AMSTERDAM Feyenoord's painful wait for a first Dutch league title since 1999 could end on Sunday when victory at Rotterdam rivals Excelsior will make them champions with a week to spare.
Feyenoord hold a four point advantage over second-placed Ajax Amsterdam with only two rounds of matches to play. They will be crowned champions even in defeat if Ajax suffer an unlikely home loss to bottom side Go Ahead Eagles.
Since they were last champions under then manager Leo Beenhakker, former European Cup holders Feyenoord 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.
A championship win would complete a fine season for 36-year-old former Liverpool forward Dirk Kuyt, who captains the side and has contributed nine league goals.
Their success has also been built around the potency of Danish international striker Nicolai Jorgensen, signed for just 3.5 million euros ($3.84 million) at the start of the season and the league's top scorer with 21 goals.
Manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst says his side will push for victory at lowly Excelsior on Sunday to seal the league before a final day home meeting with mid-table Heracles Almelo.
"It’s important to remain calm and focus on the things we need to do, the same things we have been doing so well all season. We want to continue with that in the last two weeks," Van Bronckhorst told Feyenoord TV on Friday.
"These types of games are the best to play in and we have fought hard for the whole year to be in this position. We need one more win and we are not thinking about anything else except that," added the former Dutch international defender.
Feyenoord have claimed victory in the last nine meetings with Excelsior, dating back to 2010, and have already recorded 4-1 and 4-0 victories in the league and Dutch Cup this season.
Ajax have won the most Dutch league titles with 33, while PSV are second on the winners' list with 23.
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.
($1 = 0.9110 euros)
(Reporting By Nick Said; Editing by Keith Weir)