Friday, April 18, 2008


The Global Blog spoke to Michael Bradley today, ahead of Heerenveen's big match against Excelsior on Sunday. This weekend's game is the last of the Dutch Eredivisie season - the regular season that is - and with a win, Heerenveen can assure themselves of a place in the Champions League Playoffs.

Quick update: teams 2-5 in the Dutch Eredivise qualify for postseason playoffs to determine who joins the League winners in next season's Champions League competition. Last season, Heerenveen finished in fifth, but faltered in the playoffs and instead parachuted into the UEFA Cup. This year, Heerenveen is again in fifth place, and they can stay above sixth-placed Feyenoord with a win on Sunday.

Here's what Michael had to say leading up to Sunday's kickoff:

On whether it is good to be in a position to control their own destiny:

"For sure. It would have been nice to be higher up in the table, because I think there were some crucial times in the season where we dropped some points that would have been enabled us to challenge to win the league. That part is a little disappointing. Having said that, knowing that destiny is in our own hands and that we put ourselves in a position to qualify for the UEFA Champions League or the UEFA Cup is a good spot to be in. You can't ask for a whole lot more."

On whether qualifying for either European tournament will make the season a success:

"At Heerenveen we definitely have to make sure that UEFA Cup is guaranteed. We have been in that tournament for a bunch of years in a row. For a club that is going in the direction that Heerenveen is, that has to be the standard. If we can qualify for the playoffs, we have some games to see if we can get ourselves into the Champions League. Last year in the playoffs we beat Ajax at home, but didn't do well in the second leg. Hopefully we can make a real run at that this year."

On the team's form at the moment:

"We've been a little bit up and down. Like a lot of teams, you get to games at the end of the year and you are playing teams that are fighting for their lives in terms of relegation. Down the stretch we have had mixed results, but we are in a good position going into the last game of season. The atmosphere at home will be special. We have one game left to get ourselves into Europe, so I'm looking forward to it."

So it comes down to one game this weekend when Heerenveen host already-relegated Excelsior on Sunday. Be sure to check back here after the weekend to see the result...

No comments: