Friends or not, there is a European score to settle with Feyenoord

Celtic have a history with every team in their Champions League group, with some regarded more as foes than friends.

Despite Feyenoord being in the latter category, revenge will be the order of the day when the clubs meet at De Kuip in the opening group stage game.

Arne Slot’s men are a well-drilled and entertaining team who have made some fantastic progress in recent years and will most certainly be no pushovers for Celtic and Brendan Rodgers.

They were in Pot 1 for a reason and here is A Celtic State of Mind’s lowdown on Feyenoord:

Last season’s lowdown

Feyenoord took advantage of a poor season from Ajax as they stormed to their first Eredivisie title since 2016-17. The last time they managed such a feat, none other than former Rangers boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst was at the helm.

Mexican talisman Santiago Gimenez played a key part in last season’s success, notching up 15 goals in the league and 23 in all competitions, but it wasn’t enough to secure the KNVB cup as they lost 2-1 at home to Ajax at the semi-finals stage.

In Europe, Feyenoord entered the Europa League in the group stage and topped a group consisting of Midtjylland, Lazio and Austrian side Sturm Graz. By the time the fixture card was complete, every single team in the group finished with eight points, and it was left down to goal difference to split the four sides.

Feyenoord hammered Shakhtar Donetsk in the round of 16 before losing out to finalists Roma in the quarter-finals.

Summer transfer window

Much like Celtic, Feyenoord fans have grown accustomed to losing their best players to clubs with more of a pulling power and they lost their star man this summer when Turkish midfielder Orkun Kokcu moved on to Benfica.

They have made some shrewd signings this summer, also similar to Celtic, as they acquired the services of Calvin Stengs from Nice who had previously set the Eredivisie alight at AZ Alkmaar, as well as acquiring Dinamo Zagreb winger Luka Ivanusec.

The summer was about retaining and whilst they lost Kokcu, they kept hold of Santiago Gimenez, goalkeeper Justin Bijlow and midfielder Mats Wieffer who are all top players that the club would have no doubt seen as indispensable.

European Heritage

Feyenoord are one of two teams in Group E, alongside Celtic, to have won the Champions League as they defeated Celtic 2-1 after extra time in the 1970 European Cup final at San Siro in Milan.

Much like the 1967 final, Tommy Gemmell scored, which put Celtic one ahead on the half-hour mark before the Rotterdam side eventually came back to win.

Feyenoord also have two Europa Leagues to their name, one coming in 1974 where they beat Tottenham Hotspur, and the other coming in 2002 where they defeated Borussia Dortmund 3-2 in Rotterdam.

Player to watch – Mats Wieffer

The 23-year-old had a breakout season last year and he popped up with some big goals including the only goal in a 1-0 home win over Roma. His exploits last season earned him a call-up to the Dutch national team where he has since gone on to be capped three times and is a part of the current Netherlands national team.


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