It started badly – with a 0:4 defeat against PSV Eindhoven in the Dutch Super Cup, but then it was better. Ajax Amsterdam Erica Ten Hague scares her competitors in the country and Europe again! In the Eredivisie, the Dutch champions are leading with 36 points in 15 matches and an amazing goal balance of 48:2, in the Champions League, in turn, they overtook the group with Borussia Dortmund, Sporting Lisbon and Besiktas Istanbul, becoming only the winners. The seventh team in the history of the biggest European matches that concludes the group stage with a full set of points. The 20:5 goal balance means one thing – it’s December and Ajax are on the cusp of over 70 goals in the 2021/22 season! And the aforementioned PSV Eindhoven players managed more than one response in the league, winning by up to 5:0.
A fairy tale without a happy ending that can’t be repeated
Perhaps Erik ten Haga will be able to achieve what they were very close to in 2018/19. In that time, Ajax stunned all football in Europe, before the Champions League final, eliminating Real Madrid and Juventus on their way to the semi-finals. In the semi-finals, the Dutch won away from Tottenham 1-0, in the rematch at home they were leading into a 2-0 and 45-minute break from the final in Madrid. In the second half, Lucas Moura scored three goals, including the decisive goal in the 96th minute, and the coach Mauricio Pochettino’s team traveled to the Spanish capital, and the beautiful fairy tale in Amsterdam had a very sad ending.
Journalists, fans and experts had no doubts – Ajax deserved the final, but such a beautiful story will be very difficult to repeat. The great powers of Europe have prepared themselves for Ten Haga’s greatest talent. With time Frenkie de Jong Barcelona, Matthijs de Ligt from Juventus, Hakim Ziyech from ChelseaWhich is what Donny van de Beek does Manchester United. In addition, the team left such experienced people as Lacey Schön, Joel Feltman, Claes Jan Huntelaar and Kasper Dolberg.
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There is not much left of the team that charmed the world of football. However, its chief architect remained in the Amsterdam Arena – coach Erich Ten Hag, who immediately began to build another team that would be the best in Holland and would perform well in Europe. We had to wait two years for the effects.
Great Ajax, Haller record holder. “This team is better than it was in 2018/19.”
4:0 and 3:1 with Borussia Dortmund, 2:0 and 2:1 with Besiktas and 5:2 and 4:2 with Sporting – these consequences It allowed Ajax Amsterdam to achieve the third best result in the group stage in the history of the Champions League. He played better Bavaria Monacia With Robert Lewandowski in the 2019/20 winning season (18 points, goals: 24:5) and Real Madrid by Jose Mourinho in the 2011/12 season (18 points, 19:2).
In addition, Spartak Moscow (1995/96, 18 points, 15:4), Barcelona (2002/03, 18 points, 13:4), again Real Madrid (2014/15, 18 points, 16:2). Current Liverpool (2021/22, 18 points, 17:6), and the team of the day is likely to also join this group on Wednesday. BayernIf only to beat Barcelona back at home.
In addition to the team record, there is also an individual record Sebastian Hallerwho ran to the border 10 Champions League goals in just six of their first matches in this competition, beating Erling Haaland’s achievement (seven matches). The amazing Haller is also the second player in Champions League history, after Cristiano Ronaldo, to score goals in all group stage matches. Here too, the Bayern Munich representative could join the group of record holders on Wednesday Robert Lewandowski.
And although it is unlikely that Ajax will win 250 million euros for the current players, as in the case of De Jong – De Ligt, Van de Beek – Ziyech Quartet, its captain, the experienced Serbian Dusan Tadic And in an interview with “De Telegraaf” he was surprised by the opinion, as he compared the current Ajax to another three seasons ago. – I think this team is better than our 2018/2019 team – said Tadic.
– We’ve made great progress in recent months. Comparing these teams is still difficult. We were very good in 2019 as well, but now we have different players with different personalities. A couple of years ago, we were probably a little naive. Now we have really strong players, and mentally strong as well. We have many South Americans. These are real warriors. In this regard, this team is smarter and smarter – he analyzed the midfielder for Ajax and the national team Serbia.
In fact, while the Dutch were the heart of the 2018/19 season, Ajax now has several players from Brazil and Argentina. The Brazilians Anthony and David Neres are crazy on the wings, the Argentines defend Nicolas Tagliafico and Lisandro Martinez, and Mexico’s Edson Alvarez in the midfield. In addition, Ajax has the classic “nine” of Sebastian Haller, who has scored 19 goals in all competitions this season, while three years ago Tadic played the false nine, and Dolberg or Huntelaar only came from the bench.
“They made the unreal.” Best in Europe “beside City, Bayern and Liverpool”
The Dutch media is taking a quiet approach to Ajax’s feat. They are already focused on the 2021 F1 season finale, as he fights for the world championship Max Verstappen. More can be found on purely football websites, such as Voetbal International, which are concerned with the position of the national champion. “They have accomplished the impossible” – this is how VI.nl calls his novel. De Telegraaf added, “Ajax is the first Dutch club to win all their group stage matches in the Champions League season.”
The Dutch report that thanks to his excellent game, Ajax earned less than 70 million euros in this edition of the Champions League, and pointed to the former Dutch football stars who admired the behavior of the Ten Haga team.
“It’s really amazing what Ajax achieved in a year in terms of quality,” Raphael van der Vaart In Ziggo Sport. You are playing against very good sporting and you actually win this game very easily. It is really special.
– Ajax is among the best teams on the continent, next to Liverpool, Manchester City and Bayern Munich – he said on RTL7 TV. Frank de BoerWho, however, is cautious about Monday’s final 1/8 draw. – You must be lucky, because you can face a really difficult opponent. I do not like, for example, Paris Saint-Germain – he did not hide.
The biggest challenge is yet to come
What is coach Tin Hag’s reaction to his players’ match? We’ve shown that all the greats take us seriously. We carry these six victories with us. We warned our next opponents – he said after the last win with Sporting (4:2). – We have accumulated a lot of experience over the years. Now it appears. Competitors know what the requirements are for them. We want to turn the best and look forward to the draw – he added Eric Ten Hag.
There are more and more indications that the 51-year-old will leave the Amsterdam squad after the season. Although his contract with Ajax expires in 2023, there are many indications that after this season the Dutchman will take over one of the European powers, among which is the most popular Manchester United.
– I think I’m ready for it. I’d like to take on this challenge, but I’m not chasing it. If it turns out later that this step will never happen, I will not say that my coaching career has failed. However, I think I have the competencies to meet this challenge – said Ten Hag recently in an interview with de Volkskrant.
This exit from The Hague would be the end of a glorious era in the Dutch capital, and finding a suitable successor (or persuading him to stay in Amsterdam) would be more important than replacing any Dutch champion. Therefore, in front of the president Edwinim van der Sarim and sporting director Marc Overmars, with whom the club recently extended his contract until 2026 and announced it in an original way on social media, the biggest challenge in their work at the Johan Cruyff Arena to date.
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