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FM21 Ajax Amsterdam - The Hunt for European Glory


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Hello everyone,

 

After playing FM (and CM as it was called when I fell in love with the game) for 20 years now, it's time to write my first story. I've always been enjoying reading other career stories like children enjoy fairy tale books, so here we go! I traditionally start every FM game with my beloved Ajax.

Looking forward to your comments and feel free to drop any questions and experiences from your Ajax saves.

 

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Goals season 1

With this squad we definitely need to win the Eredivisie. I want to win the double, so also the cup. We'll need to see what's realistic in the CL, depends a bit on the draw of course, but I'm aiming at the quarter finals as a minimum.

 

The Squad

I think the squad is already well balanced. Defensively very solid with Onana, Tagliafico and Alvarez. Lots of talent and experience on midfield with e.g. Gravenberch, Blind and Tadic. Brazilian samba on the wings with Antony and Neres but not a true number 9 in my opinion. With the highest starting budget I've seen for Ajax so far in FM, €50m, I will try to strengthen the team but I do prefer to start with the current squad as much as possible.

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Transfers

My key priority is a creative CM who can provide me with assists and goals. Next, I want a back up LB and will try to find an additional winger. The result:

 

- Vínicius Júnior - Real Madrid - LW - Loan (€1.5m), no option to buy

- Yusuf Yazici - Lille - CM - € 6.25m (pot. €7.5m)

- Baba Rahman - Chelsea - LB - € 6m

  

  Oliver Aertssen - Liverpool - CV - €925k (was on youth contract, couldn't reject)

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Very happy with the transfers, I was surprised my initial, low bid on Yazici got immediately accepted by Lille. Rahman fits the system well, decent back-up for Nico and Vínicius Júnior is very welcome and will solve my striker issue as I will now play Antony up front. I don't like loaning players without an option to buy, but given his quality I guess this is a scoop.

 

Tactics

Since FM20 I'm successfully playing Gegenpress if the squad allows me to do so. Ajax perfectly fits this attacking style, so a no brainer for me. Due to the arrival of Vínicius Júnior I will play with Antony up front. This will give me amazing pace and dribbling qualities on the wings and up front. I want Yazici to be a key player so he's my advanced playmaker, allowing Tadic at #10 to attack as much as possible.

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PS. Please note I started the save before the winter update.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by bart__goes
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Posted (edited)

First season results:

- Winner Eredivisie

- Winner KNVB Beker (Dutch Cup)

- Champions League: defeated in quarter finals by Bayern Munich

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Eredivisie

The complete top 4 played went head to head for almost the complete season, really nice to see the others performing better than in previous FMs.

Antony has been an absolute beast scoring 27 goals in 44 matches. Vínicius Júnior was unstoppable and Yazici an absolute bargain with with 10 goals and 15 assists of which 9 of 10 goals were absolute crackers. I've read it in another blog as well, but Lassina Traoré was the best second striker you could wish for. Doesn't matter how many minutes he got, he always scored ending at 20 goals in 45 matches of which he only started in 10. What a beast this man is!

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KNVB Beker (Dutch Cup)

We started with a tricky first match against Vitesse which we won after penalties. Next, my substitutes showed why they are not my first XI as they had a difficult game against RKC Waalwijk, so I had to bring on a couple of my starting players which turned it around in the second half. The final against cup fighters FC Utrecht was a true football show.

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Champions League

The stage where the world fell in love again with Ajax in recent years is the stage I want to have my biggest success. I have been struggling in recent FMs.

I couldn't complain about our group with Bayern Munich, Club Brugge and Olympiakos. An unnecessary lost in Germany was followed by wins against Brugge and Olympiakos home and away. Next, we beat Bayern at home in an amazing match. We won it late, again Traoré as a sub who made 2-1, but fully deserved it. A win in Belgium and we would have finished as group leaders, but after an amazing start we lost unfortunately.

Dortmund wasn't the toughest possible opponent, but I did fear Haaland and Sancho I have to admit (and not for no reason, they scored both in the first leg). In a beautiful match Yazici (1 goal and 2 assists) and Antony (2 goals) delivered us a 4-2 win. In these European matches I play Blind as DLP just in front of my central defenders. In a packed Signal Iduna Park we countered to a 0-1 win, we didn't had any problems at all.

Next, we drew Bayern again and I was hopeful after our group win at home. Unfortunately Bayern was the better team in both matches, which they won both 2-1. Not a disaster to be eliminated by Bayern in the quarter finals, but I hoped for more. Again Traoré scored as a sub in Munich, what a player this is.

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Free Winter transfers and Summer targets

I always try to get some players for free in December, just to deepen the squad or to sell them not long after to make some money.

IN:

- Eric Garcia (Man City)

- Joshua King (Bournemouth)

- Marco van Ginkel (Chelsea)

- Sergio Gómez (Dortmund)

- Jetro Willems (Frankfurt)

- Fosu-Mensah (Man Utd)

- Mo Besic (Everton)

- Theo (Real Madrid)

OUT:

- Huntelaar (CSKA)

- Noa Lang (Club Brugge), was part of his contract already

 

Already quote some players will arrive in Amsterdam. But Summer is the time to strengthen my first XI to create a solid team for my second season. I want to be the Bayern Munich of the Netherlands (no, not because they knocked me out of the CL :)) and thus buy the best players from PSV and AZ. Priority is a striker, although Antony did very well, I would love to have Malen or Boadu which allows me to play Antony on the right wing.

With Vínicius Júnior going back to Madrid I also want an extra pacy winger. I'm thinking to sell Mazraoui for a nice price to create some funds and buy a better RB.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Edited by bart__goes
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  • 2 weeks later...

Finished my 2nd season:

- Winner Eredivisie

- Winner KNVB Beker (Dutch Cup)

- Winner Johan Cruijff Schaal (Super Cup)

- Champions League finalists

 

Almost a perfect season. We won all domestic prices, I hoped to become the Dutch Invincibles but our undefeated streak in the Eredivisie ended in March when we lost 2-1 at FC Twente (only game we lost in the Eredivisie). We beat PSV very easily with 4-1 in the Super Cup and 3-1 in the Cup final with their starboy, Malen, back to where he belongs; in an Ajax shirt.

We had a magnificent CL campaign. Group leaders after winning all matches except for a draw at Benfica (others were CSKA and Fenerbahçe, easy draw). Next, we took revenge at Bayern by beating them twice! Maybe our best match of the season was Real Madrid at home in the quarter finals; 4-1 (hattrick Malen!). Almost got FMed in the away match (5-2 loss, conceding in 86th and 88th mins.) but went through based on away goals. Bit of a lucky draw in the semi finals with Lazio, although they smashed Man U in their quarter finals. We won 1-0 at home and drew 3-3 away. Finally we lost the CL final 2-0 against City in what you can call the most boring final ever. 2 chances, 2 goals while we had all possession but only created 1 chance. Very disappointing end to an amazing season.

David Neres was the absolute hero of the season (played him as a left winger), scoring 23 goals and providing 17 assists. Malen scored 27 in 44, not bad but I'm expecting more in his second season. A lot of pace was added to the first XI by buying Dodo (2 goals, 8 assists), Adama Traoré (13 goals and 10 assists in 43 matches while only starting 22 of them) and Cengiz Ünder (loan with option to buy of 29m). Blind and Eric Garcia also had an amazing season.

Due to our CL success we also qualified for the World Cup for Clubs, nice stage to be present with Ajax again. Unfortunately we got knocked out again by City, losing 2-1 in the quarter finals. At least a much better game, time for revenge in the 3rd season!

 

Transfers

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League table

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Matches

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  • 1 month later...
Posted (edited)

3rd and final season:

- Winner Eredivisie - Undefeated!

- Winner KNVB Beker (Dutch Cup)

- Winner Johan Cruijff Schaal (Super Cup)

- Champions League semi-finalists (City again..)

 

We started the season by winning the Super Cup with 8-1 against AZ, with Malen scoring 5 goals. A performance that would be characteristic for his season; 43 goals in 41 matches. Very delighted to have become undefeated champions in de Eredivisie. New players like Camavinga (58m) and Koulibaly (40m) turned out to be the stars of the 3rd season.

Unfortunately I didn't win the CL. After finishing 2nd in a group with Man City, Inter and Fenerbahçe we beat Dortmund by 5-1 over 2 matches in the second round. Highlight of the campaign was beating Liverpool 3-0 at home in the quarter final after dominating but drawing (1-1) at Anfield. Man City have really been the only club I couldn't beat, knocking us out in the semis..

Although there's still lots of potential in the squad - next to the big names I owned lots of wonderkids who were developing really well (e.g. Badiashile, Joelson Fernandes, Zirkzee, Musiala, Gravenberch, Ünüvar, Brobbey) - I need a new challenge as I'm pretty done with the Eredivise.

So it's time for a new save. Time to bring back Arsenal to the top, please follow my updates here: 

 

 

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Edited by bart__goes
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