Ajax have enjoyed a trophy-laden season. They have managed to achieve the domestic double winning Eredivisie and KNVB cup this year. The club from Amsterdam haven’t won the league in the past 4 years while they have lifted the cup trophy only for a second time this decade – their first triumph in 9 years. However, their most memorable performances were in UCL.
Ajax raised many eyebrows in their clashes with Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Juventus. They were seconds away from reaching the Champions League final after 23 years pause. We will review their road to the success.
Ajax were eager to improve their position as they finished as runners up in 2017-2018 season. The Jews have acted wisely on the transfer market. Daley Blind has returned to the team after a couple of years in Manchester United which was their most expensive investment. Another transfer was the acquisition of Dusan Tadic which proved to be a great move. At the same time, Justin Kluivert was the only key player who departed the club in the summer.
Ajax drew with Heracles in their opening league game at Amsterdam Arena – a result not their fans hoped for. Eric ten Hag’s men have won 4 consecutive games after that. However, they were outclassed by PSV Eindhoven in their visit to Phillips Arena. Despite that disappointing result, the Jews have quickly found their form and recorded 11 wins on the trot.
They easily won the derby with Feyenord beating them 3-0. Moreover, a couple of other results stand out over their winning run – Excelsior were hammered 1-7 away from home while De Graafshap were trashed 8-0 in Amsterdam.
Ajax scored 4 or more goals in 6 of those encounters. Their attacking style was not a surprise and brought back the memories of the glory days when Johan Cruyff had inspired the football world. Ajax failed to win on only 4 more occasions. The key moment in the title battle was the direct clash between them and PSV. The team from the capital have defeated their opponents 3-1 which moved them into a poll position to be crowned as champions.
They have won the league in the last game, but the battle was all but won when PSV were beaten the weekend before. Ajax have scored the eye-watering 119 goals – 20 more than their title rivals. They were undefeated at home and hold the best away record in the division.
Ajax started their road to the final eliminating HVV Te Werve and G. A. Eagles in the first two rounds. Their biggest challenge was when they have faced Roda in the 1/8-finals. They qualify for the next stage after a penalty shootout. Eric ten Hag’s men weren’t troubled by Heerenveen in the next round. Their most impressive result was the – 3-0 away win against Feyenord in the 1/2-finals. Ajax had no problems to beat 4-0 Willem 2 in the final and won their 19th National cup.
Uefa Champions League
Ajax have needed to go through 3 qualifying rounds in order to reach the group stage of the tournament. They have eliminated Sturm Graz, Standart Liege and Dinamo Kyiv and returned among the best teams in Europe. The Jews were drawn in a group with Bayern Munich, Benfica and AEK Athens. They qualify for the 1/8-finals undefeated in the competition.
Their first lost was against Real Madrid – 1-2 at home. However, they shocked the defending champions 1-4 at the Santiago Bernabeu to guarantee a clash against Juventus. Eric ten Hag’s side were outsiders again after 1-1 at Amsterdam Arena. But another upset was on the cards and Ajax have won 2-1 in Torino.
The team from Amsterdam was in a great position to qualify for the final after another win in their European visits – 1-0 against Tottenham. They had 2-0 lead at home in the second leg, but have allowed a comeback. Lucas Moura has completed his hat-trick in the injury time to throw them away from the Champions League. Despite the great disappointment of being so closed to the final, Ajax have won many neutral fans with their attacking approach.
Ajax are team turning youngsters into top players. Their transfer policy is involving a lot selling players, so the current team won’t available for the next Eredivisie season for sure. Hakim Ziyech is Ajax top gun achieving the impressive 8.54 rating thanks to his 19 goals and 16 assists. Currently, his name is involved in rumors about Man United and Arsenal transfers. We already wrote about how impressed we are watching Dusan Tadic, but let’s check out the top 10 players by WhoScored rating:
Stats source: WhoScored.com