Tuesday, 25 June 2019

A Sensational Season Story: Fortuna Sittard

The Sensational Season Story so far has focused on a team's finish in the European places however, there have been brilliant stories at other spectrums of the table. One of those being Eredivisie debutants Fortuna Sittard who survived relegation in their first ever season in the Dutch top flight. 

The small Dutch club based in the small city of Sittard have defied all expectations and survived relegation thereby securing a second Eredivisie season. The players have dug in and managed to pull off a tremendous achievement and no doubt the club will look to build on their first season. Departing manager Rene Eijer did a magnificent job with them. 34 points from their 34 league games was enough to avoid relegation and the dreaded relegation play-offs. Some of their highlights in their debut season included a terrific win at Rotterdam's De Kuip stadium as they stunned Feyenoord.

A season of triumph at Fortuna Sittard avoiding relegation by a single point. Despite their inconsistencies for much of the campaign, Eijer's team brought excitement, intrigue and plenty of goals. Fortuna Sittard had the worst defence in the Eredivisie conceding 80 goals which over 2 goals a game. Their defence will need major improvement if they are to avoid relegation next season but they have proved they are a team that can score goals. Fortuna Sittard notched 50 goals with their top scorer Andrija Novakovich scoring 9 of those. The striker impressed for the Eredivisie new boys and they will be hoping to bring him back to the club providing they can reach an agreement with Championship side Reading. Other players that impressed for Fortuna included midfielders Mark Diemers and Lazaros Lamprou. Captain Diemers led by example and was a key figure in the heart of the team with the dynamic central midfielder notching 7 goals and setting up 7 more. Diemers will be central once again next season as the club head into another transitional period.  Meanwhile, young Greek midfielder Lazaros Lamprou also impressed in his debut Eredivisie season. The 21-year-old attacking midfielder scored 7 goals and set up 6 more in his 24 appearances. Another man impressing was goalkeeper Alexei Koselev. The Russian keeper enjoyed a terrific season and despite conceding 80 goals, he kept out plenty more and Fortuna Sittard will be hoping he remains at the club this summer. 

Fortuna Sittard's aggressive approach did frustrate their opposition throughout the season and they will need to keep that aggression heading into the new season. Fortuna Sittard were excellent on the counter-attack despite their poor defensive record and no doubt they will tapping into that once again next season.  But the new season will bring plenty of change as the likes of Finn Stokkers, Lars Hutten, Kai Herrings and Ruben Ramirez will leave the club this summer as will Rene Eijer who was sacked despite keeping the club in the Eredivisie.

His replacement is the former FC Twente and Helmond Sport assistant manager Sjors Ultee. The 32-year-old arrives on a one year contract with an option to extend that. He is highly regarded at the club but faces a tough job in his first steps into management. Survival will be their aim and their squad needs major improvements heading into the new season despite the success of the previous season. All the loan players have departed as well as seven players being released at the end of their contracts so big work lies ahead.

Fortuna Sittard had a terrific first season in the Dutch top flight and the fans will certainly have fond memories of their first ever campaign in the Eredivisie. However, the fans will hope second season syndrome doesn't kick in. Fortuna Sittard enjoyed a sensational season and they will hope the positive momentum built up will carry into the new season.

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