For the first time in almost four years, De Klassieker is a battle between the number one and two in the Eredivisie on Sunday.

Based on the past, Feyenoord can draw some hope from that, although the club has been waiting for a victory in Amsterdam for sixteen years.

The last time Ajax and Feyenoord faced each other as number one and two was in April 2017. At the time, the team from Amsterdam won 2-1 in the Johan Cruijff ArenA, partly due to a striking free kick by Lasse Schöne in the first minute.

In the five times before that Ajax and Feyenoord met each other as numbers one and two, the Rotterdammers did not lose: Feyenoord won twice and it was equal four times.

The last time was in 2016, when De Klassieker in De Kuip ended in 1-1 due to goals from Kasper Dolberg and Dirk Kuijt.

The contrast is great with the previous edition of De Klassieker in October 2019, when the team of trainer Erik ten Hag waltzed over trainer Jaap Stam's Feyenoord before half time and won 4-0.

Ajax was also the leader at the time, but the visitors were no more than an average rider.

Now Feyenoord is working with much more confidence towards the duel with the rival from the capital.

"They give away a lot of space, so we have to manage to always make the long sprints," said captain Steven Berghuis on Friday at the anticipated press conference.

"And of course there is something to be gained."

For Berghuis it will be his fifth Classic in Amsterdam, after he lost all of the previous four.

The 29-year-old attacker has painful statistics in the Johan Cruijff ArenA, because in twelve games (for FC Twente, VVV-Venlo, AZ, Feyenoord and Orange) he did not score a single time.

Photo series: The last 14 Classics in the ArenA

2006/2007: Ajax-Feyenoord 4-1 © ANP

2007/2008: Ajax-Feyenoord 3-0 © ANP

2008/2009: Ajax-Feyenoord 2-0 © ANP

2009/2010: Ajax-Feyenoord 5-1 © ANP

2010/2011: Ajax-Feyenoord 2-0 © ANP

2011/2012: Ajax-Feyenoord 1-1 © ANP

2012/2013: Ajax-Feyenoord 3-0 © ANP

2013/2014: Ajax-Feyenoord 2-1 © ANP

2014/2015: Ajax-Feyenoord 0-0 © ANP

2015/2016: Ajax-Feyenoord 2-1 © ANP

2016/2017: Ajax-Feyenoord 2-1 © Proshots

2017/2018: Feyenoord-Ajax 2-0 © ANP

2018/2019: Ajax-Feyenoord 3-0 © Pro Shots

2019/2020: Ajax-Feyenoord 4-0 © Pro Shots

'As a little boy you ran to a radio'

For the 73-year-old Dick Advocaat it will only be his first Classic, although of course he realizes how great the interests are.

"When you were a little boy, you stopped playing football and ran to a radio when that game started," he said on Friday.

"Feyenoord-Ajax and Ajax-Feyenoord are the matches of the year."

The experienced coach had already faced Ten Hag's Ajax four times with Sparta Rotterdam and FC Utrecht and that resulted only in defeats.

Ten Hag won four of his five Classics with Ajax, but personally the former FC Utrecht coach has a negative balance against the fifteen-time national champion: four victories, a draw and five defeats.

"It is important that we immediately clap on it, from the first minute", Ten Hag said Friday.

"That's how you get the pace in the game. Feyenoord is determined and they are in good position. We will have to play better than against FC Twente to get a lot of chances again.

The 189th edition of De Klassieker starts on Sunday at 4.45 pm in the Johan Cruijff ArenA and is led by referee Danny Makkelie.


Fans support Feyenoord for Classic, but ignore corona rules