It may be PSV’s first competitive encounter against LASK, but yet there will be some familiar faces in the Philips Stadion on Thursday night.
Van Bommel and Valérien Ismaël
Mark van Bommel was a team mate of Valérien Ismaël, LASK’s current manager, during his spell with FC Bayern München. They two of them were not frequently team mates as Israel faced a lengthy spell on the sidelines with injury. “We got on together really well, both on and off the field. He was a genuine team player.” After one season in Munich, the Frenchman made a move to Hannover, while Van Bommel continued his career in Munich. Ismael guided LASK to the Europa League group stages for the first time in the club’s history.
One of the LASK midfielders has the fascinating name of James Holland. He started his career in his homeland Australia before joining AZ. PSV centre back Nick Viergever made a move from Sparta Rotterdam to AZ one year later. The two of them spent one season together at AZ Alkmaar, after which Holland joined Sparta Rotterdam on loan. Holland plied his trade all over the world, in Austria, Germany, Australia and China, before he returned to Austria when he signed a contract with LASK.
Former PSV player Marcel Ritzmaier is with the Austrian side Wolfsberger AC this season. The midfielder looked ahead to Thursday’s clash with LASK. “I think PSV are slight favourites to win. They are among the big sides in Europe. Their head coach Mark van Bommel has instilled a fighting spirit into his players. PSV play high up the pitch and never struggle in terms of self-confidence.” Ritzmaier joined the PSV Academy in 2018 and returned to his native country Austria in 2018.