Created on 25-02-2010 at 00:00 AM
Five Dutchmen on the field of play, two in the Bayern dugout, the Netherlands head coach in the stands, and even the turf at the Allianz Arena comes from Holland: when Bayern entertain Hamburger SV in the top-of-the-table Bundesliga clash on Sunday, the stadium’s legendary pulsating red glow will undoubtedly feature a touch of orange.
“It’s an all-orange match, with lots of Dutch guys on the field and the touchlines. It’ll be a laugh,” grinned Bayern skipper Mark van Bommel. “Orange is a great colour, especially in football,” added midfield star Arjen Robben, who is especially looking forward to a reunion with Ruud van Nistelrooy. HSV’s big winter signing played alongside Robben for Real Madrid until recently. “I know him well. He’s my friend,” Robben revealed.
Hesselink to Van Gaal
Van Bommel and Robben represent Bayern’s Dutch contingent in the team, with fellow-countryman Louis van Gaal in the coaching hot seat. The 58-year-old’s assistant is Andries Jonker, and two further Dutch experts (Jos van Diyk and Max Reckers) are on the coaching staff.
“Football is only ever a contest between one team and another, but on Sunday it’ll definitely be a game among Dutchmen,” Van Gaal said in the build-up to the match, which also features celebrations to mark Bayern’s 110th anniversary. Fittingly enough, the first head coach in the club’s long history was Arnheim-born Dr. Willem Hesselink (1903 to 1908).
Bondscoach in the stands
Hamburg have also turned to the neighbouring Low Countries for playing talent this term. Alongside the prolific Van Nistelrooy (“When he’s fit and in the groove, he’s still one of the best in the world,” Robben warned), who is not a confirmed starter on Sunday due to a strain, both Joris Mathijsen and Eljero Elia are regulars in the starting line-up. Hamburg’s fourth Netherlands ace, Romeo Castelan, is currently working his way back from injury.
Unsurprisingly, Bondscoach Bert van Marwijk intends to watch the Dutch get-together in the Bundesliga, running the rule over his international hopefuls three days prior to a friendly meeting with the USA. While in Munich, Van Marwijk will presumably take the opportunity to visit his daughter and grandchildren, who bear the surname Van Bommel.