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May 15, 2022 at 1.30pm UK at AFAS Stadion, Alkmaar
1 - 3
RKC Waalwijk
de Wit (45+1')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Stokkers (18'), Gaari (64'), Kuijpers (79')

Preview: AZ Alkmaar vs. RKC Waalwijk - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: AZ Alkmaar vs. RKC Waalwijk - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Eredivisie clash between AZ Alkmaar and RKC Waalwijk, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Fifth-placed AZ Alkmaar welcome RKC Waalwijk to the AFAS Stadion on the final day of the Eredivisie season this Sunday, knowing that they cannot climb to fourth nor can they slip down to sixth spot.

The visitors currently sit 13th, three points above the relegation playoff position, but with a significantly superior goal difference to 16th-placed Fortuna Sittard.

Match preview

Pascal Jansen's side enter this encounter on a four-game unbeaten run, but they have drawn their last three back-to-back outings, failing to hold onto winning positions on each occasion.

Last time out on Wednesday, Evangelos Pavlidis had given Alkmaar a 15-minute 2-0 lead, but the visitors went on to give up that margin against FC Utrecht, who equalised in the 94th minute.

The hosts will be strong favourites to end their campaign on a positive note this weekend, given their strong record on home soil this year, securing 11 wins from 16 matches at the AFAS Stadion.

Alkmaar have not kept a clean sheet in their last 15 outings, though, suggesting that there will be a good opportunity for Waalwijk to get on the scoresheet this Sunday.

A fifth-placed finish this year will be the club's lowest in the Eredivisie since the 2016-17 campaign, when Alkmaar finished in sixth spot, having at least secured a Europa League qualification place in the last four seasons.

Joseph Oosting's side also come into this match on an unbeaten run, stringing together two wins and a draw in their last three outings, with their most recent result being a 2-0 win against Heracles.

Goals from Michiel Kramer and Richard van Der Venne secured those three points on Wednesday, when Waalwijk also limited their visitors to just one shot on target.

Waalwijk will take confidence from their defensive display in midweek, with that clean sheet being their first in seven matches, something that they will want to follow up this weekend.

However, Waalwijk have only won twice on their travels this season, despite managing to score more goals away from home than they have done so on their own turf, suggesting that they could cause Alkmaar some problems with their attacks.

This will be the third meeting between these two teams this season, with Alkmaar getting revenge on Waalwijk, who won the reverse fixture at the beginning of the campaign, by defeating Sunday's visitors in the Dutch Cup in February.

AZ Alkmaar Eredivisie form:
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • D

RKC Waalwijk Eredivisie form:
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • W

Team News

Alkmaar forward Yusuf Barasi has not featured since February and he will remain sidelined for this encounter, while there are no new injury or suspension concerns for Jansen to worry about.

Tijani Reijnders came into midfield in place of Jordy Clasie last time out in the only change Jansen made to his starting 11 in midweek, but the latter is likely to return alongside Fredrik Midtsjo in the middle of the field.

Striker Pavlidis is in fine form having netted four goals in his last three matches, and he will be looking to continue that form, receiving service from Jesper Karlsson and Hakon Evjen from the wings.

Waalwijk will operate in a 3-4-1-2 formation, and likewise Oosting only made one change in midweek, bringing Jurien Gaari back into the defensive three, instead of naming Shawn Adewoye.

Finn Stokkers and Kramer will continue to lead the line, looking to add to their 14 goals between them this season, while Van der Venne will play slightly deeper than the strike duo in a number 10 role.

AZ Alkmaar possible starting lineup:
Jensen; Wijndal, Indi, Hatzidiakos, Sugawara; Clasie, Midtsjo; Karlsson, De Wit, Evjen; Pavlidis

RKC Waalwijk possible starting lineup:
Vaessen; Touba, Meulensteen, Gaari; Buttner, Oukili, Anita, Bakari; Van der Venne; Stokkers, Kramer

We say: AZ Alkmaar 2-1 RKC Waalwijk

This is expected to be a close affair between two sides in similar form, but having the home advantage on the final day of the season may just be enough to see the three points remain in Alkmaar.

The hosts have netted twice in each of their last two outings, and so they are likely to do so again, while they do not tend to keep clean sheets which is why there will be an opportunity for Waalwijk to get on the scoresheet.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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Eredivisie Table
2PSV EindhovenPSV34263586424481
4FC Twente34208655371868
5AZ AlkmaarAZ34187964442061
7FC UtrechtUtrecht341211115146547
10RKC WaalwijkRKC Waalwijk34911144051-1138
13Go Ahead Eagles34106183751-1436
14Sparta RotterdamSparta34811153048-1835
15Fortuna SittardSittard34105193667-3135
17Willem II3496193257-2533
RPEC Zwolle3476212652-2627
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