Usually our attention is focused on the “big” European leagues–English, Spanish, German, Italian–but this weekend features two big rivalry matches elsewhere, both on Sunday: the Dutch De Klassieker, with Ajax travelling to Rotterdam to take on Feyenoord at De Kuip; and down in Buenos Aires, the first Argentine Superclásico in 17 months this weekend, with River Plate hosting Boca Juniors at the Estadio Monumental. Both matches will be available for viewing in the US: Feyenoord-Ajax on ESPN Deportes & ESPN3.com (7:30amET), River Plate-Boca Juniors on GolTV (1:30pmET).
Argentina has been waiting for this fixture for a long time, longer than anybody in any previous era would ever have believed possible. Sunday sees the first superclasico for 17 months as River Plate face Boca Juniors at El Monumental.
It’s fifth against 11th and, unless Boca win and somehow haul themselves back into the title race – at the most they trail Newell’s Old Boys by five points – it means nothing in terms of silverware. Yet it means everything in terms of prestige. The superclasico dominates Argentinian football to an extraordinary extent, no matter where the teams are in the league – which is perhaps understandable given 70 per cent of the country support one team or the other. It’s the game everybody has been focused on since River responded to relegation with promotion at the first attempt – which is just as well, because neither side has been playing particularly well.
And a preview of De Klassieker via Orange.co.uk:
Feyenoord will face an Ajax side brimming with confidence after their Champions League humbling of Manchester City when the sides meet in the first Eredivisie Classic of the season on Sunday.
The sides sit fourth and fifth in the table, with the Amsterdam side ahead on goal difference. But Ronald de Boer’s team will go into the game on the crest of the wave following their 3-1 win over the big-spending Premier League champions. De Boer admitted his team’s performance had been outstanding and he will be hoping for more of the same at De Kuip on Sunday. The former Dutch international said: “I know what we are capable of. I think we saw a good Ajax that wanted to show something good. “We played quite well and City didn’t have an answer to our play.”
His opposite number Ronald Koeman will at least be boosted by the return to training of Reuben Schaken and Sekou Cisse after their respective injury lay-offs.