The quality of the Dutch Eredivisie is devaluating for years, but there are still only 5 clubs in Europe with more Champions League trophies than Ajax Amsterdam. Dutch football is getting weaker every years, which makes it harder for Dutch teams to qualify for the Champions League. This season is the first time that none of the Dutch teams automatically qualifies for the main tournament. The Eredivisie champions PSV will need to beat Bate Borisov in the CL play-offs to reach the main tournament. Ajax Amsterdam finished second in the Eredivisie, which means they need to survive three qualification rounds to enter the Champions League. After beating Sturm Graz in the first round, they beat Standard Liège in the second round. Ajax reaches Champions League play-offs thanks to this result.
Ajax reaches Champions League play-offs
The first leg of this tie was last week in Belgium. Ajax took a 2-0 lead before half-time, but the Belgiums managed to draw level in the dying second of the match. This 2-2 score was one that Ajax would have taken if you asked them before the match, but after being 2-0 up it caused some nerves in the Dutch capital. In the second leg things turned the better for Ajax in the first half. it was veteran striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar who opened to score for a very strong Ajax side. Only a few minutes later it was 19 year old captain Matthijs de Ligt who scored the 2-0 for Ajax. People still stayed a bit worried, since they gave away a 2-0 lead in the previous match, but in the first minute of the second half, David Neres scored the 3-0 and finished the job.
Important for development
Ajax takes on Dinamo Kyiv in the Champions League play-offs, which is going to be a very tough match. The Ukrainian side always has a strong team and Ajax needs to bring their A-game twice to have a chance. As a fan of Dutch football I’m really hoping both Ajax and PSV will make it to the Champions League main tournament.
The Dutch Eredivisie has always been a pool of talent and this Ajax team has some very interesting players in their squad. Youngsters like Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong are linked to Barcelona daily. While the likes of David Neres, Andre Onana and Hakim Ziyech are all watched by the top teams in Europe. It would be great for Ajax to keep this squad together and quality for the Champions League. All these players together should be able to show Europe what they got. Their value will only grow when they do bits in Europe. Ajax reaches Champions League play-offs is the first step, are they able to take the last step and qualify for the main tournament?