Feyenoord’s painful wait for a first Dutch league title since 1999 has come to an end on Sunday when a 3-1 victory in Rotterdam against Heracles Almelo made them champions of the Netherlands.
Europa League finalists, and runner-up, Ajax Amsterdam, who won their away game at Willem II (1-3) in Tilburg, will play Champions League football next year even if they lose the final against Manchester United in Stockholm.
Feyenoord held a four point advantage over second-placed Ajax Amsterdam with only two rounds of matches to play. Last week Feyenoord failed to seal the deal after losing to ‘little brother’ Excelsior away from home. The 3-0 defeat led to riots in the city center with over a 100 arrests as a result. The 1-point lead was never in danger on the final matchday.
Dirk Kuyt, who won the championship with Fenerbahce, but never with Liverpool, kept his promise to the Feyenoord ‘Legion’ by coming back to help them win the title, scored in the first minute and started early title celebrations 10 minute’s later by heading a second goal in the back of the net. With an 83rd-minute penalty Kuyt also claimed his hat trick in the last game of the season. Heracles’ late consolation goal was missed by many due to all the celebrations . The championship win completed a fine season for the 36-year-old captain even though he spend a lot of time on the bench this season as a result of Giovanni van Bronkhorst rotation system.
.@Kuyt JAAA! DIRK DOET HET WEER!
— Feyenoord Rotterdam (@Feyenoord) May 14, 2017
Since they were last champions under then manager Leo Beenhakker, former European Cup holders Feyenoord (1970) have been forced to watch perennial rivals Ajax and PSV Eindhoven dominate the game in the Netherlands. Nearly two decades on they stand on the brink of a 15th domestic title.
Their success has also been built around the potency of Danish international striker Nicolai Jorgensen, signed for just 3.5 million euros at the start of the season and the league’s top scorer with 21 goals.
Ajax have won the most Dutch league titles with 33, while PSV are second on the winners’ list with 23.
— Sportnieuws.nl (@Sportnieuwsnl) May 14, 2017
When Feyenoord last won the championship 18 years ago they were level with PSV on 14 titles each, a sign of the contrasting fortunes of the two clubs since.