Key Battle: Schenkeveld v Buijs

Saturday night’s clash between Melbourne City FC and Sydney FC is shaping up to be on of the matches of the season. With two of the best attacking forces set to go head-to-head, we take a look at the key numbers between two men who will be determined to stop them in their tracks, Bart Schenkeveld and Jordy Buijs.

In many respects, Bart Schenkeveld and Jordy Buijs are very similar. The two Dutchman have made their mark on their teams and the competition in a relatively short amount of time.

Both originally from Feyenoord in Rotterdam, Schenkeveld and Buijs wear their hearts on their sleeve and have quickly become two of the most reliable defenders in the Hyundai A-League.

Following a comprehensive career in the Eredivisie, Netherlands, Schenkeveld joined City at the beginning of the 2017-18 season.

Despite his short time at the club, the 26-year-old has quickly become a fan favourite displaying his composure, speed and strength at the back.

Schenkeveld’s speed paired with his ability to anticipate play is reflected in the number of interceptions he has made this season; the City centre-back has made 38 interceptions compared to Buijs’ 16 interceptions.   

Furthermore, his defensive qualities at the back for Warren Joyce’s side is demonstrated in the number of tackles he has won (Tackles won: Schenkeveld – 17, Buijs – 9) and blocks he has made (Blocks: Schenkeveld – 10, Buijs – 7).

Similarly, Buijs joined the Sky Blues last season following a club career in the Netherlands. Like Schenkeveld, the 29-year-old made an immediate impact at his new club playing an important role in the Championship and Premiership victories.

While Schenkeveld excels at the back, Buijs enjoys pushing himself up into the attacking third of the field where he has proven to be quite damaging.  

The Sydney defender has made 17 key passes compared to Schenkeveld’s two, registered one assist and five shots on target, which is a reflection of his ability on the dead-ball as well as being on the end of them.

In defence, Buijs has made 76 clearances, 22 more than his City counterpart.

Both defenders have demonstrated their ability to carry the ball this season, registering nine successful dribbles apiece. They are also both equally impressive by foot, with Schenkeveld travelling at 90% pass accuracy and Buijs 87.5%.

In the opponents half, Schenkeveld has proven to be the more accurate of the two defenders (passing accuracy in opponents half: Schenkeveld – 81.2%, Buijs – 68.8%).

It appears that Schenkeveld’s ability to move the ball out of defence at speed has been a concerning factor for his opponents, with the City defender winning 26 fouls this season, 17 more than his opponent.

In what is set to be a blockbuster Saturday night clash, there is no doubt that both Schenkeveld and Buijs will play a crucial role for their respective teams.

City host ladder leaders Sydney FC at AAMI Park on Saturday night, kick-off 7:50pm (AEDT). Click here to get your tickets.