Eredivisie weekend preview: Jan-Arie van der Heijden talks up Vitesse Arnhem
Jan-Arie van der Heijden believes Vitesse Arnhem are now being "taken seriously" in their Eredivisie title bid.
Last Updated: 05/04/13 8:36am
Vitesse, for so long a side synonymous with top-flight mid-table mediocrity, have muscled in on the traditional Dutch powerhouses this season to sit third in the standings, three points behind leaders Ajax with six games remaining.
They are level on points with PSV Eindhoven and will again hope the goals of the league's top scorer Wilfried Bony can guide them to victory when NAC Breda pay them a visit on Saturday.
Bony has scored in each of Vitesse's last seven Eredivisie outings, and team-mate Van der Heijden admits with players of such calibre at their disposal, Vitesse deserve to be feared.
"The outside world is starting to take us seriously," Van der Heijden said.
"They realize that Vitesse is a club with healthy ambitions and this is very true.
"The season is going to remain exciting until the end."
Vitesse allowed their level to drop in the second half of the 2-1 win over lowly PEC Zwolle last time out, and Van der Heijden warned they must rediscover their best form if they are to maintain their title push.
"We played a good first half against PEC Zwolle last week - the second half was less so," he said.
"I hope we meet our targets for the entire match against NAC.
"They play compact and rely on strong organisation. We should therefore not be distracted and just play our own game."
While Vitesse can focus on the run-in knowing that they do not have to face either Ajax or PSV again this season, the same cannot be said of the two great rivals themselves, who meet on April 14 in a match that will go a long way to determining the destiny of the crown.
Before then, both teams have more mundane but no less important matters to attend to, with pacesetters Ajax hosting mid-table Heracles Almelo on Sunday, and PSV the visitors to bottom side Willem II on Saturday night.
Also on Saturday, FC Twente host Roda JC and PEC welcome RKC Waalwijk, while Sunday's remaining games see ADO Den Haag visit FC Utrecht, FC Groningen entertain Heerenveen and AZ Alkmaar make the trip to Nijmegen to play NEC.
The action gets under way on Friday night as fourth-placed Feyenoord, whose own title aspirations remain very much intact with just four points separating them from the summit, host VVV-Venlo.