Feyenoord vs Ajax predictions: Goals on the cards at De Kuip
Table-toppers Feyenoord will take on an out-of-sorts Ajax in the first De Klassieker of the Eredivisie season at De Kuip on Sunday.
Feyenoord look well placed to mount their first serious title challenge since they were last crowned champions in 2017, with Arne Slot's side having opened up a four-point gap at the top of the standings following a nine-match unbeaten run in the league that stretches back to September.
Reigning champions Ajax are five points behind Feyenoord in third and it is fair to say Alfred Schreuder's side are struggling for form by their own high standards, as the Amsterdam giants have failed to win any of their last five league games.
Ajax do have an impressive recent record against Feyenoord and they will be hoping that stands them in good stead for their trip to Rotterdam, with this arguably being one of the most eagerly-anticipated De Klassieker's for a number of years.
Feyenoord have no fresh injury concerns to contend with, although centre back Gernot Trauner and midfielder Quinten Timber are both set to remain on the treatment table.
Mexican international forward Santiago Gimenez is pushing for a start after coming off the bench to score in last weekend's 3-0 victory at Groningen.
Ajax will be without suspended full-back Devyne Rensch for the trip to Rotterdam following his sending off against Twente last time out, joining injured trio Youri Baas, Florian Grillitsch and Ahmetcan Kaplan on the sidelines.
Feyenoord were last crowned Eredivisie champions at the end of the 2016-17 season, but they could end that six-year wait for a 16th national title this term, as they have only lost one of their 16 league games to date.
Slot's side are also unbeaten in their 11 home matches across all competitions this season, registering eight wins and three draws, with their last defeat at De Kuip in a competitive fixture coming against Twente in May.
Ajax have failed to win any of their last five league matches, their longest winless run in the Eredivisie since they also went five games without registering a victory between September-October 2011.
Despite that poor run of form, Schreuder's side have still remained hard to beat, with only one of those five winless matches ending in defeat.
Indeed, Ajax's last four league fixtures have ended all-square, including their previous two away matches at Emmen and NEC, while they have also continued to score goals — no team has netted more times in the Eredivisie this season than the Amsterdam club (45).
Ajax have also enjoyed the better of recent meetings with Feyenoord, winning each of the last six clashes between the two sides across all competitions by an aggregate score of 16-2.
Feyenoord's last win over their rivals was at De Kuip in January 2019 and it was an emphatic success, as they prevailed 6-2 in a match where Robin van Persie scored twice.
The recent formbook suggests Feyenoord should triumph in this fixture, with the league leaders having convincingly won their previous two matches against PEC Zwolle in the KNVB Beker and Groningen in the Eredivisie.
Ajax have struggled in games against their title rivals so far this season, losing to both AZ Alkmaar and PSV Eindhoven, while they could only manage a home draw with fifth-placed Twente last time out.
That run of results does not bode well for Ajax, but it is difficult to discount the reigning champions from turning on the style against a Feyenoord team they have had plenty of success against in recent seasons.
Picking a winner from this match could therefore prove tricky, but goals should certainly be on the agenda, as only Ajax (45) and PSV (44) have scored more in the Eredivisie this season than Feyenoord (39)
The league leaders have also netted six goals across their last two fixtures, while Ajax have scored in each of their previous 20 away matches in the Eredivisie, a run that dates back to a goalless draw with Heracles in October 2021.