FC Groningen - FC Volendam
Pick: 5/10 FC Groningen -0.75 @ 1.84 (IBC)
Groningen have just 2 preseason friendlies left. Today they play first division side FC Volendam and 4 days later they play Real Mallorca. So far they played a big total of 8 matches already, having some dissapointing results, drawing against Helmond Sport and Ankaragucu and losing heavily to HSV this weekend. There were also some positives to denote with wins over PAOK and Veendam. The stage of experimenting is over for the Eredivisie-side here and after the heavy loss to HSV this match has become quite important to them. The "new" defence after key defender Granqvist and regular leftback Stenman were transferred has been a bit dissapointing and it will be important to show that they can keep things tight at the back today. I expect their best 11 to start and in terms of injuries only young defender Van Dijk and S/R forward Pedersen are out. In the match against HSV this was their line-up: Luciano; Kappelhof (66’ Hiariej), Ivens (66’ Ajilore), Kwakman, Burnet; Holla (70’ Kieftenbeld), Sparv; Bacuna, Pedersen (70’ Jones), Tadic; Matavz (76’ Suk).
The line-up mentioned above is pretty much the strongest possible and I expect big new signing Jones to take over the spot of Pedersen here, which isn't a downgrade if he lives up to the talent he possesses. Volendam will try to reach the play-offs again in the upcoming season, but suffered a big loss in terms of personnel when their key striker and topscorer Platje was transferred to NEC. They had a pre-season with quite a lot of friendlies, but played mostly against amateur sides and on the few occasions against better opposition they failed miserably, losing 3-0 to Aachen and drawing against the Ajax reserves. So far they have showed a real impotence up front against the stronger opponents and I doubt if they will be able to take advantage of Groningen's potential weakness at the back. Even in the last 2 matches they experimented a lot with players and their squad is still far from ready for the new season, making this -0.75 a really good bet. A -1 with odds around 1.9 max would suit this game better. The match is played at an amateur club, just 15km outside of Groningen, so this is an unofficial home game for them.