FC Emmen’s fight for survival takes center stage against FC Twente
After three very important wins across March and April (D1, L3), FC Emmen’s fear of relegation could now be a ‘glass half-full’ drive for direct survival in May. Manager Dick Lukkien knows his time in the top flight is soon coming to an end as he looks ahead to next season as manager of the imminently relegated Groningen, but there’s still a job to do. Starting this round level with 16th-placed Excelsior on points, the fight to avoid the promotion-relegation playoff will come right down to the wire.
The international break has helped them turn things around, illustrated by a 2-1 win at relegation-bound Cambuur and scoreless draw against Nijmegen. A hard-fought but nonetheless thoroughly deserved 3-2 win at Heerenveen followed defeat at Ajax (3-1), meaning they now have just two clean sheets from their last 12 league fixtures. Still, their fate remains in their own hands.
FC Twente have also been producing mixed results like their hosts, but the consequences have not been so positive. They continue to pick up the points at home with 37 out of a possible 45, even though dropping two points against Sparta in stoppage time last round would have stung, but they have sadly not been able to take that form on the road.
Despite failing to defeat two direct competitors, the Tukkers are already assured of participating in the postseason playoffs for the Eredivisie’s ticket to the preliminary round of the UEFA Europa Conference League, where they will be joining Sparta Rotterdam and Utrecht. Their average of exactly one point per away game this season doesn’t offer much hope of victory here, though that’s not much worse than Emmen’s average at home!
Players to watch: Build Ole Romeny a statue outside De Oude Meerdijk! After his mesmerising hat-trick last weekend, Romeny racked up a double-digit tally for this league season (G10, A1). Twente’s top scorer Václav Černý (G10, A8) also continues to take his own steps towards being immortalised in bronze after goals in nine appearances across all competitions this season.
Hot streak: Twente kept a first half clean sheet in each of their last 26 Eredivisie wins.