Knowing that direct competitor Volendam lost on Friday evening and with Emmen and Excelsior Rotterdam to play ahead of them, Fortuna Sittard and Vitesse Arnhem will both have a clear picture of where they stand in the relegation scrap approaching the end of the fourth-last round. The home side are in much worse form of the two, though, with a home win against FC Groningen (3-1) coming in between five losses.
The Limburg club have struggled financially throughout the season and continue to go through turbulent times both on and off the pitch. They’ve had to make do without captain Burak Yılmaz for their last two games as he appears to be looking elsewhere for next season, whilst manager Julio Velázquez is also under immense pressure following nine goals conceded and none scored since their last batch of league points.
Starting this round one point beneath their hosts in the standings, Vitesse should be able to take advantage of Sittard’s many woes to move further away from the danger zone at a crucial period. Phillip Cocu’s men launched one final charge with wins against Go Ahead Eagles (2-0) and NEC Nijmegen (4-1), and whilst they couldn’t complete the job against relegation rival Excelsior (0-0), the prior six-game winless period appears to be in the distant past.
A positive result here in what continues to be their worst Eredivisie season of the last decade would at least give them some important breathing space ahead of upcoming clashes with Cambuur and Groningen, who by then may have nothing to lose. Having recorded more points away (16) than at home (15) this season, hitting the road could be just the thing they need to secure their survival.
Players to watch: Fortuna Sittard defender Rémy Vita knows what it’s like to score the winning goal against Vitesse, having done so in the reverse H2H. He made the winning 2-1 in Gelredome. Matúš Bero (G5, A3) is now in his fifth season at Vitesse, and has been well behaved this season with an average of five games played per yellow card.
Hot stat: Fortuna Sittard have won just one of their last 15 home games against Vitesse (D6, L8).