Eredivisie preview: van Basten will put his past with Ajax to one side when the champions visit the Abe Lenstra Stadion
Marco van Basten will put his past with Ajax to one side when the champions visit the Abe Lenstra Stadion.
Last Updated: 23/08/13 9:05am
Van Basten made his name in Amsterdam, scoring nearly a goal a game in a prolific six-year spell which made him one of the most feared strikers in the history of the game.
He returned to Ajax as manager in 2008 but was in charge for just a single season as the club failed to make the Champions League and moved to Heerenveen in February last year.
His current charges are level with the champions in the embryonic Eredivisie table with both sides having two wins from the opening three games but Van Basten insists it is the size of the club, and not his personal history, which gives Friday night's clash some extra spice.
"These clubs make you a bit nervous," he told www.sc-heerenveen.nl.
"Ajax is special. There is much media attention off the field. The competition is fierce for both the players and the fans."
But Van Basten is refusing to be intimidated by the task at hand and believes his team can be better when they are on the back foot.
"We are stronger when the opponent has the initiative," he said. "Our strength lies in the counter-attack.
"Ajax plays a dominant style and usually has the upper hand. Ajax are technically more skilled and tactically strong.
"It is a difficult job."
On Saturday PSV Eindhoven will look to maintain their 100 per cent start as they travel to Heracles.
PSV have won their previous two league matches 5-0 and 3-0 and come into the match at the Polman Stadion on the back of an impressive 1-1 draw with AC Milan in the Champions League.
The only other club with a perfect record this season are also in action on Saturday as PEC Zwolle take on newly-promoted Cambuur.
PEC have surprised many with their bright start to the season but take on a Cambuur side high in confidence following a 4-1 win over Groningen last weekend.
In Saturday's other games, NEC take on RKC Waalwijk while Roda JC travel to ADO Den Haag.
Feyenoord boss Ronald Koeman will be hoping his side will not be travel weary as they take on NAC Breda on Sunday.
The Rotterdammers have just two days recovery from their trip to Russia to face Kuban Krasnodar in the Europa League as they look for their first league win of the season.
But despite a pointless start to the campaign, Koeman believes he has seen enough progress to be optimistic.
"Last Sunday against Ajax I saw a lot of spirit in the team," he told a press conference. "Although it's clear that we can and have to play better."
In Sunday's remaining games, Go Ahead Eagles host Groningen, FC Twente travel to Vitesse Arnhem and Utrecht take on AZ Alkmaar.