Ajax may won the Eredivisie this season, but the traditional powerhouses of Dutch football were frozen out in the top goalscorers list where, as Luke Edwards explains, the names at the top came from somewhat unexpected sources.
Normally, if you were to take a glance at the top scorers in the Eredivisie you would expect see representatives from the big three of Ajax, PSV or Feyernoord. Not, however, this season. This season, strikers from the mid-table teams in Holland have come to the fore, indeed the first name in the scoring charts to come from one of the traditional giants of Dutch football is Balázs Dzsudzsák from PSV, in joint fourth place on sixteen goals and only he and his PSV team-mate Ola Toivonen make so much as the top ten of Dutch goalscorers from these institutions. This seems like an extraordinary achievement, so here is a little more about the three players that made up the gold, solver and bronze positions at the top of the Eredivisie top goalscorers list.
In third place is Mads Junker from Roda JC. In finishing the season with twenty goals, the thirty year-old Danish international fell one short of his tally from last season. Junker joined Roda JC from Vitesse Arnham, where he had been in and out of the side without fully establishing himself in the team, which may be reason behing why he could only manage 17 goals in 86 games for the club. Upon moving on loan to Roda at the start of last season, however, something clicked and he immediately started scoring regularly. He ended his season with 21 goals from 34 league matches, leading to perhaps predictable rumours that Ajax were interested. Junker also spoke of his desire to be included in the Danish team for last year’s World Cup, but he was overlooked for the final squad. This, however, doesn seem to have done him any harm this season but, while he is at the peak of his career, whether he can maintain his record in the Netherlands or transfer his skills elsewhere remains to be seen.
Taking the runners-up position in the goalscoring charts is the former Russian international Dmitri Bulykin – “former” probably being appropriate, since he hasn’t played for the Russian national team since the end of October 2004 and, at thirty-one years old, the likelihood of him being called up again would seem to be low. However, ADO Den Haag striker has other ideas and he recently told Uefa.com that, “I really want to help the team and increase the competition for places that, “I still hope to get back into the squad. Recently I showed my Den Haag team-mates a video of the best moments of my career, including goals for Russia. Those memories are always with me and help me motivate myself for Den Haag.” Bulykin, however, has had an Indian summer of a season and the best of his career at ADO Den Haag in scoring twenty-one goals in thirty league games.
Bulykin is actually on loan to ADO from the Belgian club Anderlecht and his future remains uncertain. He still has a contract with the Brussels club, and it would not be particularly surprising if they decided that they wanted to avail themselves of his services next season. He certainly seems, at least, to have got his career finally back on track, having leaving Dinamo Moscow in 2007 with accusations of having an active party lifestyle. From Moscow he went to Germany to play for Bayer Leverkusenm before moving to Anderlecht in August 2008. Again a lack of playing time and an unsuccessful loan spell in the German second division with Fortuna Dusseldorf left him in limbo before travelling to The Hague for a trial with ADO. Fans of the club will be hoping that some sort of agreement can be made so that he can come back for next season to the Kyocera stadium, where fans sing songs in Russian whenever he scores, most notably the “Kalinka” – the famously jaunty traditional Russian song composed by Ivan Larinov.
Leading the goalscoring charts in the Eredivisie this season, however, is NEC Nijmegen’s Belgian striker Bjorn Vlemicinx. Vlemicinx is another unfamiliar name who, in scoring twenty-three goals this season, has also just had the best season of his career. He was behind Bulykin with three matches of the season left to play, but four goals in a 5-0 win against Mads Junker’s Roda JC wrapped up the Eredivisie Golden Boot. Vlemicinx has had, broadly speaking, a mediocre career up until this season, floating around the Belgian league playing for Beveren, Oostende and KV Mechelen before pitching up in Nijmegen last season. His first season for the club only yielded eight goals, but this year he took off and now his name joins others such as Luis Suarez, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Dirk Kuyt as a winner of the Golden Boot in Holland, and in addition to this he also recently won his full first Belgium cap.
Vlemicinx’s goals – he is another striker whose biggest strength is his aerial ability – this season led to rumours that Blackburn Rovers and Tottenham were interested, but in the end he opted for a move back home to Club Brugge for €5.5 m and the promise of European football. He also commented, perhaps significantly, that Brugge were also the club that had shown the most interest in him. NEC, meanwhile, stated that, “in our current financial situation, we are just happy with the money”. Next season, we can expect Junker to be still up their next season and also possibly the De Jong brothers, (Luuk, who plays for FC Twente, and Siem, who plays for Ajax). With Feyenoord in a state of crisis and unhappy rumours having been coming from Amsterdam for some time concerning their financial position, there is every chance that players from the often overlooked clubs of the Netherlands could get a chance to shine next season as well.
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