Goal crowns the best and worst from Netherlands over the course of the 2012-13 campaign
Despite trailing then leaders Twente by 10 points at one point, Ajax were eventually crowned Dutch champions for the third consecutive season, with PSV runners-up.
Feyenoord and Vitesse, meanwhile, finished third and fourth respectively to qualify for the Europa League, while Twente and Utrecht are fighting it out for the remaining European place in the end-of-season play-offs.
Elsewhere, Willem II finished rock bottom to drop down to the Eerstedivisie again after just one season in Holland’s top flight, while VVV will play in the second tier as well next term after losing to Go Ahead Eagles in the play-offs.
But what of the other winners and losers? Who have been the best players and coaches in the league season? And what of the worst? Goal hands out the individual awards at the end of another absorbing nine months of football.
Kenneth Vermeer (Ajax)
At the start of the 2012-13 campaign, Ajax coach Frank de Boer said that Kenneth Vermeer would have to fight it out with Jasper Cillessen for the spot between the sticks, but it quickly became clear that Vermeer was the one emerging victorious. The 27-year-old eventually kept more clean sheets than any other goalkeeper in Holland’s top flight and was rewarded for his fine form with a call-up to the Oranje side.
Daryl Janmaat (Feyenoord)
Daryl Janmaat previously failed to break into the Feyenoord first team after coming through the ranks of the club’s youth academy, but returned to De Kuip last summer after spells with ADO Den Haag and Heerenveen and quickly proved to be a valuable signing. The right-back became an undisputed starter right away and his fine performances even saw him break into the national side under Louis van Gaal.
Marco van Ginkel (Vitesse)
It’s been a rather remarkable season for Marco van Ginkel as he not only became one of the Eredivisie’s absolute star performers, but also made his debut for Netherlands’ senior side. The young midfielder impressed throughout the season with his energetic displays in the middle of the park and showed he’s not afraid to stick his feet in, while also offering plenty in possession. The 20-year-old scored eight league goals and assisted eight more for Vitesse.
Wilfried Bony (Vitesse)
After scoring just 12 goals in 28 Eredivisie appearances in 2011-12, few would've tipped Wilfried Bony to win the topscorer title at the start of the season. The striker has since turned into one of Europe’s most lethal finishers, though, and is continually being linked with a move to a bigger league. Bony has arguably been the best attacker around in the Eredivisie this term, not only scoring 31 goals, but creating eight more, too.
|BEST YOUNGSTER (Under-21)
Marco van Ginkel (Vitesse)
The Eredivisie is possibly the league with the most promising youngsters around in Europe. Players such as Adam Maher, Christian Eriksen, Viktor Fischer, Tonny Vilhena and Jean-Paul Boetius all impressed this term, yet it was Vitesse midfielder Marco van Ginkel whose progress caught the eye the most. The 20-year-old played a key role in his side’s Eredivisie success and was rewarded for his fine performances with a call-up to Netherlands’ national side.
Frank de Boer (Ajax)
After guiding Ajax to back-to-back titles in his first two seasons at the club, Frank de Boer had a difficult start to the 2012-13 campaign. He never panicked, though, and steered them to yet another Eredivisie title with a string of fine performances after the winter break. Although Feyenoord’s Ronald Koeman and PEC Zwolle coach Art Langeler did a superb job as well, De Boer is fully deserving of the Coach of the year award.
Graziano Pelle (Parma to Feyenoord)
The loan-signing of Graziano Pelle raised plenty of eyebrows at the start of the season, but the Italian wasted no time in proving his critics wrong, prompting Feyenoord to sign him on a permanent basis in the January transfer window. The former Italy Under-21 striker netted an impressive 27 goals throughout the season, thus firing the Rotterdam giants to third spot in the table, and has become a real crowd favourite.
Genero Zeefuik (PSV to Groningen)
NEC were outraged when Groningen hijacked their move for PSV youngster Genero Zeefuik at the start of the season, but the Nijmegen side will have no regrets that they missed out on the striker in the end. The 23-year-old netted just four goals all season, with two of them coming from the spot, and was even dropped from the first team at one point due to his weight problems.
Wilfried Bony (Vitesse)
Wilfried Bony really rose to prominence in 2012-13 as he guided Vitesse to fourth place in the Eredivisie table, winning the topscorer title in the process with 31 goals in 30 appearances. The Cote d’Ivoire international's cheeky back-heel winner at home against Feyenoord was one of the goals of the season, while he also played a key role in Vitesse’s 2-0 win over Ajax as he netted both goals.
Etienne Reijnen (AZ)
With Niklas Moisander leaving AZ for Ajax at the start of the season, head coach Gertjan Verbeek opted to give Etienne Reijnen the chance to prove his worth alongside Nick Viergever at centre-back. It was not meant to be for the former Zwolle man, though, as he mainly made the headlines for his disappointing performances. An early red card in the away game against PSV was the absolute low of his season.