April 18 (Reuters) - Dutch provincial club PEC Zwolle will seek to make the swift ascension from lower league football to a first Europa League appearance even sweeter by wining Sunday s Dutch Cup final against giants Ajax Amsterdam.
With Ajax already guaranteed a Champions League place, PEC will play in Europe for the first time next season no matter the result of the final after a whirlwind campaign where they led the Dutch league at one point and are on the verge of a first piece of major silverware.
To win the cup would be the cream on top, it would make the season even more marvellous, coach Ron Jans told reporters this week ahead of Sunday s final.
But PEC, who won promotion to the top flight two seasons ago, start as overwhelming underdogs for the match in Rotterdam against an Ajax side who are one point away from clinching a fourth successive championship.
Ajax, who still have two league games to play after the cup final, could have secured the title last Sunday but were denied when Feyenoord scored an unexpected win at PSV Eindhoven, which Ajax coach Frank de Boer said had proven a blessing.
Had we won on Sunday it would have meant we would have been in a bed past 3am a few times this week with a lot of alcohol in our system, he said.
But now the tension is still high and that s necessary. You can t play a match at 80 percent. Bayern Munich have shown that in their recent games, he said of the German side s defeats after winning the Bundesliga.
Ajax have Finnish international defender Niklas Moisander back from injury and he is likely to replace the suspended Joel Veltman. Captain Siem de Jong and Viktor Fischer have not recovered from injury, however.
If Ajax win they extend to 19 their record number of Dutch Cup titles. Their last was four years ago.
PEC s only appearances in the final came in 1928 and 1977. (Writing by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Patrick Johnston)