Ajax-PSV: a philosophical rivalry that dominates the Dutch mindset

Never one to shirk from speaking his mind, PSV Eindhoven striker Dries Mertens described his sideâÂÂs late-February win over Feyenoord as âÂÂkampioenswedstrijdâ â âÂÂchampionship gameâÂÂ. That came back to bite him, but even if we're still three games shy of the winter break there's no better word to describe tomorrow's Amsterdam clash between Ajax and, six points above them, PSV.

If Ajax-Feyenoord is De Klassieker, then this is what the Italians would call the Derby dei Paesi Bassi: the derby for the country. It's a clash between the two most trophy-laden sides and essentially a clash of two competing schools of thought in Dutch football: PSVâÂÂs workmanlike ethic, historically preferring a more robust 4-3-1-2 or 4-2-3-1, shunning the typically seductive 4-3-3 approach favoured in Amsterdam.

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