By Stefan Coerts
Sunday evening's KNVB Beker final between Ajax and Twente will be a rather special game for the De Jong family. Not only will the two best teams Dutch football have to offer lock horns, but it will also be the battle between Ajax midfielder Siem de Jong and his younger brother Luuk, who wears the Twente jersey.
It won't be the first time that the De Jong brothers face each other as they previously met in the Johan Cruyff shield in July 2010, when Luuk helped his side to victory by scoring the only goal of the match, while they also both featured in the 2-2 Eredivisie draw between Ajax and Twente in September. However, it's the first time that they square off for a 'big' trophy and they will both be determined to come out victorious.
Both Dutch internationals were born in Aigle, Switzerland, but moved back to Netherlands when they were still young. Siem and Luuk started their respective footballing careers at amateur side DZC'68, but quickly attracted the interest of Eredivisie side De Graafschap and eventually joined the Doetinchem side's youth academy.
The pair went their separate ways in 2005 when Siem accepted Ajax's offer to move to the Amsterdam ArenA. The attacking midfielder's decision quickly paid off as he made his official debut at the Godenzonen barely two years after his transfer to Ajax. The youngster initially struggled to secure regular first team action, but his definitive breakthrough came in 2009-10.
De Jong formed an impressive partnership with striker Marko Pantelic in the second half of the season and netted 10 goals in 22 Eredivisie appearances. He was rewarded for his good performances when Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk handed him his international debut in the friendly against Ukraine and De Jong has only continued to develop ever since.
|Siem de Jong
||Luuk de Jong
|2010-11 EREDIVISIE STATS
Luuk also attracted the interest of Ajax in his younger years, but the Amsterdam side never made a move for the striker and he stayed with De Graafschap. Like his older brother, Luuk made his debut at the age of 18 as well and he immediately impressed with some superb performances for the Superboeren.
His immense potential was noticed by Twente, who lured the forward to Enschede in the summer of 2009. De Jong mainly warmed the bench in his first season at the Grolsch Veste, but has become a key member for the Tukkers this term. The striker's excellent development this season resulted in his debut for Oranje's senior side against Austria in February 2011.
Both players have been linked with a move away from their current club in the past few weeks as Siem has caught the attention of Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund, while Ajax are keen to bring Luuk to Amsterdam.
Nevertheless, the duo is likely to stay put for now and will probably meet each other several more times in the upcoming years as Ajax and Twente could very well dominate Dutch football in the seasons to come.
As much as two brothers locking horns in the final of a domestic cup is a pretty unique event, it's not the first time that footballing brothers will meet each other on the pitch playing for different sides. In Holland, Frank (Ajax) and Ronald de Boer (Twente) met each other in the Eredivisie a few times, while Ronald Koeman (Ajax) kicking out at his younger brother Erwin (Groningen) is an image that has been shown more than once in the past couple of days on Dutch television.
During the 2010 World Cup, Germany defender Jerome Boateng took on Ghana's Kevin-Prince Boateng in a match that will forever be remembered by the duo's father.
|Ghana 0-1 Germany
June 23, 2010
2010 World Cup
Earlier in 2010, Argentinian brothers Diego Milito and Gabriel met each other on the football pich in the Champions League encounter between Barcelona and Inter.
|Barcelona 1-0 Inter
April 28, 2010
One of England's most famous footballing brothers must surely be the Neville brothers. The duo started their careers at Manchester United, but faced each other a number of times after Phil moved to Everton in 2005. His Premier League debut for the Toffees came against his former team in August of that year.
|Everton 0-2 Man Utd
August 12, 2005
A little bit further back in history two English brothers took on each other in the FA Cup final of 1874. Forward William Rawson wore the jersey of Oxford University, while Herbert Rawson defended the colours of Royal Engineers. The Engineers had undertaken two weeks of special training before the match, but it proved to be not enough for Herbert and his team-mates as Oxford left the pitch celebrating after a 2-0 win.
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