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  • Writer's pictureOscar Schulze Casademunt

FC Groningen Climb Into Fifth Place in Eerste Divisie After Win Over Jong AZ Alkmaar

FC Groningen have continued a blistering run of form with a convincing win against mid-table side Jong AZ Alkmaar, elating fans in a 4-1 victory. 

Euroborg Stadium
Euroborg Stadium © Oscar Schulze

The Pride of the North gave fans at the Euroborg Stadium plenty to cheer about with a dominant attacking performance, marking a fifth consecutive home win and seven matches undefeated at their backyard in the Eerste Divisie. 

Their home has become a fortress, and the crowd have responded, says Kees Wesselink-Schram, 29. "These days people cheer a lot more,” he says, “and when something goes

wrong people are more optimistic!" 

The three points have lifted FC Groningen into fifth place, four points off De Graafschap in fourth place, (with a game in hand) a position that the club haven't been in since the end of September. 

FC Groningen are the most in-form team in the league currently, going thirteen matches undefeated and winning nine out of the last ten games. Auke, 27, attributes this improvement to new manager Dick Luckien, who came to the helm after the club's relegation last season, their first demotion in twenty-three years. 

"The first few games were rough, “ Auke says, as is usually the case with a new manager and a broken team.” Indeed, FC Groningen fans had to go through an adjustment period, seeing their club languish in fourteenth place in November last year. What fans are currently seeing, however, could not be more different.   

"There's a structure now,” Auke says, “a starting eleven that makes a lot of sense.” The team's successes have made for easier viewing, he explains. ”It feels amazing,” Auke laughs, “I don't dread cycling to the stadium anymore." 

A big part of FC Groningen's upturn has been the recent performances of striker Romano Postema. The central forward came into the side following the temporary absence of Kevin van Veen on personal leave, and has become the club's leading goalscorer. 

The Tonny van Leeuwen statue outside the Euroborg Stadium
The Tonny van Leeuwen statue outside the Euroborg Stadium © Oscar Schulze

Postema has scored ten goals in all competitions this season, notching a goal contribution in the past six matches, including a brace on two occasions. This rich vein of form has not escaped the attention of fans. 

“I have always been charmed by Postema,” Kees says, “and recently he has started to convert chances into goals.” The forward's efficiency in front of goal has also impressed Jan, 21, who admits to being taken aback by Postema's form. “He is very hard working and his finishing has improved a lot!” 

Any player's success is bound to delight fans, but Postema's story may mean even more to locals as he was born and bred in Groningen. He honed his trade at native clubs DIO Groningen and GVAV-Rapiditas before joining FC Groningen's academy at the age of 11.

Auke explains how important it is to him that the club's star players are local. "It's great that Postema and the other local lads who came up through this club are now the ones saving it," he explains.

Fans will hope that Postema can find the back of the net once more in Friday's fixture against FC Dordrecht, who are staying hot on FC Groningen's tail in sixth place. The Pride of the North will hope to avoid a repeat of the reverse fixture, which ended in a pulsating 2-2 draw at the Euroborg Stadium. 

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