For those unfamiliar, this will serve as a quick breakdown of the layout and structure of club football (soccer) in the Netherlands.
The top tier of Dutch football is called the Eredivisie (18 teams). The divisions below the Eredivisie include, in order, the Eerste Divisie (20 teams), the Tweede Divisie (18 teams), and the Derde Divisie (36 teams in 2 groups). The Eredivisie’s most recognizable club is probably AFC Ajax. The league does not currently have a television contract in the United States. Seasons typically begin in August and end in May with each team playing each other twice (once each on each other’s home pitch) for a total of 34 games for each team. At the end of each season, the bottom two or three teams are relegated down to Eerste Divisie, while two or three other teams are promoted up from Eerste Divisie for the following season.
KNVB Beker (Dutch Cup): Participants in this cup tournament include all teams from the top three tiers of Dutch football, as well as 24 semi-finalists of regional amateur cup tournaments. In ’17-’18, 103 teams competed in the KNVB Beker. Matches are played periodically throughout the season intertwining with the Eredivisie schedule. The winner of the cup gets a berth in the following season’s Europa League competition as well as a spot in the Johan Cruyff Shield match.
Johan Cruyff Shield (Dutch Supercup): single match contest played at a neutral location in August between the winners of the Eredivisie and the KNVB Beker from the previous season.
Notes from 2017-2018 season:
Eredivisie Champion – PSV Eindhoven
KNVB Beker (Dutch Cup) Champion – Feyenoord
Johan Cruyff Shield (Dutch Super Cup) Winner – Feyenoord
Eredivisie Promoted teams – Sittard, FC Emmen, Graafschap
Eredivisie Relegated teams – Twente, Sparta Rotterdam, Roda
Champions League ’18-’19 Qualifiers – PSV Eindhoven, AFC Ajax
Europa League ’18-’19 Qualifiers – AZ Alkmaar, Feyenoord, Vitesse
The 2018-2019 Eredivisie season begins on August 10, 2018. Here is a look at some preseason odds to win the league: