (def), FC Volendam), Cecilio Lopes (att), Renaldo Jongebloet (att), Jermaine van Pijkeren (att), Salif Diao (mid), Nick van der Ploeg (gk), Stef Doedee (gk), Santy Hulst (mid), De Graafschap), Giorgio Achterberg (att), end of loan – ADO den Haag), Wouter de Wogel (mid), end of loan – ADO den Haag), Shabir Isoufi (mid), end of loan – Telstar), Tom Beugelsdijk (def), end of loan – ADO den Haag), Donny van der Dussen (mid), end of loan – ADO den Haag), Kevin Tano (att), end of loan – ADO den Haag)

FC Dordrecht are preparing for the new season amid the backdrop of the news that their manager Theo Bos has permanently stepped down from his position due to continuing battle with pancreatic cancer. The tactician has been on a medical leave since January and his assistant Virgil Breetveld has taken charge since. Bos initially returned for the start of pre-season but soon the news came that he is no longer able to continue. The news came as a shock to both fans and players but with time running out ahead of the new season, the club from the historic town close to Rotterdam need to really step up their preparation for the upcoming season. They appointed former club icon Hans van der Ham as a caretaker manager just two weeks before the start of the season and he will look to hit the ground running ahead of the new season. Dordrecht were denied a place in the play-off on the last day of the regular season last year but it looks hard to see them challenging for a play-off place again this year. Talismanic striker Cecilio Lopes parted ways with the club in the summer having scored 38 goals in 88 appearances over three different spells and his place will be hard to fill. Roger Molhoek is the most impressive of the summer additions and will bring solidity and poise in midfield. Overall, the squad will be mostly filled with youngsters and the manager will be looking to nurture the sort of spirit and togetherness that got the team some good results the latter stages of last season.

Target:
Avoiding being dragged into the relegation scrap and possibly reaching the play-offs

FC Eindhoven

In:
Meeus (mid) (Turnhout), Van Leer (gk) (PSV), Ospitalieri (mid) (PSV), Lagouireh (att) (Excelsior), Verkoelen (def) (PSV), Durwael (def) (Genk)

Out:
Rossen (mid) (Sint Truiden), Pennings (mid) (Den Bosch), Swinkels (gk) (PSV), Vansimpsen (att) (Dessel Sport), Van Son (def) (Sparta Rotterdam), Tahapary (def) (Den Bosch), Van Kouwen (def) (De Graafschap), De Bock (mid) (Den Bosch)

In spite of excellent results in friendly matches – including draws against PSV and Heereveen and a narrow 2-1 loss against RKC Waalwijk -, FC Eindhoven are not yet ready for the start of the season. After last year’s campaign, the best in more than two decades, a true exodus of key players took place during the summer break. Eindhoven’s entire defense, so successful last year, left in its entirety and it is still uncertain who are going to replace Tahapary, Van Kouwen, Rossen, van Son and De Bock, five of Eindhoven’s regularly starting players. In addition to the defensive weakening, Eindhoven also lost their most talented player, the 19-year-old rising star Rinke Pennings, who left for Den Bosch. So far, only a small number of relatively unknown youngsters from reserve squads in Dutch and Belgian first-tier teams have arrived, of whom defender Durwael is perhaps the most promising name. Durwael played three seasons for Racing Genk, in which he was fielded a meagre 9 times in total. As Eindhoven enters a new season in the Jupiler League, several test players will be participating in training sessions until the end of the transfer window. Apart from a much needed defensive reinformcent – goalkeeper Swinkels also left – some experienced players would be more than welcome. Currently, the 26 year-old midfielder Van Geele is the oldest player in the entire squad. After the departure of success coach Ernest Faber, John Lammers arrived in Eindhoven. Lammers does however not have a particularly impressive track record. Last season, he relegated with Excelsior.

Target:
A top-9 ranking would be satisfactory, qualification for the promotion play-offs

FC Emmen

In:
Al Mubakari (att) (Heracles), Mamedov (att) (Zwolle), De Wit (mid) (Go Ahead Eagles), Van der Vlag (gk) (Go Ahead Eagles), Bakkati (def) (Zwolle), Van der Linden (def) (Heracles), Marvin Wijks (att), Bannink (mid) (FC Twente), Mazzetti (def), Rustenberg (def) (AGOVV), Weghorst (att)

Out:
Huntink (att) (Scheveningen), Fischer (def) (AGOVV), Koenders (mid) (FC Zwolle), Bemba (mid) (Ethnikos), De Vries (att) (Cambuur), Jongebloet (att) (Lisse), Wolters (att) (Den Bosch)

“Never again”, was the motto with which the Emmen team management went into the summer break after a traumatizing season in which the team finished last in the Jupiler League. Especially the second half of the season made even the staunchest supporter turn away in despair, with Emmen scoring only 1 goal in 10 matches and recording their worst ever season in the Jupiler League. This season, it can only get better and a look at the revamped Emmen squad warrants at least a bit of optimism. Fischer is perhaps the most important player who left this summer, but most of Emmen’s other players left such a dismal impression last season that there were few other teams interested to sign someone. At the same time, the Emmen team management went onto the transfer market with empty pockets but with the promise of a new start. Experienced defenders such as Antoine van der Linden and Said Bakkati were lured to Emmen, in addition to several young players such as striker Weghorst and defender Rustenberg. Defensively, Emmen seems to be quite well prepared for this season. Offensively, doubts remain. Emmen’s complete offensive paralysis of last season – the team scored only 24 goals – has not yet been forgotten and it remains unsure which player is going to be responsible for goals this season. Weghorst is a new striker in the squad, but perhaps more importantly, Ruud ter Heide returned after a 6-month period in Zwolle. Ter Heide scored 106 goals in 250 matches in Dutch professional football and was Emmen’s topscorer in the previous two seasons. The friendly campaign prior to the new season was not without problems for Emmen. The new coach, Joop Gall, admitted that the large number of new players still have to get used to eachother. Devestating defeats against Ajax and Twente (0-5) were not offset by much better results against FC Groningen (1-0 defeat), third tier team WKE (1-1) and Cambuur Leeuwarden (2-1 deafeat).

Target:
winning back spectators and sponsors by finishing in the top-12 of the table

FC Oss

In:
Joep van den Ouweland (mid), Go Ahead Eagles), Wesley Deenen (att), NEC Nijmegen – loan), Ruud van der Dungen (mid), De Valk), Cayfano Latupeirissa (att), NEC – loan), Mitch Stockentree (def), Jong Twente – loan), Ferhat Görgülü (def), Veendam), Luuk Koopmans (gk), NEC)

Out:
Christopher Bieber (att), Würzburger Kickers), Milad Intezar (mid), Zdenko Kaprálik (def), Banik Ostrava), Kevin Huijsman (def), IJsselmeervogel), Sebastian Sumelka (def), SC Wiedenbrück), Charlie van den Ouweland (mid), Cees Keizer (mid), Vincent van Trier (gk), Tim Nelemans (att), Mark Redshaw (att), Ryan van Dijk (def), Marc Roebbers (def), Joost Ebergen (def), Jean Black (mid), Antonio Stankov (mid), Roda – end of loan), Aleksandar Stankov (att), Dammyano Grootfaam (def), NEC – end of loan)

FC Oss start the campaign with little reason for optimism or high hopes. The small club from Brabant did better than expected in the previous campaign and the then newcomers at one point even challenged for a play-off spot. They tailed off quite badly in the last couple of months though and there was an air of despondency over the club. Moreover, one of the most loyal servants the club have had in manager Dirk Heesen left his position. Anton Janssen was handed the reins having been in charge of amateur club VV Gemert and being assistant at neighbouring club NEC Nijmegen last season. The new challenge is a serious one for Janssen, a European Cup winner with PSV in 1988, and most of the squad from last season has been let go. Reinforcements have been scarce and will fill the fans with little belief ahead of the season. Important players like Zdenko Kapralik and Christopher Bieber have left while the only two players among the new signings with any sort of experience in professional football are Joep van den Ouweland and Ferhat Gorgulu who have hardly set the world alight with Go Ahead Eagles and Veendam. There could a few new faces coming before the start of the campaign but as of now Oss may well be battling against the drop given that the two clubs that were worst last season, AGOVV and Emmen, have improved over the summer and are expected to do better.

Target:
Beating the drop but it will be a challenge with the current squad

FC Volendam

In:
Pistoor (gk) (Helmond Sport), Schouten (def) (AZ), Coster (mid) (Dordrecht), Fafiani (att) (Telstar), Schwiebbe (mid) (AGOVV),

Out:
De Loor (mid) (FC Lisse), Hoogvliets (def) (Telstar), Ruiter (gk) (Utrecht), Kees Tol (att) (Noordwijk)

After a very quiet summer break, Volendam kicks off for a new season with a home game against Cambuur Leeuwarden with a largely unaltered squad. The most significant loss of the summer period was the departure of goalkeeper Ruiter to FC Utrecht. Roy Pistoor, the reserve goalkeeper of Helmond Sport, will now battle with Sonny Stevens for a spot under the bar. Overall, one couldn’t say that Volendam have gained much quality during the summer break. The most significant signings include midfielders Coster and Schwiebbe, who both played for low-profile Jupiler League teams last year. Hans de Koning is the new coach of Volendam, who experienced a highly disappointing second half of last season, resulting in the sacking of coach Gert Kruys. De Koning performed excellently last season with Helmond Sport and hopes to bring Volendam back to the first half of the table. Volendam played a large number of friendly matches against reasonably strong opponents, but did not win any of those games. VVV Venlo (1-0), ADO Den Haag (2-1), Helmond Sport (3-1) and FC Groningen (4-0) were all too strong for a team that has modest financial means and probably has to adjust its expectations for this season accordingly.

Target:
Finishing in the first half of the table

Fortuna Sittard

In:
Nepomuceno (att) (Den Bosch), Briels (mid) (Genk), Cevik (att) (Luik), Hendrickx (att) (Luik), Khalouta (att) (VVV Venlo), Rajcomar (att) (MVV),

Out:
Stolte (mid) (Excelsior), Geenen (def) (Hansa Rostock), Danny Schreurs (att), Rowin van Zaanen (att)

Fortuna Sittard kept very quiet during the summer break and their new coach, Wil Boessen, is feeling the pressure of supporters who are getting nervous. Last season, Fortuna had an excellent second half of the campaign and only nearly missed the play-offs for promotion. However, the two driving forces behind the remarkable success of Fortuna after the winter break, Danny Schreurs and Rowin van Zaanen have ended their period on loan in Sittard and are no longer part of the club. As a result, Fortuna have lost much offensive power, as became painfully clear in a series of friendly matches that were played prior to the start of the season. Fortuna failed to score in all of four friendly games against professional football teams, including three Belgian sides. Fortuna are ever more orienting themselves on Belgium, with three new faces in the squad coming from Luik and Genk respectively. Fortuna now have six Belgian players in their squad, among whom Ferhat Kaya who hopes to become the team’s new first goalkeeper this season. In the first few weeks of the campaign, several test players will try to prove their value to coach Boesen, but a difficult first half of the season seems almost unavoidable.

Target:
Staying clear of the relegation zone

Go Ahead Eagles

In:
Jop van der Linden (def), Helmond), Rico Wolven (def), Veendam), Michel Mulkes (def), Excelsior ’31), Kevin Spanjaard (mid), Glanerbrug), Deniz Türüc (mid), De Graafschap Jong), Nick Marsman (gk), Twente – loan), Cas Peters (def), Twente Jong – loan), Teije ten Den (att), Rohda Raalte), Guyon Philips (att), Vitesse Jong), Joran Pot (att), Zwolle), Sjoerd Overgoor (mid), De Graafschap), Cendrino Misidjan (def), Almere City)

Out:
Karim Fachtali (att), RKC Waalwijk – end of loan), Michael Jansen (def), retired), Oscar Lopez (def), Glenn Kobussen (mid), Joep van den Ouweland (mid), FC Oss), Patrick Gerritsen (att), Frank van der Zwan (att), Scheveningen), Niklas Tarvajärvi (att), Dave Bus (def), Yannick de Wit (mid), FC Emmen), Peter van der Vlag (gk), Emmen), Michal Janota (mid), Korona Kielce)

Go Ahead Eagles start the new season with expectations and another new coach having failed in their bid for promotion last season. A late charge after the emergency appointment of Scott Jimmy Calderwood resulted in a play-off clash against Den Bosch which was lost 3:1 on aggregate. Calderwood probably had a right to feel aggrieved for being let go at the end of the season having revived the team after the rubble that was left after Joop Gall was fired. Yet, the board decided to go for young coach Erik ten Hag who was the assistant to Fred Rutten at both Twente and PSV. This is his first appointment as a first-team manager and the 42-year-old will be keen to make a good start. The squad underwent a pretty major surgery with a big number of players leaving. Ten Hag focused on young signings like youngsters Cas Peters and Nick Marsman who come from neighbours Twente on loan deals. Jop van der Linden seems like a coup in defence after a great season at Helmond Sport and indeed shoring up the defence will be one of the key objectives ahead of the campaign. It is difficult to predict how well the team will do with basically a new set of players and untried but ambitious coach but still the Eagles are one of the better clubs in the division overall and should be in the top six come the end of the campaign.

Target:
Pushing for a play-off spot but likely to miss out on promotion

Helmond Sport

In:
Ter Horst (def) (Heracles), Brouwers (att) (Lommel United), De Regt (def) (VVV Venlo), Siers (def) (AGOVV), Francke (def), Hattu (def)

Out:
Pistoor (gk) (Volendam), Van der Linden (def) (Go Ahead Eagles), Haastrup (def) (Willem II), Joppen (def) (VVV), Altheer (mid) (VVV)

Helmond Sport left a solid impression in friendly matches during the summer break, yet it remains uncertain how the team of the unexperienced coach Erik Meijers will cope with the departure of last year’s entire defense, including star player Jop van der Linden. Meijers joined Helmond Sport from Achilles 29, the third-tier Topklasse team, with which he won the title last year. The Helmond team management refused to spend a penny on reinforcing the squad, being afraid of running into financial troubles. The result is that Helmond will start the new season with a very young defense, comprised of largely unknown players. Francke and Hattu joined from regional youth teams, while Ter Horst came from the reserve team of Heracles Almelo. Charles Kazlauskas and Aart Verberne stayed and hope to get more playing time than last year, when they weren’t assured of a starting spot. Considering the departure of important players, a top-9 position would be satisfactory for Helmond, yet most fans will remember that the team started last season too without the best players of the previous season and still finished at an impressive fourth position.

Target:
Qualification for the promotion play-offs

MVV

In:
Bram Castro (gk), St Truiden), Cor Gillis (def), Dender), Leroy Labylle (mid), Standard), Nathan Rutjes (mid), Sparta), Mark Veldmate (att), Sparta), Yannick Derix (gk), PSV ’35)

Out:
Fabio Caracciolo (att), Vise – end of loan), Prince Rajcomar (att), Zalaegerszeg – end of loan), Laurent Castellana (def), Jerome Beckers (def), Michael Tambak (att), Bjorn Eppinga (mid), Job Bulters (gk), Marc Eberle (def, Echt), Tom Daemen (mid), AEK Larnaca), Collin van Eijk (gk)

MVV Maastricht have had a pretty satisfactory season last year and will be hoping to gravitate in mid-table in the upcoming campaign and secure a play-off spot. They have failed to progress in their previous two attempts but promotion is not really an objective for a team with little resources to compete. Rene Trost’s side played some good football on a number of occasions last season but they have lost some key personnel over the summer. Tom Daeman is off to Cypru while strikers Fabio Caracciolo and Prince Rajcomar are back at their parent clubs after the end of their loan deals. The regular keeper Job Bulters and Laurent Castellana left as well which meant a number of gaps to fill. Few of them have been actually filled though. Bram Castro will be the new number one keeper but he has not played a first-team game for Saint Truiden since early October last year. Former Sparta Rotterdam’s squad players Mark Veldmate and Nathan Rutjes could be useful players but are unlikely to make much of a difference. Still, Trost creates useful teams and will hope that some of the academy players make the step up over the coming months. Realistically, MVV are likely to be water-carriers for another season and a place in the bottom half of the table beckons.

Target:
Finishing in mid-table and possibly challenging for a play-off spot

SC Veendam

In:
Mc Kinnon (def) (Alloa Athletic, SCO), Martens (mid) (Willem II), Deul (mid) (Bayern München reserves), Pedro (def) (FC Groningen), Timmermans (gkl) (SWZ), Hutten (att) (Willem II), Schmelz (att) (Sparta Rotterdam), Te Loeke (gk) (Cambuur Leeuwarden), Katschner (att), Overtoom (mid)

Out:
Gorgulu (def) (FC Oss), Cruz Vicente (def) (AGOVV), Wolven (att) (Go Ahead Eagles), Kluin (att) (Rijnsburgse Boys),

With a reinforced squad, Veendam are ready for the kick-off of a new season in the Jupiler League. Last season was an outright disaster, even though few fans had dared to hope at the outset that the miraculous fourth position of the 2010/2011 season could be repeated. Nevertheless, the 16th position at which Veendam concluded the 2011/2012 campaign was much worse than even the greatest cynic had predicted. Scoring was Veendam’s main problem last season and it remains to be seen whether a remedy has been found. Sidney Schmelz is Veendam’s new offensive leader, but the former Sparta Rotterdam player scored only six goals in his entire professional career so far, comprising 60 games in 4 seasons. Opoku, last year’s topscorer in Veendam, stayed, but may lose his starting place to new men such as Deul and Overtoom, whose arrival is expected to be confirmed before the start of the season. In spite of last year’s abysmal results and fierce criticism from the fans, coach Heerkens stayed in Veendam. This season, he will no longer be allowed to hide behind excuses of a poor and small squad. Veendam is definitely not the best team in the Jupiler League – as a series of defeats in friendly matches proved -, but supporters and sponsors demand a place back in the limelights of the Jupiler League, for example by claiming a period title and staying clear of the relegation zone.

Target:
Staying clear of the relegation zone, aiming at a period title

Sparta Rotterdam

In:
Jens van Son (mid), FC Eindhoven), Pieter Nys (def), Leuven), Quenten Martinus (att), Heerenveen – loan), Donovan Deekman (att), Lokeren), Martijn de Vries (att), Excelsior), Roald van Hout (att), RKC Waalwijk), Danny Buijs (mid), Kilmarnock), Marco van Duin (gk), NEC Nijmegen), Robert van Boxel (def), Cambuur)

Out:
Ruud Kras (def), (Rijnsburgse Bоys), Anthony Bentem (def), Joey Godee (att), AGOVV), Marten de Roon (mid), Heerenveen), Sidney Schmeltz (att), Veendam), Tom Overtoom (mid), Nathan Rutjes (mid), MVV), Jeroen Veldmate (def), Heracles), Mark Veldmate (att), MVV), Rubin Dantschotter (gk), Cercle – end of loan), Jeremy Bokila (att), Zulte Waregem – end of loan)

Sparta Rotterdam finished last season at second place and will feel that they missed a good chance to earn promotion back into the top-flight. A dramatic 2:1 aggregate defeat against Willem II meant that they will have to spend a third consecutive season in a division where they feel they do not belong. However, the positive definite outweighed the negative for the Red and White Gladiators during the last season as they played some enthralling football and were the best team in the second half of the season. They just ran out of steam in the last month in the chase of eventual champions Zwolle but Michel Vonk has built a solid base and will look to push on over the coming season. However, the three key players from last season, Jeroen Veldmate, Maarten de Roon and Jeremy Bokila are not around any more and the biggest task will be replacing them. Vonk has not attracted major names but Jens van Son and Robert van Boxel are useful players at this level while Donovan Deekman and Roald van Hout could well make a very good impression if given the chance to impress. Sandro Calabro will be the man expected to replace Bokila having joined in March last season while the likes of Mario Bilate and Jaime Bruinier will look to continue their good development. It is debatable whether Sparta can reach the heights of last season but if they gel well, the Rotterdam club will take some stopping and should be considered one of the big contenders for promotion.

Target:
Challenging for promotion and the title is definitely feasible

Telstar

In:
Rhys Murphy (att), Arsenal), Leandro Resida (att), Chabab), Kevin van Essen (mid), Argon), Shabir Isoufi (mid), Feyenoord – loan), Gal Sapir (def), Ironi Rashon), Geraldo Hoogvliets (def), Volendam), Gaston Salasiwa (def), Bintang), Oliver Rifai (def), AZ Jong), Daniël Zuiverloon (def), AZ Jong)

Out:
Nick Kuipers (def), IJsselmeervogel), Andrew Ornoch (att), Yacob Sason (att), Ryan Marveggio (def), Emre Bilgin (def), Den Bosch), Kevin Brands (att), Willem II), Armand Neeskens (def), De Meern), Danny Schenkel (def), Johan Plat (att), Hansa), Raymond Fafiani (mid), Voldendam), Melvin Holwijn (mid), Lisse), Sead Mazreku (mid), AZ Jong – end of loan), Gerson Sheotahul (att), Willem II – end of loan)

Telstar start the season hoping for better things to come after an underwhelming campaign last season. The modest club has always relied on top clubs sending their promising youngsters to get some first-team experience in Velsen. And experienced manager Jan Poortvliet has managed to get the best of them and get the team playing some decent football. Last season that happened too rarely for comfort and the team ended in the lower half of table, on a poor run of form. The announcement that Poortvliet was leaving well before the end of the season may have contributed to that. Nevertheless, the task facing new manager Marcel Keizer, is an unenvious one. He has done well in amateur football over the last couple of seasons but will be facing much sterner and better resourced opponents over the coming months. The eye-catching signing of the summer of them has been former Arsenal youngster Rhys Murphy who is looking to revive his career having fallen considerably over the last couple of season. Shabir Isoufi is a decent signing as well, on loan from Feyenoord, while Israeli Gal Sapir was a regular in the top division of Israel last season but otherwise the signings comes from lower division clubs and with no experience in professional football. Top strikers Kevin Brands and Johan Plat have left the club but keeping midfield duo Sjaak Lettinga and Frank Korpeshoek will be important and Kaizer is likely to build the team around them. Overall, the White Lions will do well to finish above 15th again and a push for the play-offs is hard to envisage.

Target:
Avoiding relegation and finishing in mid-table