The draw of the first round took place on Aug 25, 2018. The draw had only two restrictions: (1) any non-professional club was sure to play at home when facing a professional opponent and (2) the European Cup contenders (PSV, Ajax, Feyenoord, Vitesse and AZ Alkmaar) were sure not to face each other in the first round.
The draw resulted in a few unique matches, such as HVV Te Werve (7th tier) against Ajax and VV Gemert (5th tier) against defending cup winners Feyenoord. Great opportunities for such small clubs to make a name for themselves, although the Euro Club Index does not fancy their chances to progress to the second round (approximately 1%). Still, we cannot rule out such surprises, such as the legendary triumph of AVV Swift against Vitesse last season.
However, not all first round matches are expected to be unbalanced. Surprisingly enough, the most balanced game is expected to be Rijnsburgse Boys (3rd tier) against TOP Oss (2nd tier). According to the Euro Club Index, both clubs have a 50% chance to progress to the second round. For the ties between two professional clubs, a tight match between Excelsior (1st tier) and NEC Nijmegen (2nd tier) is expected, with Excelsior having the upper hand with a 62% chance to win.
To win the TOTO KNVB cup, a club must win a total of seven rounds. Because the draw is unrestricted from the second round forward, the difficulty of the road to the final (Apr 22, 2019) is determined throughout the season for every club. This implies that the favorites to win the cup are PSV (33%) and Ajax (32%), followed by last season’s finalists Feyenoord (13%) and AZ (8%). Since PSV and Ajax both have a habit of using the TOTO KNVB Cup to field a number of reserves, they have not been able to live up to the expectations, with PSV snatching up their last Dennenappel in 2012 and Ajax in 2010.
Players to watch
A remarkable start of the season sees Heracles Almelo sitting in fourth place in the Eredivisie. Forward Kristoffer Peterson is on top of his game, scoring seven goals in the first six matches, equaling the club record set by Hennie van Nee in 1964. If Peterson is not rested by manager Frank Wormuth, FC Den Bosch (2nd tier) is in for a hell of a ride.
With four goals in six matches for Jong FC Utrecht, striker Nick Venema made his first appearance in this season’s Eredivisie coming on as a substitute last week in the match against FC Emmen and his second appearance last weekend against Feyenoord. The young striker is likely to get his chance in the match against MVV Maastricht (2nd tier).
(Photos by Pro Shots)