Preview: FC Utrecht vs. Heerenveen – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday’s Eredivisie clash between FC Utrecht and Heerenveen, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

FC Utrecht will be looking to pick up their first win of the Eredivisie season when they host Heerenveen at the Stadion Galgenwaard on Sunday afternoon.

The hosts lost away at PSV Eindhoven on the opening day, however the visitors got off to a very good start, defeating Waalwijk at the Abe Lenstra Stadion.

Match preview

Michael Silberbauer, now in charge of FC Utrecht, pictured in June 2019© Reuters

Utrecht had a very difficult start to the 2023-24 campaign, travelling to the Philips Stadion to take on PSV, and they were fairly comfortably dispatched of, losing 2-0, courtesy of goals from Noa Lang and Yorbe Vertessen.

The Utreg finished seventh in the 2022-23 season, earning themselves a place in the Eredivisie playoffs for Europa Conference League qualification, but they ultimately came up short, losing on penalties to Sparta Rotterdam in the semi-final.

Since then, Michael Silberbauer‘s side have gone on to win two and lose three of their last five games in all competitions, losing against Shakhtar Donetsk and Bologna in pre-season friendlies, while recording victories against OFI Crete and Espanyol.

As such, it is difficult to gauge how Utrecht are going to fare this season, but Silberbauer will be hoping his side can reignite their form from the end of the previous campaign, given that they won six and lost two of their final eight games.

In their first match in front of their own fans this season, Silberbauer’s side now have the perfect opportunity to get their first points on the board, against a side they have a phenomenal record against, having won the last five encounters.

The last time Heerenveen recorded a victory against Utrecht was way back in 2018, and they have not beaten them away from home since 2015, so they will have their work cut out this weekend, but they should be full of confidence.

The Super Frisians kicked off their Eredivisie campaign with a 3-1 victory at home against Waalwijk, after racing into a three-goal lead in the first half, with Ion Nicolaescu scoring his first goal for the club.

Kees van Wonderen‘s side also reached the Conference League playoffs last season, losing to eventual-winners FC Twente in the semi-finals, which indicates they are very evenly-matched with their opponents.

Heerenveen collected the majority of the points they acquired last season in away matches, which should also give them confidence heading into the game, and they have more than enough quality to bring their poor run of form against Utrecht to an end.

FC Utrecht Eredivisie form:

Heerenveen Eredivisie form:

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Team News

FC Utrecht winger Taylor Booth had to be withdrawn in the first half against PSV due to an injury issue, so his replacement that day, Marouan Azarkan, could come into the side.

Otherwise, Silberbauer has a fully-fit squad to choose from, but after the defeat last time out he may choose to make a few changes, with Zakaria Labyad, who scored against Espanyol in pre-season, potentially replacing Victor Jensen in midfield.

Heerenveen’s only notable absentee is 29-year-old defender Sven van Beek, who has been sidelined since January, with Van Wonderen unlikely to make any changes to his starting lineup, after the victory on the opening day.

After scoring his first goal for the club, Nicolaescu is set to lead the line once again, being partnered by fellow new signing David Min, in what is likely to be a 4-4-2 system.

FC Utrecht possible starting lineup:
Barkas; ter Avest, Van der Hoorn, Sagnan, El Karouani; Bozdogan, Jensen, Toornstra; Azarkan, Seuntjens, Douvikas

Heerenveen possible starting lineup:
Noppert; Ali, Van Ottele, Bochniewicz, Kohlert; Nunnely, Haye, Tahiri, Sahraoui; Olsson, Nicolaescu

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We say: FC Utrecht 1-1 Heerenveen

FC Utrecht may have won their last five matches against Heerenveen, but the two sides are clearly very evenly-matched, given their respective league finishes last season, and we expect the spoils to be shared.

Heerenveen got off to the perfect start to the campaign, and their performance that day displayed they have what it takes to pick up at least a point at the Stadion Galgenwaard.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting over 2.5 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.Over 2.5:data

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