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[FM16] Ajax Amsterdam - Building a dynasty of youth

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Youth Intake 2027


Before March approached I was hoping we could finally get a talented centre-back (or even two) and a solid winger from this season's youth intake. We really needed some new players in central defense or this will hurt us in the near future. When the date finally came, our youth candidates squad looked like this:



All my prayers were answered! Excellent left-back and two great central defenders. Solid midfielder is a bonus. The rest of the bunch looks decent too, at least they're capable of some Jupiler League football for Jong Ajax in a couple of seasons. 

In summary, I'm very excited about those youngsters and I feel we have very good cover for all positions now, for at least 3-4 seasons.


Derian Tepperik


Wonderful player! Driven, professional and consistent. All good attributes. Only weakness is his short height and lack of aerial presence.


Moreno Markiet


Talented player, but few doubts about his future. Balanced nature and my coaches say his professionalism is not up to Ajax standards, but hopefully tutoring will fix that. 


Rene van den Bosch


In my opinion better of the two centre-backs. Very brave and aggressive, good in key areas. Could be quicker, but that's OK. Also he's almost a full year younger than Markiet, so he'll have another 10 months to develop his game.


Jaap Hoogdorp


Advanced playmaker. Good prospect and while I have plenty of midfield talent in my team, there's something about him that I like. He's professional and determined, has good first touch and vision. His weaknesses are low athleticism and injury-proness, but if he can avoid major traumas he could become a really good player.


Edited by Draakon

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April 2027


02.04.2027 - Ajax - Feyenoord Rotterdam 2:0 (ED) - 21. Pieter Stekelenburg, 61. Andre Pröpper

I had some one-on-one chats with some of the players before Feyenoord game. Main topic was their performance on the pitch and declining form. I hoped it helps ahead of the final stretch in this season. If we won against Feyenoord and FC Groningen lost, it means we would secure the title with 4 games to go, but even with our big lead in the table, Klassikier derby is extremely important to fans and we want to beat them in Amsterdam Arena whatever it takes.

International break in the end of March left Francesco Antonucci exhausted (as usual), Cengizhan Caliskan was suspended because of yellow cards. It means Noa Lang and Pieter Stekelenburg started in midfield. Dirk van Grinsven was back from injury break and in line-up.

We had a very good first half against Feyenoord. Pieter Stekelenburg opened scoring in 21’ - he broke offside trap, picked up a very good pass from Edward Schans and finished with lovely chip. Dejan Meleg got perhaps the best chance of the game in 33’, but his close range shot was blocked by arriving defender. It was very positive first half from us, I was pleased with defensive organisation and pressure that we applied to Feyenoord players.

In 2nd half Andre Pröpper extended our lead with a good shot and that goal secured our three points. We almost added third goal late in the game, but didn’t have enough luck. Mounir El Amrani header hit the post in 81’, five minutes later Pieter Stekelenburg sent his long shot against frameworks. But I was very pleased with result and our performance anyway and home fans went hope happy in this Spring night.

  • Pieter Stekelenburg celebrated his 100th league appearance for Ajax and he was our standout performer in this game
  • FC Groningen won their game and so we need another point to secure Eredivisie title


11.04.2027 - FC Eindhoven - Ajax 0:3 (ED) - 8. Dirk van Grinsven, 26. Francesco Antonucci, 51. Justin Kluivert

I anticipated easy win over FC Eindhoven and had every right to believe that.Our opponents are at the bottom of the league table and struggle to get results anywhere. I started Michel de Boer and Justin Kluivert in this game. Francesco Antonucci was also back in team and Noa Lang moved to bench.

We took the lead quickly, Dirk van Grinsven scored after excellent through ball by Francesco Antonucci and in 26’ same players made our second goal. This time Dirk van Grinsven sent a free kick into box and Antonucci was there to finish. FC Eindhoven players looked nervous and they didn’t have a leader that they desperately needed to initiate any kind of comeback.

We continued well in 2nd half, Justin Kluivert scored our third goal and Dirk van Grinsven had a couple of half-chances, but wasn’t able to add to his tally. It was a very comfortable win in the end, no doubt about that and we clinched Eredivisie title with ease.

  • we had 62% of possession in this game
  • Francesco Antonucci was outstanding for us, a goal and assist to his name tonight


16.04.2027 - Ajax - FC Groningen 3:1 (ED) - 13. Dirk van Grinsven, 62. Justin Kluivert, 90.+3 Nketsi Matal - 8. Sheraldo Becker

Even with league title decided, there was something principal in this game. FC Groningen held 2nd place in Eredivisie and we wanted to prove just how much better of a football team we are at the moment. All players were fit and ready for this game and I could send out our best team in front of sold out Amsterdam Arena - fans had come to celebrate our title and deserved to see a good performance to match that.

FC Groningen took the lead in 8’ - Sheraldo Becker scored after IFK. We didn’t take long to reply - Dragisa Gudelj found Dirk van Grinsven with his cross and it was 1-1 just five minutes later. First half was uneventful after that and at half time I told the team that I wanted to see more passion.

We started to get chances in 2nd half - Dirk van Grinsven wasted on opportunity to score, but Justin Kluivert earned penalty (hash one!) and converted it himself. I was content with 2-1 lead, but we almost gave it away. Edward Schans was late with his tackle and fouled Sheraldo Becker inside our box in 88’, but Marvin Koops was able to save this penalty and in injury time substitute Nketsi Matal added another goal to score line.

Good result after a bit nervous end to this match.

  • we made 21 fouls, Francesco Antonucci was guilty of 8 - no yellow cards though, which indicates perhaps how poor whistle was tonight


We had strong results in April, we secured our Eredivisie title and I’m happy with how we’ve performed in this month.

Ajax U-19 had a strong end to their season which culminated in April. They won the U-19 league, celebrated consecutive U-19 cup win and made it to U-19 Champions League semi-finals. That shows what kind of work has been done with youngsters in Ajax.

More news from first team - Ricardo van Rhijn announced his retirement from football. Team captain will hang up his boots in this Summer. He’ll turn 36 and perhaps it’s right time to call it quits.





FC Groningen look like they’re set for 2nd place, but there’s a bunch of teams fighting for 3rd. Bottom three are also clear - FC Eindhoven look destined for relegation while AZ Alkmaar and sc Heerenveen have to survive through play-offs. It’s still quite unbelievable how these two teams could end up so low.


Ajax goals: Dirk van Grinsven 17, Nketsi Matal 14, Mounir El Amrani 14

Ajax assists: Dejan Meleg 11, Dirk van Grinsven 9, Dragisa Gudelj 7, Justin Kluivert 7



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May 2027


02.05.2027 - Go Ahead Eagles - Ajax 1:1 (ED) - 38. Michel de Boer (og) - 68. Justin Kluivert

Two last games in May - it’s time to test something new and give chance to younger players. Engin Ari, Ismet Gluhalic and others started in this game.

It was a boring match, nothing really happened in first half, but Michel de Boer made a poor touch that resulted with own goal and gifted Go Ahead a lead at half-time. We had one good chance in 2nd half and Justin Kluivert scored from it to equalize. Nothing much to say - we looked a bit out of sync and not so motivated as I’ve used to see, but that’s OK - we had nothing much to play for anyway.

  • we were offside 10 times - poor movement in attacking third
  • Francesco Antonucci was outstanding in this game
  • young goalkeeper Ismet Gluhalic made his league debut


09.05.2027 - Ajax - NAC Breda 2:0 (ED) - 50. Justin Kluivert, 84. Mounir El Amrani

I chose to rest Tom Drost and Nathan Leyder because of yellow cards and tried some youngsters in first team action. Gerard Karelse started in DMC as regista and Ricardo van Rhijn got to play in his last game for Ajax.

We started very well - Karelse had a shot on target that forced NAC goalkeeper to make a brilliant save and just a minute later Michel de Boer hit the post. Justin Kluivert had a couple of half chances later in the first half and while it was entertaining 45 minutes from us, we went to half time with 0-0 scoreline.

Things got better in 2nd half - Justin Kluivert had an easy chance and he put us in the lead. Dirk van Grinsven wasted his clear cut chance in 59’ and Mounir El Amrani rounded things up with header from corner. Confident win in the end and we finished our good season with home win.

  • Gerard Karelse and Eugene Talea made their league debuts in this game





Feyenoord grabbed third place in the table, but AZ Alkmaar stumbled in relegation play-offs. They lost 0-1 to PEC Zwolle in aggregate. To be honest they had rotten luck. They hit frameworks three times in 2nd leg match, but failed to score. It’s quite unbelievable - they have been struggling for whole season, but for the team that was predicted 10th in August to drop to Jupiler League is quite a disaster.


Ajax goals: Dirk van Grinsven 17, Mounir El Amrani 15, Nketsi Matal 14

Ajax assists: Dejan Meleg 11, Dirk van Grinsven 10, Justin Kluivert 7, Dragisa Gudelj 7



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Season Summary 2026/2027


In retrospective, we had a good season. Not very good or outstanding, but just good. We had a difficult start to our league campaign, but managed to win comfortably in the end. We had a solid Champions League campaign and we qualified from group stage, but we fell a little bit short in knockout stages and our Dutch Cup race wasn’t as good as expected either.

Stats department shows us exactly where our problems lie.

In Eredivisie we conceded a lot of goals from individual mistakes and while Marvin Koops saved us a lot (he parried 12 clear-cut chances) we struggled defensively, especially from set pieces.

In attack we didn’t score enough goals. In last season we had 90, but only 69 in this year. At the same time we did have a good number of clear cut chances (80) and we converted half of them - it is a good percentage, our average is around 40-45%. It was probably the absence of Andre Pröpper in first half of the season that limited our finishing and hence the lack of individual skills and flair. But we had some poor luck too - 22 time we hit frameworks.

One more area to improve is attacking set pieces - no goals from DFKs (for fifth year in a row) and we’ve only scored 5 goals from corners and 5 from IFKs. Considering how many set pieces we get each game, it’s very wasteful.

Our 78 points doesn’t look impressive, but FC Groningen finished with 60, so the rest of the title contenders failed in the end.

In Champions League we had one huge problem - while we created 18 clear cut chances in 8 games, we scored only 3 of those. I’m not sure that goalkeepers in Champions League are THAT much better, but we just have to improve our finishing in the future.


Fans Player Of The Season:

  1. Tom Drost
  2. Dirk van Grinsven
  3. Francesco Antonucci


Goal of the Season: Andre Pröpper against Helmond Sport 21/03/2027

Young Player of the Season: Pieter Stekelenburg


Eredivisie awards


Golden Boot:

  1. Dennis Graafland (ADO Den Haag)
  2. Steven Bergwijn (PSV Eindhoven)
  3. Sean Klaiber (FC Utrecht)


Top Goalscorer:

  1. Dennis Graafland (ADO Den Haaf) - 25
  2. Sebastian Sosa (Feyenoord Rotterdam) - 21
  3. Laurens Antoine (PSV Eindhoven) - 20


Goalkeeper of the Year:

  1. Marvin Koops (Ajax)
  2. Menno Heus  (Sparta Rotterdam)
  3. Bayan Aidoo  (FC Groningen)


Young Player of the Year:

  1. Cees-Rein van Grinsven (FC Groningen, on loan from OM)
  2. Marco Oomen (FC Twente Enschede, on loan from Ajax)
  3. Mounir El Amrani (Ajax)


Manager’s Manager of the Year:

  1. Chris van der Werden (FC Groningen)
  2. Me
  3. Erik ten Hag (FC Utrecht)

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July 2027

New season started without three players - Ricardo van Rhijn and Mike van der Hoorn retired and Sieme Plat left the club to join FC Utrecht.

I also made a decision about Cengizhan Caliskan - Inter Milan made a good bid for him and so our young midfielder left to Serie A for £11m + clauses (up to £11,75m). I wasn’t particularly worried about our midfield, because we have a lot of talent coming up from Jong Ajax.

As rare as it is, I also made one signing. We matched bid for Ajax CT’s young left defender Leslie Lichaba. I’ve been scouting him for a while - good left-back prospect without major flaws and surely he can compete for the first team place in a couple of seasons. Modest transfer fee around £375k is not a problem.

I also rejected job interviews from Olympique Lyon and Manchester City.


24.07.2027 - Ajax - Vitesse Arnhem 1:0 (Dutch Super Cup) - 68. Dirk van Grinsven

As usual, Super Cup game in July was our introduction to new season. Vitesse look like a strong team, they have invested some £3m to new players, brought in Mirko Aquilani from ADO Den Haag and retained their best striker Ronni Nissen, so they look fairly dangerous and ready to challenge any team in Eredivisie.

But we were in good shape too, only Tom Drost was missing - he suffered strained stomach muscle and, although back in training, wasn’t ready to start in this game. Peter Mulder made his debut for Ajax in right defense instead.

First half was careful from both sides, but as the game progressed we started to get more opportunities in attack. Justin Kluivert saw his shot being saved in 24’ and Pieter Stekelenburg sent the ball just inches wide in 44’.

I encouraged the team in half-time and we almost got a goal in 51’ when Andre Pröpper made a good interception, but his shot wasn’t as good and it was saved by Vitesse goalkeeper. Then Vitesse started to show that they too can attack - Ronni Nissen forced a good save from Marvin Koops in 59’ and another good attack in 65’ ended with Mirko Aquilani shot that smashed the post. But as they weren’t able to score, we broke through just three minutes later - good cross by Dejan Meleg found van Grinsven at the far post and it as easy finish in the end.

It was narrow win in the end, but good test before new season.

  • we had 62% of possession and we gave 57 key passes - good stats, but we didn’t create enough chances from it
  • Peter Mulder made his debut for Ajax
  • Francesco Antonucci was outstanding in this game with 12 key passes
Edited by Draakon

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August 2027


Transfer market has been quiet for us and no moves look likely enough, apart FC Köln’s interest in Andre Pröpper. They made non-negotiable bid of £8m for him, but I rejected it quickly. Pröpper has £20m minimum release fee clause in his contract and if any club wants him, that’s the price.

I took some time to negotiate and extend contracts that will end in 2028 - Ismet Gluhalic, Eugene Talea, Dragisa Gudelj and Sergio Alleyne signed new deals with Ajax. We had some staff movements too - our U-19 manager Frank Peereboom accepted offer from AS Roma and took position as coach in Italian club. I appointed U-19 coach Rob Heskins as new manager - he has a challenging season ahead of him to repeat last season’s success that we had under Peereboom. I also signed Serbian coach Aleksander Rankovic as B team coach.


11.08.2027 - AFC Ajax - Feyenoord Rotterdam 3:1 (ED) - 43. Andre Pröpper, 59. Justin Kluivert, 73. Dejan Meleg - 21. Darren Sidoel

Squad: Koops, Drost, Alleyne, Schans, de Boer, Leyder, Lang, Antonucci (Stekelenburg), van Grinsven, Kluivert (Meleg), Pröpper (El Amrani)

No easy warm-up for us in this season. Eredivisie starts with Klassieker derby against Feyenoord and in the first league game Amsterdam Arena is sold out days before that match.

Feyenoord looked strong in last season and in this Summer they signed ex-Ajax striker Melvin Jongeling as a free agent. Jongeling left Ajax some seasons ago, but despite not breaking through in Premier League he looks like a star striker for any Eredivisie team.

In our side I’m happy to report that all players are fit and ready to play. I made my final decision about line-up after friendly cup games in August 1-2. Pieter Stekelenburg looked complacent there and was benched, Michel de Boer is seriously looking like he’ll become better left-back than Dragisa Gudelj and he gets the first start and Andre Pröpper was preferred over Mounir El Amrani.

Francesco Antonucci almost scored a goal of the season in 3’. His run from deep midfield ended with shot from the edge of area, but that hit woodwork and bounced back from crossbar. So unlucky. We were dominant in the first 20 minutes and tried to turn our possession in a goal, but then conceded the first goal from IFK. Keziah Veendorp won aerial duel against Tom Drost and Darren Sidoel scored from tap-in into empty goal. Drost suffered bruised head in this incident and the goal itself came completely against the run of play. We tried to recover quickly, but scoring wasn’t too easy for us. Justin Kluivert got a great chance in 25’, but his shot went wide and Andre Pröpper’s close range header in 42’ hit crossbar. We found equalizer before half-time whistle, though. Good cross by Dirk van Grinsven found Pröpper in the box and complete forward made it 1-1 with just couple of minutes to go. It was nice to get this goal, but we were really unlucky not to lead 3-1 or 2-0 in first half.

We looked a bit better after half-time break. Tom Drost sent a drilling cross to far post where Justin Kluivert were open to score a simple tap-in and Francesco Antonucci got a half chance just a couple of minutes later that was saved by Feyenoord goalkeeper. We looked most dangerous from our right wing and Feyenoord’s weakest link was perhaps their 19 years old left-back Robert Jonkers. He continued to lose Dirk van Grinsven and our right winger put another cross into Feyenoord box in 73’ that was headed in by substitute Dejan Meleg. 3-1 was a solid lead, but game wasn’t over with that. Feyenoord were desperate to come back and Faris Coolen got the best chances for them. His shot from counter in 79’ was well saved by Marvin Koops and after Mounir El Amrani had wasted his 1-1 situation in front of Feyenoord goal, Coolen got another clear cut chance in 90’, this time his shot went wide, luckily for us.

In summary, it was a great win to start our season, I was really happy with our come-back after conceding the first goal, but we gifted easy chances to Feyenoord in the end and that needs some attention in trainings.

  • our shooting was 24/7 and while we looked like a better team, converting this possession to good chances needs some extra work
  • Dirk van Grinsven was outstanding for us with 2 assists
  • Tom Drost suffered bruised head and he’ll miss the next game for us


14.08.2027 - FC Groningen - AFC Ajax 0:3 (ED) - 21. Justin Kluivert, 53. Sergio Alleyne, 62. Andre Pröpper

Just three days had passed since Feyenoord win and we headed to Groningen. It was FC Groningen’s first Eredivisie game of the season, but they are not without match practice - they’ve played in Champions League play-offs, but unfortunately dropped out after 0-1 aggregate defeat from SK Rapid Wien and now hope to reach to Europa League group stage.

FC Groningen looked very strong in the last season and this year they’re predicted 4th, so I anticipate tough game. We miss Tom Drost and Peter Mulder will start in right defense. FC Groningen have two important players missing - central midfielder Marc Klok is suspended and striker Piet Koppelaar looks unfit and not ready to start.

Squad: Koops, Mulder (Ari), Alleyne, Schans, de Boer (Gudelj), Leyder, Lang, Antonucci, van Grinsven (Matal), Kluivert, Pröpper

First half was very drab football from both sides. Players looked motivated, but defense was good from both sides and it was difficult to find scoring opportunities. We took the lead in 21’ and some luck was involved in this goal. Dirk van Grinsven sent a cross into box from our right wing, ball took a deflection and bounced between defenders and Justin Kluivert was first to react to loose ball and finished an easy chance. Kluivert had one more shot on target in 36’ but it was saved and those two moments were all that’s worth reporting from the first half.

We improved after half-time break and FC Groningen defenders started to make mistakes. Sergio Alleyne scored from IFK and Andre Pröpper used well his first scoring opportunity ten minutes later. It was his 50th goal for Ajax and it effectively sealed the result for us. FC Groningen didn’t offer much in attack and their striker Ralf Stam got the first shot on target just in 88’, so you could say that second half was well under our control. I’m happy with improvement after half-time and without a doubt, 3-0 win away from home is a strong result.

  • Peter Mulder made his league debut for Ajax
  • Andre Pröpper scored his 50th goal for Ajax

18.08.2027 - Vitesse Arnhem - AFC Ajax 1:2 (ED) - 18. Kwabena Adjei  - 20. Andre Pröpper, 86. pen. Dejan Meleg

We look encouraged after two good wins in the start of the season, all other favourites (PSV, Feyenoord, MVV) have dropped points for now and win over Vitesse would really secure our position in top of the table. Situation for clubs is similar to July Super Cup game. Tom Drost was injured then and is not really fit now - he’s back in training, but not ready to start just yet. I’m satisfied with how our first eleven have worked together, so no changes in starting line-up.

Squad: Koops, Mulder, Alleyne, Schans, de Boer, Leyder, Lang, Antonucci (Stekelenburg), van Grinsven, Kluivert (Meleg), Pröpper (El Amrani)

First fifteen minutes were strong midfield battle from both sides and I already started to doubt if we went to this game with too attacking tactics. Vitesse drew the first blood in 18’ - Peter Mulder missed his interception and although Marvin Koops was able to save the first shot, Kwabena Adjei was unmarked and scored from rebound. Disappointing start, but we were very quick to reply. Just two minutes later Michel de Boer sent a cross in from our left and Andre Pröpper finished from close range. Ronni Nissen’s shot in 21’ forced another good save out of marvin Koops and closely fought first half ended with 1-1.

Second half offered poor football from both sides. Substitutes from both teams looked nervous and that had impact on quality of passing. It looked like it will finish 1-1, but we had some luck late in the game. Referee awarded a very dubious penalty for the foul by Giovanni Somai on Michel de Boer and Dejan Meleg converted this gift to winning goal. Very lucky win, and, to be honest, a little undeserved.

Vitesse played a perfect counter-attacking football with two DMCs and while we had 61% of possession, they had more shots in the game

  • we looked poor defensively at times - allowed 21 dribbles, Vitesse had 17/10 shots (to allow any Eredivisie team 10 shots on target is almost criminal, although lot of those were soft balls from header) and we lost plenty of headers inside our own box
  • Peter Mulder suffered bruised thigh in this game and he’ll have to skip the next match against Helmond Sport


21.08.2027 - AFC Ajax - Helmond Sport 2:0 (ED) - 17. Francesco Antonucci, 79. Engin Ari

After three tough games, home encounter against Helmond Sport was easy on paper. Helmond are predicted to finish 15th in the table, but they managed to stun Feyenoord 2:0 in their last match, so we had to be wary of that.

Just three days had passed and after unimpressive performance against Vitesse, I felt that few changes in line-up are in order. But I foolishly played Ismet Gluhalic, Nketsi Matal and Simon Janssen in Jong Ajax Jupiler League game and so I was left with only 6 substitutes for this game. Tom Drost was back in line-up, but Peter Mulder skipped this game with his bruised thigh.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Alleyne, Schans, de Boer (Gudelj), Karelse (Ari), Stekelenburg, Antonucci, van Grinsven, Kluivert, Pröpper (El Amrani)

We almost got an early goal in 2’ - Francesco Antonucci sent a header towards goal and that rattled crossbar. But just two minutes later Helmond got their best chance of the game. Some good passing in the middle and clever ball behind defenders allowed Jamie Probets to have a clear cut chance, but Marvin Koops held that calmly. I wasn’t happy about that start and we soon took control of the game - Francesco Antonucci had another header from corner and that time Helmond goalkeeper Joost Nijhuis was unable to save that. The rest of the first half was rather drab match - our attacking movement wasn’t good enough and we found ourselves offside too often. Andre Pröpper got one good shot on target in 26’, but that was it.

Second half wasn’t good either, drab football for the first 35 minutes and then substitute Engin Ari fired in an excellent free kick from 18 meters. Outstanding goal and I believe we have a good free kick taker to replace Dejan Meleg in long term. Game finished 2-0, and although I can’t complain about score line, I’m not really happy about performance. We allowed a clear cut chance and didn’t create any chances ourselves. Two set piece goals saved us, but we should have been better in front of home fans.

  • Engin Ari scored his 1st league goal for Ajax and what a goal that was!


Champions League groups were drawn and we are in group G against Manchester City, Sporting and FC Red Bull Salzburg. Not the easiest draw, but we’ve played against Sporting in the past and we’ve beaten Manchester City too, so let’s see what happens and how this group stage goes.

Andre Pröpper came to me after last game and asked me to consider any bid from FC Köln as he desires to move to bigger league. I’m willing to let him go, but only for £20m minimum release fee that is in his contract. Let’s see if FC Köln is willing to pay fair price.


28.08.2027 - PEC Zwolle - AFC Ajax 0:4 (ED) - 9. and 12. Andre Pröpper, 24. Dirk van Grinsven, 63. Mounir El Amrani

The last game in August is away match against PEC Zwolle. Newly promoted PEC Zwolle finished 4th in Jupiler League, but managed to beat AZ Alkmaar in relegation playoffs and found themselves in top division. But they were not prepared for this and still are not - squad looks rubbish and finances insecure. So it should be easy game on paper and as I have full team in my disposal, a must win match for us.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Alleyne, Schans, de Boer, Ari, Stekelenburg, Antonucci (Janssen), van Grinsven (Matal), Kluivert, Pröpper (El Amrani)

We were favourites and it was easy from us from the start. Two quick goals from Andre Pröpper put us in control and we finished first half with convincing 3-0 lead. Dirk van Grinsven hit the post once and despite good lead we were wasteful in front of goal. Substitute Mounir El Amrani added one more goal in second half.

I wasn’t entirely happy despite score line. We had 7 clear cut chances in this game and we should have scored more goals easily, but finishing wasn’t good enough and we looked complacent in 2nd half. I have to take not of that and adjust my team talks accordingly.

  • our shooting was 21/6, it clearly shows that with 7 clear cut chances our shooting accuracy should have been a lot better
  • Andre Pröpper and Pieter Stekelenburg were outstanding in this game


We’ve had excellent start to this season. Five straight wins in Eredivisie and with some tough opponents in those list, I’m really happy with that. Andre Pröpper have been the best goalscorer so far with 5 goals, but the rest of the squad have looked good too and we’re all fit and ready to go on.





We have at least three point lead in the table. PSV and MVV have looked the strongest competitors so far, considering not only points, but results and goal difference.

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Summer Transfer Update


August looked very quiet in transfer market and although FC Köln were interested in Andre Pröpper and there was some speculation around Simon Janssen’s possible departure, no decent bids were made and so the time ran out.

FC Barcelona made a bid for Gerard Karelse, up to £4,9m, but I rejected it easily. He’s a great prospect and his future value will be much higher than that.



Eredivisie transfers

  • Cengizhan Caliskan from Ajax to Inter for £11m
  • Thokozani Mpengesi from Spezia to NAC Breda for £3,3m
  • Twan Vogels from NAC Breda to Feyenoord Rotterdam for £2,7m
  • Ralf Stam from NAC Breda to FC Groningen for £2,2m
  • Alfredo Marti from FC Barcelona to PSV Eindhoven for £2,2m
  • Melvin Jongeling from Manchester United to Feyenoord Rotterdam for free


Ajax loans out

  • Eugene Talea to PEC Zwolle
  • Marco Oomen to FC Utrecht
  • Peter van der Wal to MVV Maastricht
  • Stanislas Gonzalez to Go Ahead Eagles
  • Mario de Groot to sc Heerenveen
  • Leslie Lichaba to Almere City

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Squad Update 2027-2028


Three players have left in this Summer - Cengizhan Caliskan, Rivardo van Rhijn and Mike van der Hoorn. Peter Mulder and Simon Janssen have taken their places in the team. But a lot of young players have improved a lot and look like established first team selection.




Marvin Koops



Ismet Gluhalic


19 years old young keeper is still far from first team football, but he'll provide backup for Koops and plays for Jong Ajax most of the season,





Tom Drost


Tom Drost took over as Ajax captain after Ricardo van Rhijn retired in this Summer.


Peter Mulder


Peter Mulder is new face in our first team squad, after being out on loan for the past couple of seasons. He's versatile defender, capable of playing both as right-back and centre-back and that's ideal for upcoming rotation player. 


Sergio Alleyne



Nathan Leyder


Nathan Leyder has been our best DMC for years, but as we have some great young midfield prospects coming up, he'll drop to central defense more frequently to provide cover there.


Edward Schans



Michel de Boer


Michel de Boer have improved a lot recently and he's no even better player than Dragisa Gudelj. Fierce competition for the first team place between those two.


Dragisa Gudelj


Still Serbian national team left-back and reliable option on our left defense.



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Squad Update 2027-2028




Engin Ari


Very good young defensive midfielder. Reliable at the back, excellent tackler. Unnoticed on the pitch, but puts in a big effort every game.


Gerard Karelse


Up and coming young midfielder. Only 18 years old, but already part of Holland U-21 team and has attracted attention of FC Barcelona.


Pieter Stekelenburg



Noa Lang



Francesco Antonucci



Simon Janssen


Janssen spent last season on loan, but returned to Ajax after Caliskan departure and his role is now to provide backup for Antonucci.





Dirk van Grinsven



Nketsi Matal



Justin Kluivert



Dejan Meleg


Serbian winger is probably playing his last season of football for Ajax.





Andre Pröpper



Mounir El Amrani


El Amrani got used to first team role in the last season and so he's now unhappy about the lack of first team football, but it's really difficult to be better than Andre Pröpper.

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Hot Prospects 2027-2028


Just an update about talented 18-21 yo youngsters that are coming up from Jong Ajax or who are on loan in this season, but who can feature in our first team in a couple of seasons.



Jeroen Jansen


Similar player to Dragisa Gudelj - capable of playing as centre-back or left-back


Leslie Lichaba


New signing from Ajax CT


Eugene Talea


Probably the best box-to-box midfielder of this list


Mario de Groot



Marco Oomen



Peter van der Wal


Next in line of our young talented playmakers


Clyde Sastrodimedjo



Jeroen Capobianco



Tarik de Wit



Stanislas Gonzalez



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September 2027


11.09.2027 - AFC Ajax - NAC Breda 2:0 (ED) - 13. Andre Pröpper, 90.+1 Justin Kluivert

International break went well and players were back with the team to face NAC Breda. NAC are fairly strong team and predicted to finish 8th in the table, but they shuffled a lot of players in and out in Summer transfer window, so it might take some time for them to gel properly.

Some of our players looked a bit tired - we have a lot of games coming up, so I decided to rest Michel de Boer and Dragisa Gudelj got his chance in left defense.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Alleyne, Schans, Gudelj, Leyder, Stekelenburg (Lang), Antonucci, van Grinsven (Matal), Kluivert, Pröpper (El Amrani)

We started very well and chances came early. Nazario de Fretes fouled Andre Pröpper inside NAC penalty box before even three minutes were played. Pröpper himself went to take this spot kick, but his poor penalty went too center of the goal and was saved by NAC goalkeeper. Pröpper wasted another good chance in 7’ and then finally scored in 13’ after excellent through ball from Francesco Antonucci. First half ended with narrow 1-0 lead, but it felt like we should have been 3-0 ahead.

It continued to be a miserable evening for Pröpper. He had another great chance in 56’, but his shot was again brilliantly saved by Yanick van Osch. We looked in control of the match and didn’t give much opportunities to NAC Breda, but 1-0 is always a narrow lead. It took all 90 minutes to finally clinch it - Justin Kluivert headed in a good cross from Tom Drost in injury time. Nketsi Matal had one more chance in 90.+3, but he joined with Pröpper in the line of wasted chances. It was solid win in the end, but we should have scored a lot more goals in this game.

  • Francesco Antonucci led our midfield with 15 key passes and he created 3 clear cut chances, unfortunately majority of his excellent work was not converted into goals.
  • we made 30 dribbles in this game
  • Francesco Antonucci and Tom Drost were outstanding for us


15.09.2027 - AFC Ajax - FC Red Bull Salzburg 6:0 (Champions League Group G) - 5. and 67. Andre Pröpper, 30. Justin Kluivert, 31. Dirk van Grinsven, 36. Tom Drost, 74. Nathan Leyder

On paper it was the easiest game in our Champions League group. I don’t know much about RBS team, but we should be able to beat them in both games and in Amsterdam Arena it’s a must win if we want to progress from this group.

Sergio Alleyne was suspended for this game - it limits our defensive options and forces to shuffle things around. Nathan Leyder moves down to central defense and Engin Ari starts in DMC position. Pieter Stekelenburg has upset me with his complacency, so he’s benched and Noa Lang starts in midfield.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Leyder, Schans, de Boer (Gudelj), Ari, Lang, Antonucci (Janssen), van Grinsven, Kluivert, Pröpper (El Amrani)

We took control of the game from the beginning. Andre Pröpper learned from his mistakes and didn’t waste his first proper chance this time around. And while Salzburg looked like they too can play football, this illusion ended around 30’ mark when we scored three goals in succession and put this game into bed. Tom Drost’s goal was excellent shot that perhaps nobody expected from full-back.

Second half was not so full of fireworks, but we extended our lead when Pörpper scored his second goal and Nathan Leyder finished scoring with a beautiful volley from indirect free kick. Wonderful result to start our Champions League campaign. Let’s hope we can keep this kind of form going.

  • our shooting was 20/11
  • we made 44 dribbles and Salzburg defense was pretty powerless to stop our technical players
  • our average rating was 8.55
  • Andre Pröpper, Justin Kluivert, Dirk van Grinsven, Tom Drost, Nathan Leyder and Noa Lang were outstanding for us


18.09.2027 - SC Cambuur - AFC Ajax 0:2 (ED) - 6. Dirk van Grinsven, 88. Justin Kluivert

SC Cambuur is no easy opponent. They’ve predicted to finish 10th in the tale and have established themselves as solid mid-table side in recent years. But I was still confident that with our current form we should be able to beat them.

Sergio Alleyne was back in line-up, but Edward Schans looked tired and I chose to rest him.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Alleyne, Leyder, de Boer, Ari, Lang, Antonucci (Stekelenburg), van Grinsven (Matal), Kluivert, Pröpper (El Amrani)

SC Cambuur got an early chance already in the first minute. Some good passing from their midfield players ended with good pass to our box, for the run of Clint Leemans. Francesco Antonucci forgot to track his man back and Leemans found space between central defenders, but Marvin Koops made a great save to deny his shot. Five minutes later it was our turn and Dirk van Grinsven opened scoring after excellent through ball by Andre Pröpper. First half ended 1-0 - it was narrow lead for us, but SC Cambuur played well and couple of dangerous headers towards our goal proved that they are close to equalizing.

SC Cambuur started second half with the same intention - to find a goal. Yann Kasai shot was held by Marvin Koops in 57’ and Dario Bugno hit the post from tight angle in 61’. We reacted too - substitute Nketsi Matal had a great chance to score, but his shot was saved and Mounir El Amrani forced a reflex save from SC Cambuur goalkeeper in 74’. At times we looked comfortable with our narrow lead, but in some moments we almost threw it away. Poor throw in by Tom Drost resulted in SC Cambuur counter attack, but the shot was poor and easily held by Koops. We clinched the result in 88’ - Nketsi Matal had a shot on target that was saved, but  Justin Kluivert finished from rebound.

In summary, it wasn’t the best performance and we had flaws in our game, but two good attacking moves and clinical finishing made the difference and extended our series of consecutive wins.


23.09.2027 - FC Dordrecht - AFC Ajax 0:3 (Dutch Cup 2nd round) - 5. Dejan Meleg, 28. and 44. Mounir El Amrani

Dutch Cup game against FC Dordrecht is a good chance for rotation players to prove their worth in my eyes. Sergio Alleyne have to sit this one out again, because of yellow cards from last season, but that’s OK.

Squad: Koops, Mulder, Leyder, Schans, Gudelj, Karelse, Stekelenburg, Janssen, Matal, Meleg, El Amrani

We took the lead early, Dejan Meleg used his experience to score his 150th goal for Ajax. Mounir El Amrani added two more goals - second of those was a long shot from 18 meters that added to some beautiful goals in this season.

We held our lead in second half, but FC Dordrecht did get one good chance in 60’ from counter. But when Shurrendo Janga was 1-1 against Marvin Koops he failed to take a good shot and so his effort was easily held by Marvin Koops.

We did our job well, as easy as it was, exactly what was expected from the team.


28.09.2027 - Sporting Lisbon - AFC Ajax 3:0 (Champions League Group G) - 14. Joaozinho, 46. Celso Eduardo, 74. Tuparendi

September ended with the first tough challenge in Champions League - away fixture against Sporting. We needed to be beat Sporting over two games to keep our hopes up in this group and, with Eredivisie going well, I made a decision that I’ll use our best players in Champions League and when needed, give them some rest in Eredivisie weekends.

To be honest I’d be happy with draw in this way game. We had free weekend before this match (unlike Sporting) and so the players looked fresh. Holland boss Ricardo Moniz was on the stands and that put perhaps some extra pressure on domestic players to perform at their best level.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Alleyne, Schans, de Boer, Leyder, Lang, Antonucci (Stekelenburg), van Grinsven, Kluivert (Meleg), Pröpper (El Amrani)

It was clear from the beginning that it will be a tough game. Celso Eduardo got an open header from close range, but somehow managed only to hit crossbar. That didn’t save us from inevitable, as Joaozinho opened scoring four minutes later. He won aerial duel against Sergio Alleyne and Marvin Koops couldn’t save this one.

We were under pressure most of the first half and while 0-1 scoreline wasn’t the worst, it was difficult for me to see where our equalizer could come from.

We started 2nd half with some optimism and good motivation, but it went down the drain quickly. Edward Schans missed his header in the box and Celso Eduardo doubled Sporting lead. Game slowed down after that - we had possession, but we couldn’t create chances and Sporting looked comfortable in holding their lead. Tuparendi added third goal in 74’ and when Joaozinho missed his clear cut chance in 83’ it was clear that we should concentrate on damage limitation.

In summary, it was a poor display against much better team. Losing by three goals definitely hurts our chances in this group. I can’t shake off the feeling that I missed something in this game - either tactically or in team talks, but I can’t yet understand what exactly. I probably have to make a deeper analyzis before home game.


September was excellent month for us up until this last Sporting game. Or it’s more accurate to say that we were superb in domestic competitions. Of course, September fixture list was rather easy one and these wins in Eredivisie were expected by fans, but to be 7 out of 7 is still nice.





We are five points clear in the table, plus we have one game in hand. PSV Eindhoven and MVV Maastricht are still the main competitors for the title while last seasons comet FC Groningen find themselves struggling at the bottom.


Ajax goals: Andre Pröpper 8, Justin Kluivert 5, Dirk van Grinsven 4

Ajax assists: Dirk van Grinsven 5, Justin Kluivert 5

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October 2027


02.10.2027 - AFC Ajax - Sparta Rotterdam 2:0 (ED) - 7. and 78. Dirk van Grinsven

We needed a good win after Champions League defeat and home game against Sparta was definitely one that we could get a good result  from. Sparta was predicted to finish 12th in this season. I expected us to be stronger side in this game and chose more attacking players and ticked overlapping instructions on tactics sheet.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Alleyne, Schans, de Boer (Gudelj), Leyder, Stekelenburg, Antonucci, van Grinsven, Kluivert (Meleg), Pröpper (El Amrani)

We took the lead in 7’ and Dirk van Grinsven opened scoring after our good counter and excellent pass from Francesco Antonucci. But after that goal we didn’t offer too much in terms of chances and shots on target. Francesco Antonucci tested Sparta goalkeeper once in 25’ and that was it. I removed overlapping instructions in 2nd half and made some substitutions, but second half performance was as dull as before half time break. Dirk van Grinsven was the only player to create something in attacking third - found the net again in 78’ and hit the post four minutes later. Game finished with 2-0 win - we did what was needed, but weren’t too convincing.

  • Dirk van Grinsven was outstanding in this game, but he strained his thigh muscle in 2nd half and will be sidelined for next 2 weeks

Fortunately it’s international window and van Grinsven should be back in training after that. Marvin Koops and Michel de Boer received invitations to Holland national team. They didn’t pick up their first cap yet, but invitation itself was a pleasant surprise.


16.10.2027 - MVV Maastricht - AFC Ajax 0:2 (ED) - 3. Tom Drost, 50. Andre Pröpper

After international break we prepared for very tough away game against MVV Maastricht. MVV have been title contender for the past couple of seasons and while their tycoon money has dried out for the moment, they’ve got very strong team and are expected to finish 3rd in this season.

Dirk van Grinsven was back in training, but looked a bit tired and I chose to save him for upcoming Manchester City game. Edward Schans too was exhausted after international games and was rested.

Squad: Koops, Drost (Mulder), Alleyne, Leyder, de Boer, Ari, Stekelenburg (Lang), Antonucci (Janssen), Matal, Kluivert, Pröpper

We had excellent start to this game. Tom Drost made a good run into box, received pass from Antonucci and somehow squeezed it in from tight angle. Our right-back had another excellent chance just two minutes later, but this time his shot was held by goalkeeper. MVV answered quickly with good header from Naldo Emanuelson and Marvin Koops had to make a great save to keep his clean sheet. After very attacking first ten minutes the game died out a bit until the end of the first half. Justin Kluivert got a bit surprising chance in injury time, but his shot was saved and so we went to half-time break with 1-0 lead.

We came back from dressing room with good motivation and Andre Pröpper extended our lead soon after second half kick-off. He showed excellent skill - took the ball inside MVV box, held it expertly, turned around and found the net. Just as I expect complete forward to do. The rest of the match was mostly midfield battle and we concentrated on keeping our clean sheet and didn’t take too many risks. 2-0 away win is a strong result anyway and proves again that we are the best team in Eredivisie at the moment.


19.10.2027 - Manchester City - AFC Ajax 3:0 (Champions League Group G) - 20. Raheem Sterling, 56. and 86. Marc Ferrer

I didn’t expect much from this away game in Manchester. If we had any chance to surprise City, it will more probably happen in Amsterdam Arena. But I sent our our best players and hoped for the best, but that… didn’t happen. Dragisa Gudelj started in left defense, offering more experience than Michel de Boer

Squad: Koops, Drost, Alleyne, Schans, Gudelj, Leyder, Lang (Stekelenburg), Antonucci, van Grinsven, Kluivert (Meleg), Pröpper (El Amrani)

First half actually looked pretty decent from us. We did defend well and didn’t allow Citizens to get any good chances, but good shot from Raheem Sterling found its way past Marvin Koops and ManCity went to half time with 1-0 lead. We didn’t have any clear cut chances, but being just 0-1 down we had our hopes for 2nd half.

After half time break it started to become clear that our defenders keep struggling against skillful and very technical player that our opponents had in attacking third. Edward Schans were constantly one step behind his men and so it happened that Marc Ferrer easily turned around him in 56’ and calmly sent the ball into our goal. After that we lost a bit of motivation and it looked like players didn’t believe in themselves any more, so Manchester City started to get more chances. Marvin Koops made one brilliant save in 77’ to deny Marc Ferrer, John Stones sent his header against our crossbar after corner and finally Ferrer scored the third goal. Marvin Koops was the culprit in this case - Sterling sent a hanging ball towards our goal from IFK, it should have been easy catch for Koops, but our goalkeeper dropped the ball and Ferrer was there to get to it first and score. Very unexpected mistake, as Koops is very reliable goalkeeper. I hope he doesn’t dwell on that for too long and to be honest if this mistake had to be done, it was quite the best moment for it, as it didn’t change much for the result.

But in summary it was the second very poor Champions League display in a row for us. We conceded three goals and didn’t pose any threat to Manchester City goal. Deciding on those performances we don’t deserve to progress from this group.

  • we made a huge number of individual mistakes defensively and that determined the result for us, 34 mistakes in total and all defenders made their share, Tom Drost above all with 7 errors


23.10.2027 - FC Utrecht - AFC Ajax 0:0 (ED)

FC Utrecht are high-flying at the moment. They are predicted to finish 5th, but are currently 2nd and going for top three finish if they can continue their form. I expected it to be a really tough game, but bookies went even further and gave home team favourite status with 6-4 coefficient. FC Utrecht play their usual 5-3-2 WB and that has caused us some troubles before, and combined with home advantage it could be threat for us.

We practiced set piece defending before this game and I knew that we had to make some changes in line-up. Francesco Antonucci was suspended (he’s already picked up 5 yellow cards in this season), Edward Schans looked tired and was rested for this game and I held a serious conversation with Justin Kluivert about his poor performances before this game. He’ll get that opportunity to improve, though.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Alleyne, Leyder, de Boer, Ari, Lang, Stekelenburg (Janssen), van Grinsven, Kluivert (Matal), Pröpper (El Amrani)

First half was full of fierce midfield battles. Both teams tried carefully to look for scoring chances, but didn’t take too many risks. Dirk van Grinsven got the best chance of the game for us in 34’ - we had a great counter, he had time and space to finish it off, but his shot was saved by FC Utrecht goalkeeper. More important events happened around 39’ when FC Utrecht’s midfielder Edwin de Harder picked up his 2nd yellow card and was sent off before half-time.

Despite that waste chance in first half I was encouraged at half-time, because we had now one man advantage and 45 minutes is surely enough to make it count. We almost did in 50’ when Andre Pröpper had an opportunity, but his shot was saved too and after that we dropped to dull possession game, unable to create anything dangerous. Instead FC Utrecht had their chance in 82’ - Sergio Alleyne missed his interception and Danny Bakker had a shot from close range, but Marvin Koops made a brilliant save to keep our clean sheet. Because of that, in the end, I had to be satisfied with this goalless draw, but in fact we should have been a lot better. Second half was big disappointment and our numerical advantage didn’t show on the pitch at all.

  • our shooting was just 19/5
  • we allowed FC Utrecht to make 26 dribbles - too many for any Eredivisie side, we have to be better defensively in the future


26.10.2027 - AZ Alkmaar - AFC Ajax 0:2 (Dutch Cup 3rd round) - 4. Mattias Johansson (og), 53. Mounir El Amrani

Relegated AZ Alkmaar are leading Jupiler League at the moment and it looks like they’re on their way back to Eredivisie for the next season. Win in this cup game is definitely not guaranteed, even when AZ players looked a bit tired before the game.

I sent out rotation players anyway and wanted to show what they’re capable of. There are some players who have something to prove and they’d better do it.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Mulder, Leyder, Gudelj, Ari (Karelse), Lang (Stekelenburg), Janssen, Matal, Meleg, El Amrani (de Wit)

AZ gifted us the lead in 4’ when Mattias Johanssen headed in Dejan Meleg’s free kick. Very unfortunate for AZ and pleasant surprise for us, but we didn’t build on that. In fact, the first half was very dull and while we kept things under control in defense, we didn’t create any chances for ourselves.

Mounir El Amrani scored from corner in 2nd half and it was his birthday goal, but after that the same dull possession game continued. We applied some good pressure around 80’, but nothing too dangerous and so the game ended 0:2.

It wasn’t a bad result in away game, but we didn’t look too convincing. I hoped for some great individual performances, but those didn’t come and it was rather boring match. Both goals came from set pieces, good to see improvements in this department.

  • we made 22 individual mistakes and that’s a lot against Jupiler League side. I didn’t notice complacency per se, but we have to keep our concentration up
  • our 4th round opponents are Almere City - pretty favourable draw actually


30.10.2027 - AFC Ajax - sc Heerenveen 4:0 (ED) - 12. and 42. Andre Pröpper, 51. Nketsi Matal, 74. Pieter Stekelenburg

sc Heerenveen, who were so close to relegation this season, are predicted to finish 11th in this season and they’ve been mediocre so far. They’re going through change of generations at the moment and some players like Joel Veltman, Mitchell Dijks and Jürgen Locadia start to show their age. Also, they’ve got to of their best strikers injured, with best defender Hans Hateboer also sidelined and overall they looked a bit tired.

We had our best team back with Francesco Antonucci and Edward Schans in line-up. Dirk van Grinsven was rested and Nketsi Matal got his chance on our right wing - he asked for more first team football and I promised that to him.

Squad: Koops, Drost (Leyder), Alleyne, Schans, de Boer, Ari (Karelse), Stekelenburg, Antonucci, Matal, Kluivert, Pröpper (El Amrani)

We took the lead in 12’ - Andre Pröpper hit the post after good cross from our right wing, but he was first to get to rebound and finish his job well. We controlled most of the first half, with some half-chances to Matal, Kluivert and Antonucci, but before half-time break it was Pröpper again who doubled our lead. This time a cross from left wing, given by Michel de Boer, found our striker at the near post and good shot put it between post and goalkeeper.

We continued in a same fashion after half-time break. Nketsi Matal scored his first goal of the season after good counter-attack and Andre Pröpper was very close to his hat-trick in a couple of times. He wasted his best chance in 53’ and then headed it against crossbar in 60’. But the third goal didn’t come. Instead, it was Pieter Stekelenburg who finished scoring for us.

Big win in the end, great performance across the board and at least in Eredivisie we look unstoppable at the moment.

  • our shooting was 22/11
  • 8.06 average rating shows how good we were in this game
  • Michel de Boer and Justin Kluivert were outstanding in this match, Kluivert finally showing what he’s able to
  • Mounir El Amrani picked up a knock late in the game and strained knee ligaments leave him out for at least 6-7 weeks


October was very similar to September. We continued our excellent form in Eredivisie and didn’t concede a single goal in domestic games. Away games against MVV and FC Utrecht were serious test and only Utrecht could show that they might be our equal in this period. But in Champions League we continued our poor form and big defeat against Manchester City almost erases all our hopes of progression.





We’re well ahead in the table, FC Utrecht have established themselves in 2nd place. MVV and PSV fight over 3rd place with surprise package Go Ahead Eagles. In the bottom of the table we find FC Groningen - last season’s runner up team have not been able to build on that success.


Ajax goals: Andre Pröpper 11, Dirk van Grinsven 6, Justin Kluivert 5

Ajax assists: Justin Kluivert 7, Dirk van Grinsven 5, Michel de Boer 3, Pieter Stekelenburg 3




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November 2027


03.11.2027 - AFC Ajax - Manchester City 4:0 (Champions League Group G) - 9. and 69. Andre Pröpper, 59. Dirk van Grinsven, 64. Justin Kluivert

The way our first games against City and Sporting went, I didn’t expect too much from home games either, but at least our fans deserved that we give our best against big teams in Amsterdam Arena and let’s see where it takes us.

We concentrated on defensive positioning in pre-match training and turned off overlapping instructions.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Alleyne, Schans, de Boer (Gudelj), Leyder, Stekelenburg (Lang), Antonucci, van Grinsven, Kluivert (Meleg), Pröpper

We started well in the first half - clever pass from Dirk van Grinsven found Pröpper in the area and our striker kept his head calm and finished off his chance. After the goal it was fairly closed game from both sides and teams didn’t have any good opportunities to score.

It was completely different story in 2nd half. We gave the first sign about what was to come in 47’. Pieter Stekelenburg got a clear cut chance from good counter, but his shot was saved by Manchester City goalkeeper. But it didn’t help City for too long - Dirk van Grinsven scored our second goal in 59’ and just five minutes later Kluivert added another goal with good shot from tight angle. We were cruising and City had no answers for our attacking creativity. Andre Pröpper fired in our fourth after good cross from Tom Drost. City got their best shot in 82’, when Felipe Anderson’s long range effort hit our crossbar.

It was extraordinary result, a brilliant game from us and Manchester City looked shell-shocked after the game. Not only did we win and get three points from here, we also turned our 0-3 away loss to 4-3 aggregate win that could prove to be really valuable once that all the points are counted.

  • we had 8.13 average rating
  • our defense was excellent, Manchester City had no chances in this game and no shots on target
  • Andre Pröpper, Dirk van Grinsven, Tom Drost and Sergio Alleyne were outstanding for us


06.11.2027 - AFC Ajax - Go Ahead Eagles 0:0 (ED)

Go Ahead Eagles are the biggest overachievers so far in this season. They were predicted 14th by media and pundits, but occupy 4th place in the table in November. Great first half of the season.

I had to rotate after tough Champions League game and Tom Drost was serving his suspension for 5th yellow card. I expected us to win anyway and ticked overlapping instructions in tactics sheet.

Squad: Koops, Mulder, Alleyne, Leyder, Gudelj, Karelse (de Boer), Stekelenburg, Janssen (Lang), van Grinsven (Matal), Kluivert, Pröpper

First 30 minutes didn’t offer good chances and football was reduced to midfield battles, until Peter Mulder made a completely reckless two-footed tackle in midfield and was sent off with straight red card. We were down to 10 men in 30 minutes and I had to make changes - Michel de Boer came on, Dragisa Gudelj moved to central defense and Sergio Alleyne took over right-back responsibilities.

Despite being one man down we were better team in this match and had better chances too. Andre Pröpper had the best chance in 40’, but his shot was saved and Michel de Boer hit the post in 45’

Things didn’t improve in second half. Justin Kluivert wasted his opportunity in 47’ and Sergio Alleyne’s header clipped crossbar. Eagles played it smart and didn’t take unnecessary risks, so in the end we had to settle with goalless draw. Poor result at home, but considering that we played with 10 men for 60 minutes, that’s okay. I’m disappointed with Peter Mulder and young defender have to give up 1 week’s pay for his poor judgment.

  • our shooting was 22/10 - really had to finish better from these chances
  • we had 17 corners and couple of them looked dangerous enough, but no goals
  • we made 32 dribbles against Go Ahead players, proving our technical superiority


After this matchday FC Groningen sacked Chris van de Werden. Their team finished 2nd in last season, but at the moment they linger just above relegation zone and expectations were not met. First managerial casualty of the season.


20.11.2027 - PSV Eindhoven - AFC Ajax 1:2 (ED) - 37. Joel Donald - 2. Nketsi Matal, 33. Francesco Antonucci

PSV started this season very well, but they continued their inconsistency that has ruined most of their previous seasons. That’s why they’re predicted to finish only 7th and that might be the case in the end of the season. Still, they’re dangerous in away game and I chose to turn down overlapping orders.

Selection choices were difficult. International break left us with some tired legs, Edward Schans and Michel de Boer had to be rested. Peter Mulder was suspended, Mounir El Amrani was still injured and Dejan Meleg hurt himself in training and he’s out for 3 months with slipped disc. I promised Nketsi Matal more first team football and he’ll start against PSV.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Alleyne, Leyder, Gudelj, Ari, Stekelenburg, Antonucci (Lang), Matal (van Grinsven), Kluivert, Pröpper (de Wit)

We started with a flyer. Justin Kluivert gave a clever header to far post where Matal scored with a simple tap-in. We took charge after that and had a number of great chances, but failed to extend our lead. Pieter Stekelenburg wasted his opportunity in 9’, Andre Pröpper’s shot was blocked in the last moment and Nketsi Matal failed to double his tally in 20’ even though he had a lot of time and space to take his shot. Our poor finishing was really frustrating to watch and relief was obvious when Francesco Antonucci finally found the net with fine shot from 14 meters. PSV had offered noting in attack so far, but they reacted well to our 2nd goal. Cross from our left took a deflection and fell to Joel Donald who took his chance very well. We should have been at least 4-1 ahead at half-time, but 2-1 lead was rather nervous and nothing was granted in this stage.

Unfortunately we continued our wasteful attacks in 2nd half. Antonucci and Pröpper got great chances after our counter-attacks, but their shots were saved by PSV goalkeeper. It’s just unbelievable how we can’t finish off simple chances. We concentrated on possession after that and held our lead until the end, although just as I expected PSV had one more good shot on target. This time it was Laurens Antoine who had a dangerous shot from distance, but fortunately Marvin Koops was alert and made a crucial save in injury time to get us those three points. We deserved a lot better scoreline, but our finishing was appalling and ultimately goals are what matter in football.

  • we had 6 clear cut chances and we scored only 1 goal out of those
  • young striker Tarik de Wit made his league debut from substitution


23.11.2027 - FC Red Bull Salzburg - AFC Ajax 4:4 (Champions League Group G) - 18. and 34. Hakim Meftah, 20. Daniel Claesen, 29. Omar Ibrahim - 26. and 54. Justin Kluivert, 49. pen. Andre Pröpper, 57. Dirk van Grinsven

Our hopes in Champions League were up after marvellous display against City, but at first we had to take mandatory win over Red Bull Salzburg. Pitch was snowy in Austria and I hoped it won’t hamper our technical game too much.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Alleyne, Schans, de Boer (Gudelj), Leyder, Stekelenburg, Antonucci (Janssen), van Grinsven, Kluivert, Pröpper (de Wit)

First 18 minutes of the game didn’t look very exciting, but Salzburg players looked nervous on the pitch and I hoped that we could take advantage of that. Instead, we conceded an unexpected goal. Hakim Meftah took a strong shot from our right that was unstoppable for Koops. We quickly conceded another goal from IFK - Pieter Stekelenburg lost his header in the box and ball found its way to Daniel Claesen at the far post. We were 0-2 down after 20 minutes and it looked like a disaster for us. We started to pick ourselves up though and Justin Kluivert got one back from corner, but just three minutes later we conceded ourselves a corner goal and Red Bull Salzburg were flying there. Hakim Meftah doubled his tally after some poor defensive work on our left (and Edward Shans who was way too late to make his interception) and so the first half ended in 1:4 scoreline. I seriously couldn’t understand what was going on and how our defense fell apart so easily. Squad looked motivated and there was nothing too obviously wrong in our game, but everything just went our opponents’ way.

I wanted the lads to at least win second half and we had a good start after half-time break. Omar Ibrahim raised his foot high against Dirk van Grinsven in the box and penalty was awarded. Harsh decision from referee, but we needed some luck there, too. Pröpper converted the spot kick and we built on that. Justin Kluivert scored our third goal in 53’ and Dirk van Grinsven equalized with a nice chip in 57’ We were back to 4-4! Momentum was completely ours in this point and we had over 30 minutes of football ahead of us. But Salzburg composed themselves and our attacking spark died a little, so we couldn’t find the winner.

Nevertheless, amazing come-back in 2nd half and we have to be happy with one point after so terrible defending in first half.

  • Pieter Stekelenburg looked guilty to couple of conceded goals, but his attacking play was crucial and his performance was rated as superb by pundits
  • our task for the last game is clear now - we have to win against Sporting in Amsterdam Arena


27.11.2027 - Almere City - AFC Ajax 0:2 (ED) - 3. Justin Kluivert, 19. Noa Lang

After so emotional rollercoaster game in Austria, Eredivisie fixture against Almere City should be easy one. Newly-promoted Almere are fighting against relegation, they haven’t been able to win in their last 12 games and our trip to the smallest stadium in Eredivisie should bring us another three points to the table.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Alleyne, Leyder, Gudelj, Karelse (de Boer), Lang, Antonucci (Janssen), Matal, Kluivert, Pröpper (de Wit)

We took charge of the game early. Justin Kluivert opened scoring in 3’ after good run to Almere City box, he skipped two defenders on his way and passed the ball into net. Noa Lang extended our lead from IFK and although Kluivert failed to score from his best chance in 25’, we went to half-time with comfortable 2-0 lead.

Almere City had their best chance to score in 50’ - close range effort from Said Mousslih was parried by reflex save from Marvin Koops. We were in trouble after 54’ when Tom Drost received his second yellow card and was sent off, so we concentrated on keeping possession after that. Almere City gifted us another chance in 61’, when Lucas Bijker tripped Nketsi Matal in the box, but Andre Pröpper’s penalty was so poor that it was held by goalkeeper. Unremarkable last 30 minutes secured us necessary three points from away game, but I’m not very happy about that penalty miss and of course, Tom Drost’s dismissal.


November really had everything in it. Brilliant win against Manchester City, good away win over PSV and cracking 4:4 with Red Bull Salzburg. I’m fairly pleased with results. Fans weren’t too happy with goalless draw against Go Ahead Eagles, but I have to consider we were down to 10 men early in this game. Red cards are certainly issue that need to be addressed in the future.





Ajax goals: Andre Pröpper 14, Justin Kluivert 9, Dirk van Grinsven 8

Ajax assists: Dirk van Grinsven 8, Justin Kluivert 8, Pieter Stekelenburg 4, Nketsi Matal 4




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December 2027

December welcomes us with extremely tough schedule - 7 games in 22 days. Most important fixtures are definitely home game against Sporting that will decide the faith of our continental season and Klassieker derby against Feyenoord. Because of the schedule I’ll probably rotate and use other players against smaller teams.


01.12.2027 - AFC Ajax - VVV Venlo 3:2 (ED) - 6. and 31. Justin Kluivert, 24. Andre Pröpper - 32. Francesco Laterza, 90+2 Francesco Hoffmann

VVV Venlo are predicted to finish 13th, but are currently 9th and doing fairly well. They have very good attacking players with two Francescos gathering goals, but lack defensive discipline and concede goals on the other end.

Tom Drost was suspended in our side and ahead of Feyenoord game I chose to rest some players. VVV on the other hand looked really tired even before the game.

Squad: Koops, Mulder, Alleyne, Leyder, Gudelj, Karelse (Ari), Lang, Antonucci (Janssen), Matal, Kluivert, Pröpper (de Wit)

We started well and Nketsi Matal got our first chance in 6’. His shot was saved, but Justin Kluivert was there to collect rebound and finished it off. Andre Pröpper extended our lead in soon it was 3-0. Justin Kluivert received a great through ball from Francesco Antonucci and passed it into the net.

But when we were 3-0 ahead, we quickly allowed VVV back into game. Peter Mulder allowed a run and cross from our right, Gudelj couldn’t intercept and Francesco Laterza poached it in from six yard box.

First half was solid, apart from that one lapse of concentration. Justin Kluivert has been difficult to handle for VVV defenders.

We continued to attack after half time break. Nketsi Matal earned us a penalty in 46’ and Justin Kluivert steadied himself to complete his hat-trick, but his penalty was saved. Just three minutes later Nketsi Matal wasted his clear cut chance and Kluivert blew another one in 58’. We should have scored at least 5 goals already, but were still stuck at 3-1 and in injury time VVV’s Francesco Hoffmann scored their second goal. It looked too easy for my liking - he turned around Sergio Alleyne swiftly and found himself 1-1 against Marvin Koops with plenty of time.

In the end we secured all three points, but our finishing should have been a lot better and two conceded goals was proof of defensive vulnerabilities. Should do better against better teams.

  • our shooting was 20/12
  • we had 8 clear cut chances, but wasted most of them
  • Justin Kluivert had a great game despite this missed penalty


04.12.2027 - Feyenoord Rotterdam - AFC Ajax 2:1 (ED) - 46. Robert Jonkers, 87. Jeff van Wijk - 90.+1 Nketsi Matal

Feyenoord form has declined after good start to their season and they find themselves in 8th place. They also looked tired after just three days since last matchday, but away game at De Kuip was difficult nevertheless. We had Tom Drost back in the team and good news from physio room say that Mounir El Amrani is back in training, although not yet fit to start.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Alleyne, Schans, de Boer, Ari, Stekelenburg (Lang), Antonucci (Janssen), van Grinsven (Matal), Kluivert, Pröpper

Feyenoord got the best chance of the first half - Sebastian Sosa had an opportunity in 10’, but Marvin Koops made a brilliant save to deny him. The rest of the first half offered less chances and game itself was quite even. Dirk van Grinsven saw his shot being saved and Pröpper sent his close range header just over. Because of that 10’ chance I was quite satisfied with 0-0 scoreline at half-time, but in second half things changed.

We conceded from set piece just after second half kick-off. Marvin Koops missed his interception, going for the ball and Robert Jonkers was first to get it and finished into empty goal. Feyenoord could relax a little after that goal and they are very good team when it comes to protecting their lead. We tried our best to equalize - Andre Pröpper sent his shot wide after good counter and Justin Kluivert got our best chance in 76’ but his shot was saved from the line. Instead of scoring we conceded the second goal and again from set piece - young striker Jeff van Wijk got his chance from smart IFK combination and again we looked surprised in defense. Nketsi Matal finally found a goal in injury time, but it was too little, too late, so we had to return from Rotterdam with the first defeat of the season in Eredivisie. It was very disappointing result for us and there were some poor individual performances to blame - Marvin Koops made a poor mistake for Feyenoord first goal, both central defenders looked a bit confused in set piece situations, Andre Pröpper had a very poor game and Justin Kluivert’s finishing let him down.

  • we made 22 fouls and conceded two goals from set pieces
  • our average rating was 6.69 - probably our lowest of the season


I had some serious conversations with some of the players after this defeat. Topic being their performances and certain expectations that need to be met while playing for Ajax first team. Hopefully that helps.

News from Groningen say that FC Groningen have hired Sparta’s Michiel Hemmen as their new manager.


08.12.2027 - AFC Ajax - Sporting Lisbon 0:0 (Champions League Group G)

It’s difficult to compose ourselves after Feyenoord defeat and after so poor performances it was a difficult squad selection for me. We practiced defending set pieces before the game and hoped to scrape that necessary win in the last Champions League group game.

Sporting play with two DMC’s and defend really deep, so they’re difficult to break in attack and we have to be aware of counters.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Alleyne, Schans (Gudelj), de Boer, Ari, Stekelenburg (Lang), Antonucci, van Grinsven (Matal), Kluivert, Pröpper

As I expected, we didn’t get too many chances. Closest to goal that we got in the firs thalf was Engin Ari’s free kick that grazed Sporting crossbar. Michel de Boer made a very bad error in 40’ - his throw-in was intercepted by Joaozinho and Sporting’s best striker was denied by great save by our goalkeeper.

Second half was really similar - we got some half-chances, Justin Kluivert’s header in 47’ forced a good save from Sporting goalkeeper, but we again had to be aware of counter-attacks and Marvin Koops saved us in 58’ after one of those ended with great chance for Cristiano Vaz. Sporting looked nervous on the pitch, but we couldn’t take advantage of that and despite trying hard for the last 15 minutes it ended 0:0. That means we’re 3rd in the group and will continue in Europa League knockout stages. Effort was there, but we just didn’t have luck and fell a bit short.

  • our shooting was 16/3 - we tried, but didn’t have good chances and most of the shots were rather ambitious
  • Michel de Boer made 6 individual mistakes, including this awful throw-in
  • Dirk van Grinsven suffered thigh strain in this game and he’ll be out for 2 weeks (effectively until Christmas)


Champions League Group G

  1. Manchester City 15
  2. Sporting Lisbon 8
  3. AFC Ajax 8
  4. FC Red Bull Salzburg 2


11.12.2027 - ADO Den Haag - AFC Ajax 0:0 (ED)

ADO Den Haag was predicted to finish 9th before this game and they’re solid mid-table side. We were favourites before the game, but we had some fitness troubles. Dirk van Grinsven was injured, Michel de Boer and Francesco Antonucci looked tired, Mounir El Amrani was back in full training and starts from the bench.

Squad: Koops, Drost (Mulder), Alleyne, Leyder, Gudelj, Karelse, Stekelenburg (Antonucci), Janssen (Lang), Matal, Kluivert, Pröpper

We weren’t recovered well from previous tough games and almost gifted an opportunity for ADO in the beginning of the game. Dennis Graafland passed Nathan Leyder a bit too easily, but Koops made a brilliant save to deny him. Other than that chance in 7’ it was a very drab first half and second half wasn’t much better.

We started to get our first scoring opportunities after more than hour was played. Andre Pröpper saw his shot being saved and Justin kluivert wasted his clear cut chance in 78’ with a poor shot. Pröpper summed our poor finishing up in injury time, skewing his shot completely wide of goal.

Another sub-par result for us in this December. We didn’t create enough chances and those that we got we we didn’t take.


It was 17th game in our Eredivisie season and we’ve gathered 42 points. Not bad at all, considering how everybody else are struggling at the moment. 40 points is my usual benchmark for the equator and we met that this time around.

Europa League knockout round draw was made and we will go against CSKA Moscow in the first round. The competitions still has some big teams in it - Manchester United, Liverpool, Atletico, PSG and Dortmund Borussia are most reputable sides to name a few.


17.12.2027 - Almere City - AFC Ajax 1:3 (Dutch Cup 4th round) - 51. Arjan van Gastel - 57. Francesco Antonucci, 72. and 90.+2 Tarik de Wit

Our form has been poor recently and I hoped to raise morale with a solid cup win. Almere City is one of the smallest clubs in Eredivisie and we should beat them even with rotation players. First team stars were partly rested because of tough schedule and I hoped that some youngsters see this cup game as a chance to show their skills and earn more playing time in the league. Places are up for grabs, so go for it.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Mulder, Leyder, de Boer, Karelse (Ari), Lang, Janssen (Antonucci), Matal, Kluivert, El Amrani (de Wit)

First half was again a drab football from both sides. No real chances, poor attacking movement and lack of midfield support were keywords for this first 45 minutes of football.

Almere City had better start to second half. Their cross from our left took a  deflection and ball found its way to far post where Tom Drost forgot to mark Arjan van Gastel. Simple goal really and unacceptable by defenders to allow it. We had to make changes now, because we hadn’t created anything in the first half and I sent in Antonucci. Italian midfielder made the difference and equalized just five minutes later and another substitute Tarik de Wit made it 2-1 in 72’. Young striker de Wit added our third goal from corner in injury time and that clinched our win.

Despite 3-1 scoreline I wasn’t happy with performance - our first 55 minutes offered no chances and we needed to concede to react and improve our game. Good goals by youngster de Wit, though.

  • we had no real chances in the game, but somehow managed to score three goals
  • Tarik de Wit scored his first ever goals for Ajax


18.12.2027 - AFC Ajax - Vitesse Arnhem 0:0 (ED)

I didn’t change much ahead of Vitesse game. Ticked overlapping instructions on tactic sheet and hoped that perhaps Amsterdam Arena might do the magic if goals are not coming in away games.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Alleyne, Gudelj, Leyder, Stekelenburg (Janssen), Antonucci (Lang), van Grinsven, Kluivert, Pröpper (de Wit)

We had another drab 30 minutes in the first half, but finally started to apply some pressure to Vitesse goal after that. Pieter Stekelenburg sent his shot inches wide and Matal had attempt on target in 35’. However it was evident that we needed more creativity as we didn’t have really good chances in the first half.

Vitesse almost took the lead after half-time break. We failed to clear their corner in 47’ and finally Bart Cummins took the shot from close range, but Marvin Koops made a brilliant save to deny him. That was a close call and we improved defensively after that. Unfortunately our attacking game continued to fail us - passing in midfield was so poor that it hurt to watch and Vitesse gathered most of second balls. Not enough pressure, not enough awareness and technical skills and first touches failed us.

Vitesse was definitely more happy with this point than we were. I was more upset about the manner of our failure rather than about lost points.

  • our shooting was again just 17/3 - failure to find target in attack is haunting us in recent weeks
  • we had no real chances throughout this whole game
  • Andre Pröpper hurt himself and he’ll be out for 2 weeks with twisted knee


22.12.2027 - AFC Ajax - FC Twente Enschede 1:1 (ED) - 20. Nketsi Matal - 62. pen. Kevin Burg

It was our last game of the year 2027 and my 600th game in management, so I hoped we can finally end this poor month in higher spirits and get a win.

FC Twente are 4th in the table with our own youngest Eugene Talea having a great season for them. They’re perhaps the biggest overachievers in Eredivisie despite being in financial troubles and having a couple of poor seasons, but manager Tieme Klompe has worked miracles with them and gathered players with high work rate and getting them to play really well.

We practiced defending set pieces before this game and had to accept that we’re without Andre Pröppre and Dirk van Grinsven in this game. I made two changes to line-up: Michel de Boer started in left-back and Mounir El Amrani in attack.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Alleyne, Schans, de Boer, Leyder, Stekelenburg (Lang), Antonucci (Janssen), Matal, Kluivert, El Amrani (de Wit)

We started this game much better than previous ones. Mounir El Amrani headed just over in 3’ and Nketsi Matal opened scoring for us in 20’, heading it in after good cross by Justin Kluivert.

We were better team in the first half, but we gave that all away in 61’ when Tom Drost pushed Nicky Gaddum in our box while defending IFK situation and Kevin Burg equalized from the spot. Tom Drost’s miserable night continued in 85’ when he received his 2nd yellow card and went to early shower, so we had to settle with draw again.

  • our shooting was 12/4 - not much improvement from previous games


Our form took a nosedive in December. Worst month of the season so far. Derby loss against Feyenoord, narrowly missed our chance to reach Champions League knockout stages and series of poor draws in Eredivisie. Our attacking spark was completely gone in this month, Dirk van Grinsven injury and Andre Pröpper’s poor form hampered our attacking game and we struggled against deep-defending teams. Hopefully January will be better for us.





There’s only 4 points left of our big lead. PSV and the rest of the pack are further behind.


Ajax goals: Andre Pröpper 15, Justin Kluivert 11, Dirk van Grinsven 8

Ajax assists: Justin Kluivert 11, Dirk van Grinsven 8, Nketsi Matal 8

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January 2028


January transfer window started and I decided to make some changes to first team squad and decisions about certain players.

Firstly, Dejan Meleg was set for release and moved down to Jong Ajax. His contract will run out in Summer, but he’s still injured (slipped disc) and his form and abilities are declining as well.

New players in first team squad are Jeroen Jansen, Clyde Sastrodimedjo and Jeroen Capobianco.

I moved Tarik de Wit on loan to P. Ferreira (Portuguese Premier League) and Capobianco went to VVV Venlo until the end of season.

There was a lot of interest and different bids for my youngsters - Rene van den Bosch, Johan van Dalen, Gerard Karelse and Derian Tepperik all got bids from clubs like Chelsea, Juventus and Manchester City, but I turned them down easily. More serious offers came for Michel de Boer, but £3-4m is not enough for him and my proposed price wasn’t met by suitors. Andre Pröpper was shortlisted by Liverpool, AS Roma and other top clubs, but no serious bid was made for him, so in summary no big moves for first team players and so our squad remains pretty much the same for the second half of the season.

Backroom news is that our long-serving coach Igor Charalambopoulos announced his retirement in the end of this season. 68 years old Italian has a good eye and he needs to be replaced in Summer.


22.01.2028 - Helmond Sport - AFC Ajax 0:4 (ED) - 45.+1 Nketsi Matal, 46. Justin Kluivert, 71. and 83. Mounir El Amrani

We needed to improve after poor December and first game in January against minnows in Helmond was a good chance to start our new year with improved form. I chose tactics without overlapping instructions and selected more attacking players for the game we expected to dominate in midfield. Tom Drost was suspended, but otherwise we had fit squad available.

Squad: Koops, Mulder, Alleyne, Schans, de Boer, Leyder (Karelse), Stekelenburg, Antonucci, Matal (van Grinsven), Kluivert, Pröpper (El Amrani)

We wanted to improve, but failed to do so in first half. Same old drab football that haunted us in December - most of our shots went off target, we only got a couple of half-chances that were saved by Helmond goalkeeper and on defensive end we looked vulnerable in set pieces and lost headers inside our box. But in injury time we broke through - excellent counter continued with superb pass from Pröpper to Matal and South African winger made it 1-0. Dressing room goal.

Whatever was said in Helmond Sport dressing room at half-time was rendered irrelevant right after kick-off. Excellent cross from Peter Mulder found Kluivert in front of the goal and it was 2-0 before Helmond could even blink. That decided the game, but goalscoring wasn’t over. Substitute Mounir El Amrani offered the best of his abilities, scoring first an excellent shot from 20 meters (wonderful goal) and then doubled his tally with solid header.

In the end it was a very good away win for us, and we raised our game in second half to take very convincing win.


26.01.2028 - AFC Ajax - FC Groningen 0:0 (ED)

January schedule is fairly easy for us, but FC Groningen, despite their current league position, were perhaps the most challenging of those three games, so I chose mostly our best players. Tom Drost was back in first team and Mounir El Amrani earned his place in line-up with excellent game against Helmond.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Alleyne, Schans, Gudelj, Leyder, Stekelenburg (Lang), Antonucci, van Grinsven (Matal), Kluivert, El Amrani (Pröpper)

We almost conceded an early goal in 8’ - FC Groningen’s Ralf Stam found space between our centre-backs, but his shot from open position went wide. We then took control of the game, but failed to create anything too dangerous. Sergio Alleyne sent his header from IFK towards goal, but it was hacked off the line by defenders. Francesco Antonucci got our best chance in the first half right before half time whistle, but his shot was saved. It was too good of a chance to miss, honestly. I wasn’t very impressed with our first half - inability to score combined with the clear cut chance for FC Groningen brought us back to what I saw most of December.

Second half didn’t offer much extra. Substitutions didn’t have much effect. Nathan Leyder’s ambitious shot clipped the post and went wide in 66’ and Justin Kluivert got our best chance in 75’, but his shot was blocked by last ditch tackle from Groningen defender Jelmer Koning.

We had to settle for disappointing goalless draw in Amsterdam Arena. FC Groningen are certainly more happy of that point - they can use every help in their relegation battle.


29.01.2028 - AFC Ajax - PEC Zwolle 10:1 (ED) - 3. Michel de Boer, 4., 40., 44. pen. and 71. Justin Kluivert, 36. Nketsi Matal, 53. Tyrell Malacia (og), 63. Edward Schans, 69. Joep Lammers (og), 84. Noa Lang - 14. Pinchi

January ended with must win game in Amsterdam Arena against small PEC Zwolle team. Zwolle too are in relegation trouble and cash-strapped, so they should be easy prey for us. Overlapping instructions went on and I expected to see some goals (and didn’t disappoint this time).

Squad: Koops, Drost, Mulder, Schans, de Boer, Ari (Karelse), Stekelenburg, Antonucci (Lang), Matal, Kluivert, Pröpper (El Amrani)

We took control quickly - Michel de Boer scored with a good header from corner and just a minute later Justin Kluivert extended our lead. We looked comfortable, but then conceded a careless goal and it was back to 2:1. Zwolle’s Kevin Stolk crossed from our left, it went towards goal and surprised Marvin Koops a little. Goalkeeper managed to make a save, but Pinchi collected the ball and finished into empty goal. Poor positioning and judgment from Koops in this situation. Nevertheless, we scored our third goal in 36’ and it was one way traffic from this point forward. Justin Kluivert completed his hat-trick in the end of first half and we went to the break with 5-1 lead.

We continued in the same fashion in 2nd half. PEC Zwolle was unfortunate to concede two own goals, but we added some more. Edward Schans headed in an IFK, Andre Pröpper managed to waste his clear cut chance in 60’, Justin Kluivert took his second penalty in 82’ after Nketsi Matal was tripped in Zwolle box, but his second spot kick was saved by goalkeeper and substitute Noa Lang finished this game with our 10th goal of the night. That right - 10th. I’ll spell it out for you - T-E-N! Zwolle players looked miserable while we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly and the result celebrates our highest scoring game in Eredivisie.

  • our shooting was 27/18 and we had 8 clear cut chances (from which we still managed to waste too many) - as I said, one way traffic
  • our average rating was 8.74, amazing performances all around with 4 goals to Kluivert and 4 assists from Nketsi Matal
  • Edward Schans and Michel de Boer scored their first ever league goals for Ajax


I’m fairly pleased with our January. We should have done better against FC Groningen, but there’s not too many things that can cheer a manager up like 10:1 win.





FC Utrecht lost their game against Vitesse and we’ve gained a point in the table. FC Groningen have collected good points and try to climb up from relegation zone and it looks like it’s smaller teams in bottom three in the end.


Ajax goals: Justin Kluivert 16, Andre Pröpper 15, Dirk van Grinsven 8

Ajax assists: Justin Kluivert 12, Nketsi Matal 10, Dirk van Grinsven 8

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February 2028


01.02.2028 - ADO Den Haag - AFC Ajax 0:2 (Dutch Cup Quarter Final) - 9. Nketsi Matal, 19. Noa Lang

February starts with cup quarter final, but fixture list also includes two European games against CSKA Moscow. ADO missed their best striker Dennis Graafland due to injury and that should make our work a lot easier. I made some changes to line-up and all the players who complained about their playing time recently got the chance to impress - Karelse, Matal and El Amrani. Tactically I turned off overlapping instructions.

Squad: Koops, Drost (Mulder), Alleyne, Schans, Gudelj, Karelse (Ari), Lang, Antonucci (Stekelenburg), Matal, Kluivert, El Amrani

We started very well and scored two goals in the first half. Nketsi Matal finished his clear cut chance after good through ball from El Amrani and Noa Lang extended our lead in 19’, after ADO goalkeeper punched away Kluivert’s cross, but it fell to our midfielder’s feet. Mounir El Amrani worked hard and looked hungry for goals, but he couldn’t finish his chances off in the end of the first half. Despite that I enjoyed watching his workrate and motivation on the pitch.

Second half was much less exciting and didn’t offer so many shots on target, but final result still meant very solid away win for us.

  • our shooting was 22/10 - I can be happy with that
  • our semi-final will be against NAC Breda


06.02.2028 - NAC Breda - AFC Ajax 2:3 (ED) - 65. Mathias Honsak, 90.+2 Rob Viergever - 10. and 57. Justin Kluivert, 45. Pieter Stekelenburg

New challenge after new year is always to keep all players happy and distribute the load. I usually try to organize things so that no player needs to play more than 40 games in a season and with 12 league games to go math starts to kick in and some youngsters might get their chance against smaller teams.

NAC Breda, of course, are no minnows - solid mid-table side, although they looked mightily exhausted after their cup game. We’re against them in cup semi-final and as this game will also be away fixture for us, it’s a good practice.

Squad: Koops, Drost (Mulder), Alleyne, Schans, de Boer, Leyder (Ari), Stekelenburg, Antonucci (Lang), van Grinsven, Kluivert, Pröpper

We had very good first 15 minutes. Andre Pröpper had the first shot, but was denied by post and then Justin Kluivert opened scoring with a simple tap-in after van Grinsven crossed from our right. Kluivert had another great chance in 15’, but this shot was saved by NAC goalkeeper Yanick van Osch. Game evened out after that first 15 minutes, but in the end of the first half we managed to double our lead. Andre Pröpper’s shot was blocked, but van Osch had already gone down to save that and Pieter Stekelenburg had an empty goal in front of him. I was pleased with our first half and two-goal lead.

Justin Kluivert scored our third goal in 57’ after good through ball by Stekelenburg, but after substitutions we somehow lost concentration and NAC took advantage of that in set piece situations. Pieter Stekelenburg was too passive in 68’ and Mathias Honsak headed in from corner. With game nearing to end, Andre Pröpper won a header from corner in 89’, but hit the crossbar - so unlucky for him to hit the framework twice, but still not score. Instead it was Rob Viergever who punished us in injury time. Again from corner and Sergio Alleyne’s missed header led to this goal. We still won the game in the end, but while first 60 minutes were very good, I’m seriously disappointed about the last half hour of football. We gave away two easy goals from corners and that is unacceptable.

  • Pieter Stekelenburg was outstanding for us in this game, leading the game from midfield - a goal and assist to his name tonight


12.02.2028 - AFC Ajax - SC Cambuur 1:1 (ED) - 20. Mounir El Amrani, 59. Yann Kasai

With UEFA League games coming up and this being a home fixture, I allowed ourselves some rotation and youngsters got their chance. Tactically, we used overlapping again.

Squad: Gluhalic, Drost (Mulder), Alleyne, Schans, de Boer, Karelse (Ari), Lang, Antonucci, Matal, Kluivert, El Amrani (Pröpper)

Young goalkeeper Ismet Gluhalic was making his league debut for Ajax and he had to make his first save in 11’ - Dario Bugno got a shot on target after IFK and reflex save from Gluhalic stopped it. We took the lead in 20’ - good cross from our left gave half chance to El Amrani and big forward used his opportunity well. El Amrani almost doubled his tally in 41’ when his header from corner smashed crossbar. SC Cambuur had their best chance of the game in 44’ - Gluhalic made his mistake there to go for cross, missed it, But Michel de Boer was on the right place to block Bugno’s shot. We had the lead after first half, but SC Cambuur had chances too and it was pretty even game so far.

Cambuur got their equalizer in second half, though. Counter-attack ended with excellent shot from Yann Kasai. Edward Schans couldn’t block it, Gluhalic couldn’t save it. We looked rather poor for the rest of the second half - poor decisions in attack, poor shots and so the final score remained 1-1. Disappointing, but I have to take responsibility for that, as my squad selection obviously contributed to it.

  • our shooting was only 19/4


After this matchday sc Heerenveen sacked Mitchell van der Gaag - poor results cost him the job.


17.02.2028 - CSKA Moscow - AFC Ajax 2:2 (Europa League 1st knockout round 1st leg) - 10. Andre Pröpper, 36. Dirk van Grinsven - 85. Michael Folivi, 87. Farid Aberrane

CSKA Moscow should be our equal and I believed we have a chance to go forward from this pair. I selected more experienced players for the first game and we practiced defending set pieces before the match. Moscow welcomed us with snowy pitch. I forgot to check weather before the game and hoped that snow would not hinder our game too much.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Alleyne, Schans, de Boer, Leyder (Ari), Stekelenburg, Antonucci (Lang), van Grinsven, Kluivert, Pröpper (El Amrani)

We played excellent first half. Andre Pröpper wasted his first opportunity (or was it brilliant save by CSKA goalkeeper), but we took the lead in 10’. Pröpper intercepted a poor backpass and didn’t hesitate to finish. Dirk van Grinsven extended our lead after good counter and we went to half-time with two goal lead. And two away goals, which is even more important in continental games.

Second half was also under our control until CSKA started to find chances in the last 15 minutes. Good play on our left wing allowed them to bring ball into box and cross found Michael Folivi in our six yard box (with Sergio Alleyne just standing behind him). Just two minutes later Aberrane made it 2-2 with very good shot to far post and that was it. We gave away our 2-0 lead and allowed CSKA to equalize late in the game. Very frustrating, but we have those away goals nevertheless and that should give us advantage for 2nd leg.

  • our shooting was 23/11 and we were better team for most part of the match
  • Justin Kluivert hurt his thigh and he’ll be out for around two weeks


20.02.2028 - AFC Ajax - MVV Maastricht 2:0 (ED) - 57. Jurich Carolina (og), 69. Mark Pohowainjaan (og)

One league game between two Europa League fixtures. MVV are tough opponents, but squad looked tired and I had to rotate. Young winger Johan van Dalen started in AML due to Kluivert’s injury.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Alleyne (Mulder), Leyder, de Boer, Ari, Lang, Antonucci (Janssen), Matal (van Grinsven), van Dalen, El Amrani

First half was fairly drab. Both teams had one shot on target in the first five minutes and it went boring after that.

Second half started in similar fashion until our first goal. Mounir El Amrani headed it towards goal, ball took deflection from Jurich Carolina and went in. MVV just didn’t have luck and it was all repeated in 69’ when Mark Pohowainjaan scored their second own goal - ball deflected in after GK saved and it bounced over line from Pohowainjaan.

It was little bit unlucky for MVV as we didn’t put them under real pressure, but I’ll take that win and be happy with it.

  • Johan van Dalen made his debut for Ajax in this game


24.02.2028 - AFC Ajax - CSKA Moscow 4:3 (Europa League 1st knockout round 2nd leg) - 52., 116. and 120.+1 Andre Pröpper, 56. Francesco Antonucci - 25. pen. Ricardo Esgaio, 64. Victor Spirin, 92. Leonid Yevseev

First team players were back in selection and we practiced defending set pieces before the match. We had to just keep our clean sheet or go for 1:1 draw and we’re through - didn’t look too difficult before kick-off.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Alleyne, Schans, Gudelj, Leyder (Karelse), Stekelenburg, Antonucci (Lang), van Grinsven, van Dalen (Matal), Pröpper

Quick goal would have helped us a lot in this game and we got an early chance, but Andre Pröpper headed it over from point blank range in 10’. And just what we did not need was a stupid mistake, but that’s what we got when Francesco Antonucci made a foul in our box and gave away penalty for CSKA. First half was a disappointment - we were 0:1 down at home and CKSA enjoyed 3:2 aggregate lead.

We picked ourselves up in second half - Pröpper equalized and Francesco Antonucci made up for his mistake with our second goal. Again CSKA found a goal, but this one was different. Noa Lang pulled some muscle or something while on ball, Victor Spirin picked up a loose ball and went 1-1 against Marvin Koops and finished with a good striker. This is probably one of the most unsportsmanlike goals I’ve ever seen in football, but what else do you expect from Russians…

Full time ended 2:2 and so we went to extra time and we quickly conceded another goal - Leonid Yevseev found the net from tight angle. We were in all kind of trouble now as we needed two more goals to turn this game around. We tried hard, but in those moments luck seemed to have abandoned us. Dirk van Grinsven headed post in 95’ and his shot found another post five minutes later. Extremely unlucky. Andre Pröpper finally equalized in 116’ and in injury time we found a winner! Dirk van Grinsven crossed for Pröpper and our striker completed his hat-trick to give us 4-3 win and ticket to next round. What a finish, WHAT A GAME! We really deserved that win and that was one of the highlights of this season so far.

  • our shooting was 26/8 - need to get more shots on target
  • Andre Pröpper was outstanding for us with his hattrick
  • a lot of players picked up small injuries and are out around a week - Sergio Alleyne and Nketsi Matal suffered gashed head, Dragisa Gudelj damaged his heel
  • our next opponents are Fenerbahce


27.02.2028 - FC Twente Enschede - AFC Ajax 2:1 (ED) - 31. Mirko Roland, 35. Ratko Nijs - 78. Dirk van Grinsven

Squad looked still exhausted after tough extra time game and with several players injured I had to rely on rotation players against FC Twente.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Mulder, Leyder (Jansen), de Boer, Ari (Karelse), Lang, Antonucci (Janssen), van Grinsven, van Dalen, El Amrani

The first half in this game was our worst 45 minutes in Eredivisie in this season. FC Twente got their first clear cut chance already in 7’, but the shot was weak and held by Koops comfortably. Our defense looked tired and late on tackles and that resulted in the first goal by Mirko Roland. Ratko Nijs headed in from corner to double Twente’s lead. Firs thalf ended 0:2 and we didn’t do anything to deserve better scoreline.

Second half was slightly better, but not enough. Dirk van Grinsven wasted one clear cut chance in 61’, but scored one goal after good cross from Michel de Boer, but that was it. Deserved win for FC Twente and very disappointing performance from us.

  • we allowed 23 dribbles to FC Twente
  • Nathan Leyder was really poor in central defense - he made 5 mistakes and was to blame for 2nd goal
  • Jeroen Janssen made his debut for Ajax
  • It was Tom Drost’s 200th appearance for Ajax


Mixed results in February. CSKA games were a spectacle to fans and I’m happy to extend our continental season, but we’ve dropped points against smaller teams and that final game and manner of that loss leaves a disappointment ahead of March.

No real damage done though, as FC Utrecht are still five points behind us and we’re leading the table.





FC Utrecht are holding their 2nd place and bottom three are starting to separate. Almere City is my prime candidate for relegation in this year.


Ajax goals: Andre Pröpper 19, Justin Kluivert 18, Dirk van Grinsven 10

Ajax assists: Justin Kluivert 15, Dirk van Grinsven 11, Nketsi Matal 10

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March 2028


March is full of difficult games. We’re up against Fenerbahce in Europa league, league six-pointer against FC Utrecht and derby against PSV Eindhoven. Tight schedule and


01.03.2028 - NAC Breda - AFC Ajax 0:2 (Dutch Cup Semi Final) - 13. Dirk van Grinsven, 20. Andre Pröpper

We start the month with cup semi final against NAC Breda. We’ve beaten them before and were expected to do that in this game too, and reaching to cup final is pretty much our minimum target for the season. I hoped that Justin Kluivert might return for this game - he was back in full training, but not yet match fit, though.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Mulder, Schans, de Boer (Jansen), Karelse (Leyder), Stekelenburg (Sastrodimedjo), Antonucci, van Grinsven, van Dalen, Pröpper

We started well and took the lead in 13’. Dirk van Grinsven headed in off the bar. It didn’t take long and Andre Pröpper extended our lead (his 20th goal of the season!). Pröpper had another great chance to double his tally in injury time of the first half - he was fouled in NAC Breda box by Harun Firat. Penalty looked perhaps a little harsh to neutral eye, but it was given by referee. Unfortunately Pröpper himself couldn’t convert it and NAC goalkeeper Yanick van Osch made a good save to deny him.

Second half was much more boring. NAC Breda got their best shot of the game in 48’ when Papito Bicintini curled his free kick over our wall and Marvin Koops made a wonderful save to bring it out from bottom corner. That was it and we secured our place in the final with this two-goal win.

  • we made 22 fouls and that was a bit too much
  • we allowed 22 dribbles and 20 key passes for NAC Breda - defense and midfield could have applied more pressure to their players
  • Johan van Dalen had a great game
  • Clyde Sastrodimedjo made his debut for Ajax
  • it wa Dirk van Grinsven’s 300th game for Ajax


04.03.2028 - Sparta Rotterdam - AFC Ajax 0:3 (ED) - 2. and 36. Justin Kluivert, 30. Mounir El Amrani

Away match against Sparta was perhaps our easiest game in March and I opted to give rotation players a chance in this one. My assistant manager advised me to focus on defending set pieces practice before the game and we did just that. Justin Kluivert returned to line-up. Sergio Alleyne, Dragisa Gudelj and Nketsi Matal were also ready to start after skipping a couple of games.

Squad: Koops, Drost (Mulder), Alleyne, Schans, Gudelj, Ari, Lang, Antonucci (Janssen), Matal, Kluivert (van Dalen), El Amrani

We started with a flyer and Justin Kluivert celebrated his return after two weeks’ pause with a quick goal. Mounir El Amrani doubled our lead with a good open header and before first half was done we were 3-0 ahead. Nketsi Matal skipped skillfully through two defenders and crossed for Kluivert. Excellent first half performance put us in control and while second half was rather boring, we took a breather and secured our clean sheet. Very convincing win, especially while some key players were rested.


sc Heerenveen have been looking for new manager for a couple of weeks now and they’ve appointed our Italian coach Leandro Massoni to this post. I’m sorry to see him go (and I lose a 4,5* defending coach), but I’m sure that’s a very good move for sc Heerenveen.


09.03.2028 - AFC Ajax - Fenerbahce 1:1 (Europa League 2nd knockout round 1st leg) - 6. Dirk van Grinsven - 90.+1 pen. Brian Crespo

I didn’t expect much of this Fenerbahce encounter. I knew that if we wanted to go forward from this pair we needed a win from home and preferably clean sheet to go with it. Bookies favoured Fenerbahce, but two teams are quite similar in my opinion.

We continued our defensive set pieces tactics and relied on experience, as I usually do in continental games.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Alleyne, Schans, Gudelj (de Boer), Leyder, Stekelenburg, Antonucci (Lang), van Grinsven, Kluivert, Pröpper (El Amrani)

Fenerbahce players looked complacent in the beginning of the match and we quickly took advantage of that. Dirk van Grinsven scored from Kluivert’s cross and just two minutes later Kluivert had another chance, but his shot was saved (although with difficulties for goalkeeper). We had plenty of opportunities in the first half. Andre Pröpper wasted his great chance in 31’ and Pieter Stekelenburg sent only sof shot towards goal while completely open in 37’. Meanwhile Fenerbahce got nearer to goal too - their winger Gerardo Rodriguez forced a brilliant save from Marvin Koops and some clumsy defensive work while defending corner ended with ball going against our crossbar in 41’. Very entertaining first half - we should have been 3:0 ahead, but 1:0 lead is OK too.

We continued well in second half, but our finishing let us down. Pröpper continued to miss his chances and Dirk van Grinsven had a great look in 78’, but again goalkeeper saved Fenerbahce. We were so well in control that I hoped to get the second goal before final whistle, but instead we conceded a late equalizer. Sergio Alleyne’s foul in our box conceded a penalty that was converted by Brian Crespo.

Very disappointing result after really good performance. Attacking players have to look into mirror after this draw, our finishing should have been a lot better. 1:1 draw in Amsterdam Arena gives advantage to Fenerbahce and we have to go for a win in Istanbul in a weeks time.

  • our shooting was 26/9 and we had 5 clear cut chances - very bad day at the office for Andre Pröpper
  • Francesco Antonucci and Dragisa Gudelj will miss 2nd leg game due to yellow cards


12.03.2028 - AFC Ajax - FC Utrecht 5:0 (ED) - 4. Dirk van Grinsven, 9., 32. and 82. Andre Pröpper, 19. Justin Kluivert

Before 2nd leg against Fenerbahce we had FC Utrecht in our schedule and this was a true title six-pointer in March. FC Utrecht are just 5 points behind us and win here in Amsterdam Arena would bring them very close to us in Eredivisie table. Because of our home advantage I was optimistic and we practiced attacking movement in preparation for this game. FC Utrecht came with their usual 5-3-2 WB setup and we sent our best team out against them.

Squad: Koops, Drost (Mulder), Alleyne, Schans, de Boer, Leyder (Karelse), Lang, Antonucci, van Grinsven, Kluivert (van Dalen), Pröpper

We attacked right from kick-off and work made in practice sessions was put to good use. Dirk van Grinsven scored a flyer, five minutes later Andre Pröpper took advantage of poor clearance, intercepted and finished calmly his chance and in 19’ Justin Kluivert scored our 3rd goal (and his 100th career league goal). In this moment result was decided, but scoring didn’t end. Pröpper added two more goals and completed his hattrick in 82’ while FC utrecht didn’t get a single good chance throughout the game. Brilliant first half led to excellent result and we proved to Holland football fans that we deserve title in this season.

  • we lost possession 45/55, but were miles ahead in terms of chances created
  • our average rating was 8.35
  • Dirk van Grinsven made 16 dribbles and caused all kind of troubles for FC Utrecht defenders
  • Andre Pröpper, Dirk van Grinsven, Justin Kluivert and Michel de Boer were outstanding


16.03.2028 - Fenerbahce - AFC Ajax 1:5 (Europa League 2nd knockout round 2nd leg) - 68. Bruno Mota - 40. and 67. Justin Kluivert, 71. and 90.+2 Mounir El Amrani, 85. Gerard Karelse

Mood in our training camp was buoyant after FC Utrecht win, but more difficult challenge was ahead in Europe. We needed a win (or 2:2 or higher draw) against Fenerbahce away from home. Our task was more difficult because Dragisa Gudelj and Francesco Antonucci were suspended for this game. I was aware of our vulnerabilities in set piece situations, so we practiced defending those in training and went with our usual tactics, hoping to score a goal or two in the first half.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Alleyne, Schans, de Boer, Leyder (Karelse), Lang, Stekelenburg, van Grinsven (Matal), Kluivert, Pröpper (El Amrani)

We had an early chance right in the first minute - Andre Pröpper sent a great through ball to Stekelenburg, but our playmaker’s shot was saved by Fenerbahce goalkeeper. Andre Pröpper then had a chance in 16’, but his attempt was blocked by lunging defender. But the goal that we desperately needed, came in 40’ - good midfield combination ended with a good shot by Kluivert and scoreline was 1-0 at half-time. Fenerbahce players looked a bit complacent and it was punished in the end of the first half. We looked calm and confident in the first period and I was pleased with performance.

In 2nd half Fenerbahce showed that they too can attack. Didier Petit sent his shot just wide in 47’ and they were looking for equalizer and looked more attacking-minded. I sent Nketsi Matal in for van Grinsven in 67’ and that changed the game. South African winger had his first chance in 67’ - shot was saved, but Kluivert scored from rebound. Unfortunately we then allowed our concentration to drop for a moment and Tom Drost’s missed interception was punished by quick reply from Bruno Mota. But another substitute Mounir El Amrani extended our lead in 71’ (excellent counter and assist from Matal again) and after Matal wasted another chance, youngster Gerard Karelse scored from corner to make it 4:1 and effectively putting aside all doubts. Fenerbahce had one more chance to score from corner, but Brian Crespo’s attempt hit the post in 85’ and El Amrani scored our 5th goal in injury time from IFK.

In the end it was a wonderful result for us, true demonstration of free-flowing attacking football and we progressed for quarter finals.

  • our shooting was 18/11
  • we created 7 clear cut chances and were efficient from set pieces
  • Justin Kluivert, Mounir El Amrani, Nketsi Matal and Noa Lang were outstanding
  • in quarter finals we’re against Dynamo Kyiv - definitely a favourable draw, as PSG or Manchester United were also possible opponents


19.03.2028 - AFC Ajax - PSV Eindhoven 3:0 (ED) - 3. and 63. Nketsi Matal, 14. Andre Pröpper

Our last game in March before international break was De Topper derby against PSV Eindhoven in front of home fans at Amsterdam Arena. We were in good form and I chose to concentrate on attacking movement training, but some players looked fairly tired after Europa League game and Francesco Antonucci was suspended for 2nd game in a row (10 yellow cards in Eredivisie), so some rotation was necessary.

Squad: Koops, Drost (Mulder), Alleyne, Schans, Gudelj, Karelse, Lang, Stekelenburg (Janssen), Matal, Kluivert (van Dalen), Pröpper

Just like against Fenerbahce we started well and Nketsi Matal scored after wonderful backheel through ball by Andre Pröpper. Pröpper himself extended our lead with a good header and although first half didn’t offer much exciting moments after that, it was still a very good 2-0 lead inside first 15 minutes for us.

Nketsi Matal scored our third goal in 2nd half and we controlled the game after that until the end. Very good win for us in a derby match and PSV must feel frustrated because they didn’t create anything dangerous against us in whole 90 minutes.

  • we were caught by offside trap too many times (15) and that hindered our attacks
  • Pieter Stekelenburg was substituted in 2nd half, but he managed to give 18 key passes
  • Nketsi Matal, Andre Pröpper and Pieter Stekelenburg were outstanding for us


While February offered mixed results, Marched was excellent month for us. We’re still in contest in all three fronts. Our form and confidence are high and Eredivisie fixture list in April looks easier in first glance.





Ajax goals: Andre Pröpper 24, Justin Kluivert 23, Dirk van Grinsven 13, Mounir El Amrani

Ajax assists: Justin Kluivert 18, Nketsi Matal 14, Dirk van Grinsven 12

Edited by Draakon

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Youth Intake 2028


When the date was near, I started to look around in Jong Ajax and U-19 squad to figure what positions need new talents in upcoming seasons. I reached to conclusion that we would profit best from one very good right-back, right winger and a striker. Tom Drost is 28 years old now and in DR we have Peter Mulder who is just a backup player and Sergio Alleyne who's really a centre-back, but can provide cover when necessary. Right winger department is quite empty behind Nketsi Matal and as I anticipate that Andre Pröpper will leave the club in this Summer, a striker would do good as well.

Instead our youth intake looked like this.



Rene Verhoeven


The most talented of the bunch. I don't specifically need a midfielder, but this guy looks versatile and someone who can play both box-to-box midfielder and advanced playmaker positions. Good passing and decisions, physically capable and decent work rate too. My coaching staff point out that he's fairly consistent.


Sjoerd de Jong


Right winger as ordered. Quick and determined and already better than anyone I currently have in my U-19 team.


Fred Koeman


Decent full-back prospect. Quick and determined and consistent too. His weakness is lack of aerial presence and probably he'll be overshadowed by Derian Tepperik.


Job ter Borgh


From 2,5* rated lads this is my favourite. DC/DMC/MC option (but most likely DMC). He has no major flaws, fairly professional nature, good tackling ability, team player. He has 'dictates tempo' preferred move (which I like) and he's very young. It gives him over 6 months time to impress until I have to choose if I hand him his first professional contract or not. With tutors that I have in my team in DMC position I'm sure he'll be a very good player in the future.


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April 2028


01.04.2028 - sc Heerenveen - AFC Ajax 1:3 (ED) - 22. Rene Timmer - 59. Noa Lang, 75. and 77. Andre Pröpper

After long international break we return to league games in April. Games against stronger sides are behind us now and I use this chance to rotate players, giving youngsters opportunities in Eredivisie and saving our more experienced players for Europaean fixtures. sc Heerenveen with their aging squad look like a team that we should be able to beat either way. Overlapping was ticked on and we went with attacking tactics.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Leyder, Schans, de Boer (Gudelj), Karelse, Lang, Stekelenburg, Matal (van Grinsven), van Dalen, El Amrani (Pröpper)

We controlled possession in the first half, but sc Heerenveen had the best chance - deep cross from our right found Rene Timmer at the far post and it was easy finish for ex-Ajax winger. First half was disappointing because we couldn’t create any chances and being 0:1 down at half-time was not something I expected before the game.

Dirk van Grinsven came on in 55’ and instantly changed the game for us. Good counter in 59’ gave us equalizer - Noa Lang finished with excellent shot from the edge of area. Andre Pröpper’s substitution in 70’ gave us extra skill in attack and he scored two goals in a row - first from IFK and second after another smart and patient move from van Grinsven. sc Heerenveen were beaten then, although their striker Vincent Scheepers had another good chance in injury time, but that shot was saved and we finished with 1:3 win. Great turnaround for us in the second half, due to good substitutions. Dirk van Grinsven created all three goals and Pröpper scored twice.

  • Pieter Stekelenburg was superb again with his playmaking skills in midfield


06.04.2028 - AFC Ajax - Dynamo Kyiv 0:1 (Europa League Quarter Final 1st leg) - 61. Walter Medina

Europa League quarter finals are here. On paper Dynamo Kyiv look stronger team than we have, but on the pitch it should be fairly equal. We trained defending set pieces before the game and had to make one change in line-up, as Tom Drost was suspended. Sergio Alleyne moved to right-back.

Squad: Koops, Alleyne, Leyder, Schans, Gudelj (de Boer), Ari, Lang (Stekelenburg), Antonucci, van Grinsven (Matal), Kluivert, Pröpper

We were well prepared for the game and Noa Lang had our best chance of the first half already in the first minute, but his shot was poor and easily held by Dynamo goalkeeper. The rest of the first half was fairly even and both teams defended well. Francesco Antonucci hit the post in 40’ with his shot from the edge of area, but it was closest we came to a goal.

We planned to keep a clean sheet in this game - that was the main goal in those two-legged games, but Dynamo found the goal in 61’. Dragisa Gudelj made a mistake, gave away possession and Walter Medina only needed a half-chance to finish in style. We made substitutions, tried to find an equalizer and almost found it in 70’ when Dirk van Grinsven had a great look, but his shot was saved. Around 70’ mark it was our purple patch of the game - good shots from Pröpper and van Grinsven forced some brilliant saves from Dynamo goalkeeper and in 72’ Pröpper’s header hit the post, but no luck and no goal for us, so it remained 0:1. It’s a narrow win for Dynamo in first leg, but it is very difficult to turn it around in Kyiv. We can blame our bad luck, but our poor finishing was the case again - in European games against big clubs we have to be more clinical. Not to take anything away from Radim Stuba who had a great game in Dynamo goal

  • our shooting was 21/8 - stats confirming what I just said: plenty of opportunities, shots on target, but needs to finish better
  • we made 21 fouls and received 5 yellow cards, earning us some suspensions for 2nd leg game


09.04.2028 - Go Ahead Eagles - AFC Ajax 1:2 (ED) - 52. Asier Nunez - 1. Mounir El Amrani, 41. Johan van Dalen

Between two European fixtures we meet with Go Ahead Eagles in Eredivisie. Eagles should be fairly easy opponents - they’re one of the smaller teams in the league, but in recent years they’ve been comfortably above relegation zone. Despite their again squad and financial troubles they managed to get away with goalless draw from Amsterdam Arena, so nothing is guaranteed. Still, I expected our rotation players to do the job and ordered overlapping instructions from fullback.

Tom Drost was suspended (again) for this game, but Peter Mulder was fit again and took his place in right-back. Justin Kluivert and Sergio Alleyne got a day off ahead of trip to Ukraine.

Squad: Gluhalic, Mulder, Leyder, Schans, Gudelj, Karelse, Stekelenburg (Lang), Antonucci (Janssen), van Grinsven (Matal), van Dalen, El Amrani

We’ve surprised our opponents with quick start in recent games and Go Ahead were hit by very early goal. Pieter Stekelenburg gave a great long pass and El Amrani finished to top corner from 18 meters. What a shot! Nothing much could be done by defenders or a goalkeeper. We continued to dominate the game with skillful passing and good attacking movement. Johan van Dalen had a couple of shots (but his poor finishing attribute was evident as half of those went well wide). El Amrani header scraped crossbar in 35’ and then van Dalen got his best opportunity of the game in 41’ and this time he didn’t mess it up. Two goal lead at half-time with good performance and reason to be pleased.

Eagles looked more motivated after half time and found the net too. Gerard Karelse missed his header inside our box and Asier Nunez headed it in. We regained our composure and in 64’ got a penalty call to our favour after El Amrani was fouled in the box. Peter Mulder took a spot kick (and only in this moment I realized that I had no decent penalty takers on the pitch) and his shot was so poor that it was held by Eagles’ goalkeeper. Despite that blunder we held onto our lead and got another win to the table.

  • we had 61% possession
  • we made 50 key passes in this game
  • our shooting was 25/10 - good numbers
  • 18 years old winger Johan van Dalen scored his first ever goal for Ajax
  • FC Utrecht made a poor 1:1 draw with PEC Zwolle and that means we secured our title with three games to go


13.04.2028 - Dynamo Kyiv - AFC Ajax 1:5 (Europa League Quarter Final 2nd leg) - 65. Lawrence Babatunde - 2. Dirk van Grinsven, 20. Justin Kluivert, 57. and 61. Andre Pröpper, 81. Noa Lang

Our defeat at home left us more difficult challenge for away game. We definitely needed to score a goal or even two and needed to create something in attack. To make our situation worse, Edward Schans and Sergio Alleyne were suspended and that disrupted our whole defensive line. We practiced defensive positioning in practice before the match and went to Kyiv with positive attitude, but without too much pressure.

Squad: Koops, Drost (Mulder), Leyder, Gudelj, de Boer, Ari (Karelse), Stekelenburg (Lang), Antonucci, van Grinsven, Kluivert, Pröpper

We had fantastic start to that game. Justin Kluivert put a very good cross to the box and Dirk van Grinsven headed it in before two minutes were past from kick-off. Justin Kluivert extended our lead in 20’ - wonderful diagonal pass by Francesco Antonucci started this move and everything was changed then. We had two away goals and two-goal lead. Dynamo now needed at least four goals and that looked highly unlikely. But they tried and our lapse of concentration just after our second goal almost cost us dearly. Dynamo’s Bobby Adekanye had a great chance in 21’, but his shot was brilliantly saved by Marvin Koops and we maintained our 2:0 lead until the end of first half. I was really pleased with our game so far. We used our chances well and fought hard in defense.

After half-time break we even managed to improve our game. Andre Pröpper was fouled in the box by Danil Kuprin in 50’. He took the penalty himself, but his shot was saved by goalkeeper. I can’t understand if it’s because we have really poor penalty takers or is it something else, but we have missed way too many spot kicks recently and it’s just fortunate that it hasn’t cost us any important results. Despite his penalty miss Pröpper scored another goal in 57’ and his header in 61’ was a final blow to Dynamo. Ukrainian side managed to get one goal to score sheet in 65’ when their substitute Lawrence Babatunde squeezed it in to near post, but Noa Lang replied with excellent finish in 81’.

It was really convincing win - we offered very good attacking football and finished our chances and Dynamo were no match for us in that night.

  • our shooting was 17/11
  • we had average rating of 8.31
  • Justin Kluivert, Andre Pröpper, Dirk van Grinsven and Francesco Antonucci were superb
  • that result sends us to Europa League semi finals against Braga

16.04.2028 - AFC Ajax - Almere City 5:1 (ED) - 2., 4., 50. and 68. Nketsi Matal, 73. Johan van Dalen - 83. Muhammed Mert

We had one league game before Dutch Cup final, and perhaps the easiest game of the season, on paper. Almere City are really struggling in the bottom of the table, they’re leaking goals from everywhere and that game was no different. I rested our best players and sent out younger side, but despite that we won easily.

Squad: Gluhalic, Mulder, Leyder, Schans, Gudelj, Karelse, Lang, Janssen, Matal, van Dalen, El Amrani

Things were under our control from the start. Quick brace by Nketsi Matal put us in charge and our right winger finished the game with four goals. Almere City were run ragged by our attack for 80 minutes, but in the end of the game they too found the net - we got too complacent and it was punished by Muhammed Mert. But it didn’t matter too much - big win in front of home fans and now we can start to prepare for cup final

  • our shooting was 28/10
  • average rating 8.22
  • Nketsi Matal, Johan van Dalen and Peter Mulder had a great game


23.04.2028 - AFC Ajax - FC Twente Enschede 4:0 (Dutch Cup Final) - 30. Younes Arbaoui (og), 34. Justin Kluivert, 41. Dirk van Grinsven, 80. Mounir El Amrani

Cup final against FC Twente had a bit more incentive than usual, because we lost against Twente in our league game in February and I wanted to take a revenge for that. But FC Twente looked like a wounded animal in April - injury ridden, with two players suspended - and it played to our advantage. We had to play without Peter Mulder who served his suspension, but generally I trusted more experienced players for the final.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Alleyne, Schans, de Boer, Karelse, Stekelenburg, Antonucci (Janssen), van Grinsven, Kluivert (van Dalen), Pröpper (El Amrani)

First 30 minutes of the game looked a bit more careful than your usual league fixture at weekends. We tried to create something, but FC Twente defended well until unfortunate own goal. Younes Arbaoui went to tackle Justin Kluivert, but the ball bounced over the line from his feet. That goal seemed to hurt FC Twente and they quickly conceded two more goals and it was 3:0 for half-time. We used our chances well, our crossing looked good and attacking movement was on spot. FC Twente looked unable to cope with that and we had one hand on the cup.

Second half was much less exciting. Ratko Nijs managed to test Marvin Koops in 58’, but we kept our clean sheet and substitute Mounir El Amrani finished the job in 80’. It was a very convincing win and I’m happy with our cup success. It is not easy to win those cup competitions - so much can go wrong and our last win came already five seasons back in 2022/2023. To win again is a great achievement and another reason for fans to celebrate.

  • we had 60% of possession and we made 52 key passes
  • our shooting was 19/11
  • our average rating was 8.05
  • Dirk van Grinsven was superb in this game


27.04.2028 - AFC Ajax - Braga 5:0 (Europa League Semi Final 1st leg) - 8., 29. and 74. Andre Pröpper, 25. Sergio Alleyne, 26. Justin Kluivert

To be honest I never expected to get so far in Europa League, but we’re in the big boys playground now. Despite that we were lucky in draw, because the other semi final is between ManU and PSG. Braga look like better team, but not by much, and our first leg at home might decide how this goes down.

We practiced defending set pieces before the game and key players got a day off for Almere City match, so we were reasonably fresh.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Alleyne, Schans, de Boer (Gudelj), Leyder, Stekelenburg (Lang), Antonucci, van Grinsven (Matal), Kluivert, Pröpper

We have show in recent games that we can surprise opponents with early goals and we almost did it here in the first minute. Pieter Stekelenburg got a shot on goal, but it bounced back from crossbar. It didn’t take long though - Andre Pröpper opened scoring with a header in 8’ and Sergio Alleyne extended our lead from corner in 25’. We looked in control in this point with our two goals while Braga had no shots so far and they probably started to panic. At least it looked like that, because their defense collapsed completely. Kluivert and Pröpper scored two more goals in a short time and Dirk van Grinsven wasted his excellent chance in 35’. First half looked completely one-sided and Braga looked in a real mess.

I enjoyed our attacking set pieces in this game - we scored a goal from corner, Justin Kluivert sent a dangerous DFK on target and our fifth goal came from set piece too. Noa Lang took a free kick that was saved with difficulties and Andre Pröpper was first to get to rebound and complete his hattrick. Sixth goal was close too - Andre Pröpper headed against crossbar in 89’ and Edward Schans had a great opportunity from IFK in injury time, but central defender couldn’t take a proper shot.

It was a wonderful win for us and almost secures our ticket to the final. I can’t believe that this game was so one-sided, it looked like Braga almost didn’t show up for this game.

  • our shooting was 25/11 while Braga only took one shot from distance
  • our average rating was 8.45
  • Andre Pröpper, Justin Kluivert and Sergio Alleyne were superb for us


With season starting to end, people start to make decisions about their future and our 63 years old coach Gery Vink announced that this season will be his last in professional football. He’s a very good coach and needs to be replaced in this Summer, so I have to start to look around in job center in May.


30.04.2028 - AFC Ajax - ADO Den Haag 4:0 (ED) - 12. and 68. Mounir El Amrani, 25. pen. Noa Lang, 65. Simon Janssen

Another league game for rotation players. I asked them to overlap more and they could play without any pressure. ADO Den Haag look like a good side with expected top-half finish, but I was confident that home ground will give us advantage.

Squad: Gluhalic, Mulder, Leyder, Schans, Gudelj, Ari (Karelse), Lang, Janssen, Matal, van Dalen, El Amrani

We continued our good attacking football and it started to bring results around 12’. Mounir El Amrani scored with a good header and just a minute later Nketsi Matal was unable to execute his clear cut chance. We had plenty of opportunities to score and ADO goalkeeper Jordi van Strappershoef had to make several key saves to deny our shot, but if we couldn’t score from open play, a penalty came to help us - Johan van Dalen was fouled in the box by Reyer van Doorn and Noa Lang converted the penalty. We were completely in control of the first half.

Second half offered less chances, but we continued to take our opportunities well. Simon Janssen scored from corner (his first ever goal for Ajax) and Mounir El Amrani put his name on the score sheet in 68’. It was another game in April that looked really one-sided and resulted in a big win.

  • our shooting was 22/16
  • our average rating was 8.26
  • Simon Janssen, Mounir El Amrani and Johan van Dalen were the best players that night
  • Simon Janssen scored his first ever league goal for Ajax
  • young midfielder Clyde Sastrodimedjo made his league debut for Ajax


This has been a fantastic month for us. We secured the title, won Dutch Cup and are almost in the Europa League final. Wow. Our form has been excellent recently and we’ve scored plenty of goals and I expect very exciting May.





We’ve put some space between us and FC Utrecht now. In the bottom of the table it’s a fight against relegation between two clubs.


Ajax goals: Andre Pröpper 31, Justin Kluivert 26, Dirk van Grinsven 15, Mounir El Amrani 14, Nketsi Matal 13

Ajax assists: Justin Kluivert 22, Dirk van Grinsven 18, Nketsi Matal 16

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May 2028


04.05.2028 - Braga - AFC Ajax 0:4 (Europa League Semi Final 2nd leg) - 19. and 46. Andre Pröpper, 59. Dirk van Grinsven, 60. Pieter Stekelenburg

Our task in this 2nd leg game wasn’t too difficult. We had to defend well and keep our lead secure. Basically just to avoid complete meltdown. A goal from us in away game would have killed this contest very quickly.

We prepared in training by practicing defensive positioning and I sent our best players out anyway.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Alleyne, Schans, de Boer (Gudelj), Leyder, Stekelenburg (Lang), Antonucci, van Grinsven (Matal), Kluivert, Pröpper

We looked sharper in the first half and Justin Kluivert had a great chance to score away goal in 11’, but hit the post instead. Away goal came anyway, just a bit later and Andre Pröpper was the man to find target after IFK. Braga had lost all hope of comeback, but they too tried to attack and created their best chance in 28’ - Michel de Boer was left standing by Braga striker, but the shot hit our goal post and bounced back. First half ended with our 1:0 lead, although Braga tried to be positive and they didn’t exactly roll over despite being down by six goals in aggregate.

Our first attack after second half kick-off resulted in our second goal. Good cross from Dirk van Grinsven found Pröpper in front of goal and his header made it 2:0. van Grinsven squeezed our third goal into near post in 59’ and just a minute later Pieter Stekelenburg made it 4:0. Braga was in a mess once again and heads were dropped in home team bench. We lifted our game in 2nd half and our winning margin was impressive as a result. Braga had nothing to offer over two legs and we secured our place in Europa League final!

  • our average rating was 8.28 - another impressive game from whole team
  • Dirk van Grinsven, Andre Pröpper and Tom Drost were superb for us
  • we will go against Paris Saint-Germain in the final


07.05.2028 - VVV Venlo - AFC Ajax 0:1 (ED) - 36. Nketsi Matal

Before the big final we had to finish our Eredivisie season. VVV have been pretty good throughout this year, but I relied on rotation players against them. This match didn’t have much importance, but I wanted to end our home season with a win anyway.

Squad: Gluhalic, Mulder, Leyder, Schans, Gudelj, Karelse (Ari), Lang (Sastrodimedjo), Janssen, Matal, van Dalen, El Amrani

It was evident that our minds were already in upcoming Europa League final, so motivation and concentration wasn’t exactly on the level with our recent performances. We had one good chance in both halves. Nketsi Matal scored from his opportunity in 36’ and Mounir El Amrani wasted his chance in 62’. We looked a bit better side and offered some good attacking moves too, but weren’t decisive enough with our finishing and shooting accuracy, and had to settle with 1:0 win in the end. Nothing remarkable about this game, just a job well done.

  • Simon Janssen was outstanding, distributing ball in midfield and creating chances for others


17.05.2028 - AFC Ajax - Paris Saint Germain 1:0 (Europa League Final) - 88. Andre Pröpper

The big day was here and Istanbul welcomed us in warm May night. We have progressed so far in Europa League, but I won’t deny that we were helped by easy draws in certain rounds, but this was a big test, appropriate for final. PSG are one of the biggest and richest clubs in Europe and they were favourites for this final too.

We chose to practice attacking set pieces for the final (don’t really know why, but I trusted my assistant manager in this, perhaps he anticipated penalty shoot-out) and went for this with our usual line-up and tactics. PSG came with their 4-4-2.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Alleyne, Schans, de Boer (Gudelj), Leyder, Stekelenburg (Janssen), Antonucci (Lang), van Grinsven, Kluivert, Pröpper

PSG got the first good shot towards our goal in 6’ and their most dangerous striker Jeronimo Afonso hit the post. Good shot, though, and that worried me a little, but Andre Pröpper answered in 27’ with a header against crossbar, so framework shots were equalized. First half offered mostly midfield battles and dedicated defending and quality of football was perhaps hindered by pressure, but that’s to be expected of the final.

Second half looked similar until 62’ when PSG’s Davide Calabria was sent off with his 2nd yellow cards. That was a great chance for us and played things to our hands, we just had to be decisive enough to use our opportunity. It was difficult to find space against PSG defense even with 11 men against 10, and even our set piece practice didn’t help us in dead ball situations. Breakthrough finally came in 88’ - van Grinsven sent a cross to PSG box and Andre Pröpper headed it in just as game was about to end. PSG didn’t have the time to answer and we had won it! We’ve won our first European title! What an achievement and what a season for us!


May was a brilliant end to our excellent season. We’ve won Dutch Super Cup, Dutch Cup, Eredivisie and Europa League. We’ve really progressed as a team during this journey and we’ve raised our reputation amongst top clubs in Europe while Holland national coefficients grew accordingly (past Ukraine, again).

This achievement also shows that it’s not the end if we can’t progress from Champions League group stage as long as we can make the most of it in Europa League.




FC Utrecht finished 2nd and it was a really good season for them. Kudos for Erik ten Hag for this. Almere City were relegated from Eredivisie while Helmond Sport and PEC Zwolle held their places through relegation play-offs.


Ajax goals: Andre Pröpper 34, Justin Kluivert 26, Dirk van Grinsven 16, Mounir El Amrani 14, Nketsi Matal 14

Ajax assists: Justin Kluivert 22, Dirk van Grinsven 21, Nketsi Matal 16

Edited by Draakon

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Season Summary 2027/2028


That was definitely my best season as AFC Ajax manager and for the first time I’ve managed to bring European silverware to Amsterdam. Great achievement and I feel that as a team we’ve played our best football in this April and May.

Part of this is perhaps because I’ve managed to create competition in certain positions. Nketsi Matal and Mounir El Amrani held pressure on first team players to perform. Justin Kluivert had the best season of his career, scoring 26 goals and giving 22 assists and Andre Pröpper’s 34 goals is remarkable stats on its own.

In defensive line it was a breakthrough season for Michel de Boer. Young left-back took over from Dragisa Gudelj and proved that he’s better option than more experienced Serbian.

So successful season as this one was rarely repeats itself and I doubt it will happen in next year, partly because big clubs circle around our players like vultures. Andre Pröpper’s £20m minimum release fee clause is not an obstacle for bigger clubs. Michel de Boer and Edward Schans have attracted some attention and I have to fend off bids for our  young wonderkid Gerard Karelse.

Good season meant that a lot of players received invitations to Holland national team for this Summer’s Euro 2028 - Marvin Koops, Michel de Boer, Edward Schans, Tom Drost, Dirk van Grinsven and Andre Pröpper were included to squad. Holland had a mediocre tournament and they were knocked out by Scotland in 2nd round.


Stats department gives us a few interesting facts about this season. In Eredivisie we created 92 clear cut chances in the season and that is the highest number of my reign. We were pretty good executing them and scored 45 goals out of those 92 opportunities. Our half-chance conversion rate was 15/98 which is also pretty good. Even more so in continental competitions where we scored 10 goals from 41 half-chances.

Andre Pröpper was unlucky to hit the framework 6 times in the league. Despite that fact he was our best scorer in European series with 17 goals (also a top scorer in Europa League with 12 goals). Interestingly we were a lot better in attacking set pieces in Europe - 4 goals from corners and 4 from free kicks from limited amount of games while we scored only 5 and 5 in Eredivisie over full season.


Fans Player of the Season:

  1. Tom Drost
  2. Francesco Antonucci
  3. Justin Kluivert


Goal of the Season: Mounir El Amrani vs. Helmond Sport 22/01/2028

Young Player of the Season: Michel de Boer


Eredivisie awards


Golden Boot:

  1. Rashaan Fernandes (Feyenoord Rotterdam)
  2. Cali Daniel (VVV Venlo)
  3. Nader Omrani (MVV Maastricht)

Goalkeeper of the Year:

  1. Marvin Koops (AFC Ajax)
  2. Yanick van Osch (NAC Breda)
  3. Bayan Aidoo (FC Groningen)

Top Goalscorer:

  1. Laurens Antoine (PSV Eindhoven) - 26
  2. Clyde Drenthe (FC Utrecht) - 25
  3. Nader Omrani (MVV Maastricht) - 25

Young Player of the Year:

  1. Michel de Boer (AFC Ajax)
  2. Richard Bochem (Go Ahead Eagles)
  3. Eugene Talea (FC Twente Enschede - on loan from AFC Ajax)

Manager’s Manager of the Year:

  1. Me
  2. Erik ten Hag (FC Utrecht)
  3. Tieme Klompe (FC Twente Enschede)

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July 2028


New season about to start and a lot of work to do in and around the club. We have a lot of staff positions to fill, some player decisions to make and generally prepare for Dutch Super Cup game.



I concentrated first on coaching positions and did fairly successfully in my own opinion. I appointed Italian Matteo Cioffi as our new head of youth development, brought in another Italian Alex Brunner as GK coach, found French Laurent Bonadini as a general coach and then gave another French Denis Papin a role of U-19 fitness coach, bringing our fitness training in U-19 team to 4,5* level.



Dejan Meleg’s departure was agreed before transfer window started, but after European League win I expected some bids to our star players. I didn’t have to wait too long - there was sufficient interest in Andre Pröpper and after the player himself let me know that he’d like a new challenge in a bigger league, I allowed him to move to Schalke 04 for £17m + clauses (possibly up to £21m). Decent fee, but it’s a big loss football wise. 34 goals in the last season is not something that could be replaced easily.

I also made a decision about young striker Stanislas Gonzalez. Frenchman has done well so far, but he’s now 21 years old and on the last year of his contract, so transfer was the most reasonable move. He went on to Stade  Brestois 29 for £225k.

Wonderkid midfielder Gerard Karelse also asked me to accept a solid bid for him, I didn’t want to lose him, but eventually accepted his decision and Leicester’s bid of £6,75m + clauses (up to £10m) was signed.

With two first team players leaving, I started to look around my options and also browsed through Ajax CT ranks to find any talented youngsters from South Africa. I matched the bid for young goalkeeper Thabang Mthethwa and brought him to Amsterdam for £83k. We have plenty of young keepers in the team at the moment, but he’ll be a good addition and will start his European career from Jong Ajax.


I personally declined some tempting job interviews. Liverpool approached me after Jürgen Klopp resigned (Liverpool won the Premier League title in 2028) and Ricardo Moniz stepped down as Holland manager after rather mediocre Euro 2028 tournament, so local FA asked me to take over. I declined both offers - this save is about Ajax.


22.07.2028 - AFC Ajax - FC Utrecht 3:0 (Dutch Super Cup) - 10. and 79. Justin Kluivert, 26. Johan van Dalen

This year’s Dutch Super Cup final was held in Amsterdam Arena, which was nice. FC Utrecht was a familiar foe - we have split last 8 Super Cup titles with them, but this time I wasn’t sure we’re ready for the challenge. Departures over Summer wasn’t an issue, but our squad looked like a mess.

Injuries played their part - Francesco Antonucci and Dirk van Grinsven returned from Euro 2029 with injuries and substitute striker Jeroen Capobianco received a nasty broken leg in pre-season friendly that keeps him out for at least 5-6 months. What I completely forgot was that it’s Olympics Summer and number of our younger players joined Holland U-23 team for this tournament. Edward Schans, Marco Oomen, Eugene Talea, Peter van der Wal and Mounir El Amrani are at the Olympics perhaps until 19/08 and that’s a huge loss, especially in attack. I had no substitute for El Amrani up front after Capobianco injury and the only desperate solution is to play Justin Kluivert there as a false nine.

With four first team players missing and lack of depth up front, I wasn’t very confident of our win. We practiced attacking set pieces before the game and hoped for the best.

Squad: Koops, Drost (Mulder), Alleyne, Leyder, de Boer (Gudelj), Ari, Stekelenburg, Janssen (Lang), Matal, van Dalen, Kluivert

We started this game better than I expected. Justin Kluivert sent his shot just wide in 8’, but finished well just two minutes later (nice work by Tom Drost on our right wing to lead to that goal) and Kluivert apparently had no problems fitting into his new role. Both teams showed attacking football and FC Utrecht showed that they are not downhearted by our first goal. FC Utrecht’s Clyde Drenthe won a header in our box in 13’ that went just wide. Despite that moment our attacking movement looked better and chances started to come our way. Nketsi Matal wasted his free header in 22’ and Johan van Dalen extended our lead with a very good shot in 26’. Simon Janssen had a great chance to score our third in 39’, but he sent the ball wide. Two goal lead before half time was a very nice indeed and I was happy with what I saw from the team.

We controlled the game perhaps a bit better in second half, not being too attacking, but containing FC Utrecht better. Our practice of set pieces almost paid dividends in 59’ - Nketsi Matal had a great chance after IFK, but he couldn’t convert it. Our third goal came nevertheless. Good counter, run from our right wing and cross by Matal found Justin Kluivert in front of goal and it was 3:0. FC Utrecht were completely beaten and I was really happy with the result, considering what sort of squad I had for the game. Very encouraging before new season.

  • Justin Kluivert was fantastic in his new role and Nketsi Matal also had an outstanding game.

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good stuff, really like it.

But it wonder me how on earth you got no bid for Justin Kluivert

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I think it's because I relied more on Dejan Meleg on the early seasons of this save. Meleg produced good performances and he is also useful set piece taker. Kluivert had some ups and downs in this save, I remember that one season was ruined by injury (3 months or something) and while some bids may have come they weren't what I expected for him. In last couple of seasons I lacked youth talents in AML position and I wasn't prepared to let him leave and now he's nearing 30 years old, making his best performances for us and finally being the player I expected him to be. But his value rarely exceeded £5m and so I haven't received any  £10m+ bids for him. In conclusion he's just the type of player to rely on long term - good enough for first team football, not too ambitious to get itchy feet and attract large bids from big clubs and settles for reasonable contracts (his wages have been between £20,000-25,000 p/w).

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August 2028


04.08.2028 - AFC Ajax - sc Heerenveen 7:0 (ED) - 5. and 82. Johan van Dalen, 22. and 61. Dirk van Grinsven, 28. Simon Janssen, 29. Michel de Boer, 55. Justin Kluivert

It’s good to start our new season at home. sc Heerenveen have been struggling in previous years and they’re predicted to finish 15th in this time around. Their aging squad and lack of pace could give us one advantage and they lost their best playmaker and midfielder Branco van den Boomen in Summer. Because of that I’d say they have become even weaker over Summer.

We have a better team, but we miss a lot of players. Olympic team is surely away until 09/08, Francesco Antonucci is still injured (he might return some time in August) and I hope that our trick with Justin Kluivert up front will work against Heerenveen as well as it did against FC Utrecht. We have Dirk van Grinsven back, this is the main improvement compared to Super Cup final, but because Jupiler League started this weekend too, some younger players already made their appearance today and don’t have even 7 substitute players for the game.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Alleyne (Mulder), Leyder, de Boer, Ari, Stekelenburg (Lang), Janssen, van Grinsven (Matal), van Dalen, Kluivert

The game turned out to be a complete disaster for sc Heerenveen and we were in control from start to finish. sc Heerenveen defense was very error-prone and we took full advantage of that. Four goals in first half clinched our win. Two of those came from corners and Dirk van Grinsven scored his 100th league goal in his career.

Second half wasn’t much better for our opponents - Johan van Dalen wasted some chances, but Kluivert scored our fifth goal. sc Heerenveen were at least able to create some opportunities and our defensive line started to look complacent. Joel Veltman had a chance from IFK in 57’ and Marvin Koops had to make a very good save to deny him and Morten Thorsby sent his shot wide while he was 1-1 against goalkeeper. But we kept creating chances in attack and at least some of those ended with a goal and until the very end sc Heerenveen couldn’t get their defense in order. Very impressive 7:0 win for us to start our Eredivisie season. I definitely didn’t expect that, considering how many players we missed in this game. Superb performances all around and I’m definitely happy with that result.

  • our shooting was 30/15
  • we created 9 clear cut chances
  • 8.72 average rating
  • Dirk van Grinsven scored his 100th career league goal


08.08.2028 - AFC Ajax - AS Monaco 0:2 (European Super Cup) - 3. Franjo Galovic, 16. Klajdi Idrizaj

We played European Super Cup against AS Monaco. Monaco almost had home advantage, because game was held in Bordeaux. We still had players missing and I didn’t expect us to be well prepared to play against Champions League winners. I chose the same tactics with Justin Kluivert up front as a false nine and we practiced defensive positioning before the game.

Squad: Koops, Drost (Mulder), Alleyne, Leyder, de Boer, Ari, Stekelenburg, Janssen (Lang), van Grinsven (Matal), van Dalen, Kluivert

AS Monaco showed they’re dangerous in attack very early. Jean-Manuel Gaillard forced Marvin Koops to make a brilliant save in 2’ and just a minute later Croatian Franjo Galovic scored after a brilliant solo run into our box. His shot went into top corner and Koops was helpless  in this situation. Our defense was completely outplayed by their smooth passing skills in 16’ and Idrizaj made it 0:2 and we almost conceded the third goal two minutes later, but framework saved us that time.

Our best chance came in 35’, but Johan van Dalen proved his poor finishing attribute and just smashed it against AS Monaco goalkeeper.

Second half was quite boring compared to the fireworks of the first period, but it didn’t matter anyway. We stood no real chance against AS Monaco superior squad and had to settle with 0:2 defeat which was still quite respectable scoreline and could have been a lot worse.

  • we were clearly struggling against technical players, made 25 mistakes and allowed 34 dribbles - AS Monaco wingers were really difficult to contain


13.08.2028 - AFC Ajax - MVV Maastricht 3:1 (ED) - 19. and 90.+4 Johan van Dalen, 50. Justin Kluivert - 86. Jurich Carolina

I chose not to be too disheartened after this defeat and concentrate on Eredivisie for the time being. Our 2nd round game was against MVV Maastricht and it was important not to be too carried away after 7:0 win over sc Heerenveen, because MVV is much more difficult team to face. They are expected to finish 5th in this season, but started with two wins and looking to extend their streak against us. Their tycoon money have dried out in last couple of seasons, but they still have a very good squad, although they sold their best striker Nader Omrani during this Summer. They have played more games because Europa League qualifiers and that’s the reason they arrived to Amsterdam with some tired legs.

MVV played with 4-2-2-2 tactics with 2 DMC-s (something that has been a problem for us in the past) and we concentrated on attacking set pieces training, hoping to take advantage of dead ball situations (and why not, we scored two goals from corners against sc Heerenveen).

Squad: Koops, Drost (Mulder), Alleyne, Leyder, de Boer (Gudelj), Ari, Stekelenburg (Lang), Janssen, van Grinsven, van Dalen, Kluivert

First half looked like a well contested midfield battle. We got only one good chance before half time break and we used it well. Johan van Dalen scored an easy tap-in after excellent cross by van Grinsven.

MVV looked more attackingly minded after half time. Naldo Emanuelson took a good shot and brilliant save from Marvin Koops avoided the worst for us. Sergio Alleyne lost Emanuelson too easily in this situation, should have been more alert. But Justin Kluivert doubled our lead after some good passing game and we could relax a little bit after that. Not too much though, as Jurich Carolina scored from IFK in 86’ and made those last minutes a little bit nervous for us. Careless set piece defending from whole team, everybody were just ball watching. MVV tried to find an equalizer late in the game and opened up their defense, and we took advantage of that - Johan van Dalen’s injury time goal secured our win and that was the first big result in Eredivisie in this August.

I expected MVV to be more difficult opponent, but our tactics still worked and even with several players missing we scored three good goals against them. We allowed a set piece goal which is always a threat and we have to improve in those situations defensively.

  • we made 51 key passes that helped us to this win
  • Johan van Dalen and Simon Janssen were outstanding for us
  • Sergio Alleyne made 5 individual mistake and stood out as the most error prone in defense


16.08.2028 - ADO Den Haag - AFC Ajax 0:0 (ED)

First away game in the league was against ADO Den Haag - top half team in the past, predicted 9th in this season, but heavily relying on their striker Dennis Graafland (who is a real danger man for sure)

We practiced attacking movement and I chose to tick overlapping orders for full-backs. Our selection troubles were made worse for this game. Michel de Boer received a call-up to Olympics to cover for injured player and he left the team before this weekend, so Dragisa Gudelj started in left defense.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Alleyne, Leyder, Gudelj, Ari (Mulder), Stekelenburg (Lang), Janssen, van Grinsven, van Dalen (Matal), Kluivert

Both teams got only one good shot on target in the first half. Johan van Dalen took his half-chance in 20’, but in both occasions goalkeepers made a brilliant saves to keep a clean sheet. I was troubled with our ineffectiveness in attack. We couldn’t create chances and struggled to keep possession in the first half. Some players looked nervous and that didn’t help too. We needed different approach in attack - ADO definitely had learned something from our previous games and Kluivert didn’t have much space in his role, but I had no options to change anything and we had to press onward with the players we had.

Second half offered the same frustrating football and in the last  ten minutes ADO Den Haag started to get chances. Dennis Graafland had a half-chance in 81’ that was save by Kluivert and another great chance in 89’ after Mulder’s poor mistake. Marvin Koops made another two saves to deny him. Final whistle couldn’t come soon enough for us, but it finally came and I was rather happy to escape from this game with a goalless draw. ADO definitely deserved to win more and Dennis Graafland can rue his missed chances. Our whole team looked rather mediocre, but those key saves earned Marvin Koops a man of the match award and it was well earned in my opinion

  • our shooting was only 5/1 and that’s not good enough against any Eredivisie side
  • we allowed ADO to create 3 clear cut chances
  • our crossing didn’t work at all, only 34/1
  • we allowed 24 dribbles and Tom Drost especially struggled and wasn’t able to time his tackles


19.08.2028 - Go Ahead Eagles - AFC Ajax 0:1 (ED) - 14. Dirk van Grinsven

Olympics are finally over! The tournament was unlucky for Holland - they lost in semi finals and were defeated in bronze medal game, so 4th place and no silverware, but the most important thing is that I have my players back and we definitely need our full squad to improve after poor display against ADO Den Haag.

Go Ahead Eagles are the minnows in Eredivisie, expected to finish 16th, but away games are always tricky and we need to be well prepared. We practiced attacking movement before the game.

Our players were back in Amsterdam, but Michel de Boer and Edward Schans looked too tired and were rested for this game. Francesco Antonucci recovered from his injury and started on the bench for us.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Alleyne, Leyder, Gudelj, Ari, Stekelenburg, Janssen (Antonucci), van Grinsven (Matal), Kluivert (van Dalen), El Amrani

We started the first half well and Mounir El Amrani had a great chance already in the first minute, but his shot went wide. Disappointing finish. Dirk van Grinsven did better in 14’ - very good through ball from Stekelenburg created a chance and composed finish gave us the lead. First half ended 1:0 - okay result, as we didn’t get too many open looks, but El Amrani’s miss still made me cringe.

Both teams concentrated better in defense after half-time break. We dominated possession and had a lot of attacking set pieces, but couldn’t create good opportunities and most of the shots were contested by defenders. Pieter Stekelenburg offered one good shot from the edge of area in 59’, but MVV goalkeeper made an excellent save to bring it out from bottom corner. In the end the game finished 1:0 - I wasn’t entirely satisfied with all the performances, but I’m pleased with three points and that’s a small improvement after ADO game, for sure.

  • our shooting was 24/7 - not accurate enough
  • we had 20 corners, but were ineffective in attacking set piece situations
  • great game from Pieter Stekelenburg


26.08.2028 - AFC Ajax - FC Groningen 5:0 (ED) - 7. and 67. Dirk van Grinsven, 27. Justin Kluivert, 43. Mounir El Amrani, 87. Dragisa Gudelj

First team players were finally fit and ready, only Nathan Leyder looked tired and youngster Clyde Sastrodimedjo was sidelined with back strain.

FC Groningen are one of those top half teams, expected to finish 7th. They’ve shuffled a lot of players over this Summer and perhaps teamwork is not yet what it should be. One of those players is our own Marco Oomen who is on loan at FC Groningen. Either way, I hoped to take advantage of this and our home support and we practiced attacking movement and ticked overlapping instructions on tactics sheet.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Alleyne, Schans, de Boer (Gudelj), Ari, Stekelenburg, Antonucci (Janssen), van Grinsven, Kluivert (van Dalen), El Amrani

Game itself was under our control from start to finish. Dirk van Grinsven opened scoring with a simple tap in after good cross by Justin Kluivert. Kluivert himself extended our lead from narrow angle in 27’ and in the end of the first half Mounir El Amrani scored his first goal of the season with a fine header that went right against the movement of FC Groningen goalkeeper. First half was excellent - we dominated midfield and finished our chances well.

Goalscoring continued in 2nd half. Dirk van Grinsven found the net after very good pass from Tom Drost and Dragisa Gudelj finished this game off with a thumping header from corner. 5:0 was impressive scoreline and to be honest I didn’t expect it to be so easy, but our performance looked impressive and win was well deserved.

  • our shooting was 27/12
  • average rating 8.27
  • Dirk van Grinsven, Tom Drost, Mounir El Amrani and Pieter Stekelenburg were superb


Our start to new season has been really good and we have taken some impressive wins in Eredivisie. Four wins and one draw and we’re leading the table. Olympics didn’t affect our game too much in the end and we look a lot better than anyone else at the moment. Goal difference is already +15.






FC Utrecht have started well, but PSV Eindhoven are struggling and find themselves in bottom half of the table.


Ajax goals: Dirk van Grinsven 5,  Justin Kluivert 5, Johan van Dalen 5

Ajax assists: Dirk van Grinsven 5

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Transfer Update Summer 2028


I was a bit more active than usual in this Summer transfer window. In August I snapped up 16 years old striker Lungisani Senyane from Ajax CT for £100k. Talented striker will spend his next two seasons in Ajax CT and join our team in 2030, but it’s investment for the future.

The end of August offered some fireworks in transfer market. Michel de Boer waited patiently a bid for him and it finally came in the last day of transfer window. I agreed to send him to AS Monaco for £10,25m + clauses (up to £11,25m). That means I’ve sold players for more than £30m in a single transfer window.

PSV Eindhoven were also active and sent their talented winger Alfredo Marti to Nottingham Forest for £5,25m + clauses (up to £6,5m) and they invested that money quickly into Timothee Carre - 26 years old French striker from SC Bastia that cost £4,1m.


Eredivisie Transfers


  • Andre Pröpper from AFC Ajax to Schalke 04 Gelsenkircher for £17m + clauses (up to £21m)
  • Michel de Boer from AFC Ajax to AS Monaco for £10,25m + clauses (up to £11,25m)
  • Gerard Karelse from AFC Ajax to Leicester City for £6,75m + clauses (up to £10m)
  • Alfredo Marti from PSV Eindhoven to Nottingham forest for £5,25m + clauses (up to £6,5m)
  • Nader Omrani from MVV Maastricht to Dinamo Kyiv for £4,5m
  • Timothe Carre from SC Bastia to PSV Eindhoven for £4,1m
  • Twan Vogels from Feyenoord to Bradford City for £2,3m

Other than that player switch by PSV, most of the transfers were out, so Eredivisie is still very much a selling league


Ajax loans out

  • Ismet Gluhalic to PEC Zwolle
  • Leslie Lichaba to Ajax CT
  • Jeroen Jansen to sc Heerenveen
  • Mario de Groot to SC Cambuur
  • Marco Oomen to FC Groningen
  • Eugene Talea to Hannover (German Bundesliga)
  • Jaap Hoogdorp to Go Ahead Eagles
  • Tarik de Wit to Pescara (Serie A)

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Squad Update 2028


Three big sales in this Summer and departure of Dejan Meleg means that things have changed a bit and we have some new faces in the team. A few players have returned from loan and some youngsters will get their chances in the first team in this season.




Marvin Koops



Andre Rijssel


Because Ismet Gluhalic went on loan to PEC Zwolle, I brought up Andre Rijssel from Jong Ajax, but he'll hardly play for first team. Merely a backup for Marvin Koops and he'll get his minutes in Jupiler League





Tom Drost



Peter Mulder


Good backup option, but not more. Lack of good DR prospect will come to haunt me in 2-3 seasons, but until that happens, Mulder has to provide cover.


Sergio Alleyne



Edward Schans


Edward Schans has developed really well in the past year, I'll reckon that he'll advance past Sergio Alleyne soon, if bigger teams won't come after him earlier.


Dragisa Gudelj



Derian Tepperik


Here's a reason why I allowed Michel de Boer to leave so easily. Our best youth prospect from two years back is now on the verge of Ajax first team. Driven character, very consistent player. His only weakness is aerial ability (or lack thereof), but he'll become a great player in a couple of years.

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Nathan Leyder


Experienced Belgian will split his time in central defense and deep midfield. 


Engin Ari


With Gerard Karelse gone, Engin Ari has to start carrying more load in this season. He looks ready, but results and performances will show over this season.


Pieter Stekelenburg


Probably the best midfielder in our squad at the moment. Has played Noa Lang into bench. Good passing, creativity and decent long shot attribute. Can give through balls and create attacking moves with his passes. I'm a little surprised he wasn't hunted by bigger teams in this Summer.


Noa Lang



Clyde Sastrodimedjo


Young and talented midfield, who will split his time between Jong Ajax and first team.


Francesco Antonucci


Francesco's pre-season was hampered by spinal injury, but he's back to full fitness now and he's our key attacking playmaker.


Simon Janssen


Simon Janssen has matured a lot over this Summer and he's almost equal to Antonucci now. 24 years of age - it's time to show his true ability.


Peter van der Wal


Perhaps a little surplus to our midfield requirement, but let's see what he can do for Ajax.





Dirk van Grinsven


Our best winger and main attacking creative force. My biggest challenge in this season is securing a reasonable contract extension with him.


Nketsi Matal



Justin Kluivert


Justin Kluivert had the best season of his career and I hope he'll repeat that again.


Johan van Dalen


Very good prospect on our left wing. Our best corner taker too.





Mounir El Amrani


It's a right time for him to start in the first team and Andre Pröpper needed to leave to give El Amrani that opportunity. Very good in the air and danger against any central defender.


Jeroen Capobianco


I wanted him to be a solid backup who gets enough minutes besides El Amrani, but unfortunate injury sidelined him until January. Wasted time in his career and I can just hope that he'll leave this behind quickly.





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September 2028


08.09.2028 - Feyenoord Rotterdam - AFC Ajax 2:2 (ED) - 49. and 78. Sebastian Sosa - 19. Dirk van Grinsven, 28. Justin Kluivert

We have some big games in September and Die Klassieker against Feyenoord is the first of those. Feyenoord are our main contender to the title and they have a really good squad too, perhaps just lack a bit of depth for competing in both Eredivisie and Europa League. Feyenoord also have the best first touch ability in the league, so we have to be aware of quick moves that could break our defense.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Alleyne, Schans, Gudelj (Tepperik), Ari (Leyder), Stekelenburg, Antonucci (Janssen), van Grinsven, Kluivert, El Amrani

We have started games well recently and we were more alert in the beginning than Feyenoord. Dirk van Grinsven’s shot needed a brilliant save from Feyenoord goalkeeper, Mounir El Amrani had a free header in 11’, but sent it way over and our pressure started to bring results. Dirk van Grinsven needed two attempts in 19’, but finally the ball went in and we took the lead. Good combination gave Justin Kluivert a great chance and within 30 minutes we were 2-0 ahead. I was really happy with our first half, defense looked really solid and we limited Feyenoord attacks very well. Maintaining that lead and avoiding complacency was our main target for 2nd half.

Feyenoord looked more determined in 2nd half and they started to attack. Sebastian Sosa had an opportunity in 49 - his first shot bounced back from the post, but second attempt went in. Central defenders should have marked him better, but on the other hand, he’s a very good striker. Substitutions didn’t make positive difference in our game and things turned worse in 76’ - Dirk van Grinsven made a foul in our penalty box and Feyenoord had a great chance to equalize. Faris Coolen took the penalty, but Marvin Koops saved us with a great save. Our joy was short-lived though - Koops made a small mistake couple of minutes later, coming out for a free kick - he missed it and Sebastian Sosa poked it into empty goal. So, the first derby of the season ended with 2:2 draw. To be honest, it’s not a bad result to take away from De Kuip, but giving away 2:0 lead like we did was still a real disappointment. Our second half performance was unacceptable and although Feyenoord did really well to come back from their situation, we should have been better.

  • Dirk van Grinsven scored his 100th league goal for Ajax
  • young left-back Derian Tepperik made his debut for Ajax


13.09.2028 - AS Roma - AFC Ajax 1:2 (Champions League Group F) - 68. Alberto Tenconi - 26. Pieter Stekelenburg, 64. Nathan Leyder

Champions League season started and it began with the most difficult fixture of the group stage - away game in Stadio Olimpico against AS Roma. I didn’t have expectations about result, just hoped to give a battle to clearly better Italian side. We practiced defensive positioning before the game and I ordered my fullbacks to play as limited FBs. Bad news from training ground - Tom Drost injured himself and he’ll be sidelined for 2-3 weeks with groin strain. It includes at least two Champions League games. Peter Mulder fills his space in  defensive line.

Squad: Koops, Mulder, Alleyne, Schans, Gudelj, Leyder, Stekelenburg, Antonucci (Lang), van Grinsven (Matal), Kluivert, El Amrani (van Dalen)

AS Roma attacked a bit more in the first part of the first half, but we waited patiently our chance and it came in 26’ - good move down the left wing resulted in a good cros sby Justin Kluivert. Dirk van Grinsven wasted his opportunity and AS Roma goalkeeper got his hand to it, but Pieter Stekelenburg was there to rebound and opened scoring against all odds. AS Roma reacted to our goal by going to attacking style, but their players looked nervous and that benefited us. AS Roma almost got an equalizer in 30’ when Ivan Banovic only hit side-netting from tight angle. Dirk van Grinsven answered with a brilliant solo run into AS Roma box, but his shot from inside six yard box was denied by reflex save of AS Roma goalkeeper. Park Jon-Min had another two chances in the end of the first half, but Marvin Koops was the man of the moment there and made two good saves. Good attacking football from both sides in the first fourty-five minutes and AS Roma perhaps a little bit unlucky to be 0:1 behind.

Second half was pretty similar, but again we were better in finishing. Marvin Koops made a good save to deny Alberto Tenconi in 57’ and Nathan Leyder managed to extend our lead after corner in 64’ - ball bounced loose in the box and experienced defensive midfielder poked it in, surprising goalkeeper a little bit with his shot.AS Roma pressure started to increase and after Koops saved us from another clear cut chance, Alberto Tenconi finally scored. It was a good counter and cross from our left wing that did the job. Tenconi lost Sergio Alleyne too easily and sent it into empty net. Despite that goal we managed to keep AS Roma at bay for the rest of the game and held onto our lead until the end. I was really happy with the result, very good game from the lads in away match against the strongest team in our group. We worked really hard in defense and were perhaps a little lucky, but still a hard-fought win.

  • our shooting was 19/5 - impressive number of shots, although not too good looks on goal, more long shot attempts than usual, too
  • Edward Schans wa ssuperb in central defense, winning a lot of duels and making good interceptions


21.09.2028 - VVSB - AFC Ajax 0:4 (Dutch Cup 2nd round) - 7. and 30. Justin Kluivert, 9. Nketsi Matal, 28. Johan van Dalen

Easy cup game against amateurs VVSB allowed rotation players to get some playing time.

Squad: Koops, Mulder, Alleyne, Leyder, Tepperik, Ari, Lang (Sastrodimedjo), van der Wal, Matal (Rozema), van Dalen, Kluivert (El Amrani)

Rotation players didn’t disappoint. Justin Kluivert started as a false nine and he scored twice and we put the result beyond doubt within the first half hour. It all looked like a training match and we didn’t try too hard after half-time break. Cup second round is a nice break in September, but against amateur sides it doesn’t offer much excitement and pressure.

  • our average rating was 8.16
  • Justin Kluivert, Johan van Dalen, Peter van der Wal were outstanding
  • young right winger Mark Rozema made his debut for Ajax in 2nd half


26.09.2028 - AFC Ajax - FC Kobenhavn 3:1 (Champions League Group F) - 4. Dirk van Grinsven, 37. Justin Kluivert, 44. Edward Schans - 57. Jacob Hammershoj

After good start in Rome I made Champions League our priority. Our second game was at home against FC Kobenhavn and although Danish side are 4th seed team they can surprise anyone in this level and we’d had some tough games against them in the past. In fact they started this group with 1:1 draw against Wolfsburg, so this alone should make us wary.

We practiced defensive positioning before the match and our first team players looked ready and rested, with only Tom Drost absent.

Squad: Koops, Mulder, Alleyne, Schans, Gudelj, Leyder (Ari), Stekelenburg, Antonucci (Janssen), van Grinsven, Kluivert (van Dalen), El Amrani

We started well (again) and scored a quick goal - good cross from Kluivert and easy tap-in by Dirk van Grinsven. We looked very dominant in the first half, had most of possession and got shots on goal, but it took some time until we got our second goal. Mounir El Amrani was perhaps a bit wasteful - he got his shots on target, but not past goalkeeper. In the end it didn’t matter, as Justin Kluivert extended our lead in 37’ and Edward Schans scored from corner to send us to half-time break with very good 3:0 lead.

Second half offered less chances and FC Kobenhavn got one goal back in 57’ - their move started when Francesco Antonucci lost his header near the edge of our box. Jacob Hammershoj flicked it on and past Marvin Koops. But that goal didn’t change the game overall - we continued to have more possession and composed ourselves quickly. Our best chance of the second half came in injury time - substitute Mounir El Amrani had a great opportunity, but his shot was again saved and so our striker ended game without a goal and sour mood. Second half wasn’t what I expected after excellent first half, but I’m pleased with a win and we’re now two from two.

  • our shooting was 35/17, mainly because impressive first half display
  • Dirk van Grinsven had a great game


30.09.2028 - PEC Zwolle - AFC Ajax 0:1 (ED) - 3. pen. Francesco Antonucci

PEC Zwolle are one of the smallest sides in Eredivisie and main candidates for relegation. They’re expected to finish 18th, but have started their season reasonably well. However, I was confident that we should take comfortable win against them. Tom Drost was back in full training and young goalkeeper Andre Rijssel was also back to fitness, so I had more options.

More important news came from the club office - Dirk van Grinsven signed his contract extension until 2032. He’ll earn a huge £49,500 p/week in wages, but he’s worth it. So, with contract negotiations behind us, we could go on with our campaign.

Squad: Koops, Drost (Mulder), Alleyne, Leyder, Gudelj, Ari, Stekelenburg (Lang), Antonucci, van Grinsven (Matal), Kluivert, El Amrani

We were favourites from the start, but PEC Zwolle made it even more difficult for them right at the beginning. We had a corner, Dirk van Grinsven sent the ball into the box, something happened and Wim Arends were called for handball. An early penalty for us. Francesco Antonucci kept his head cool and converted it. Early lead should have opened the game up, but Zwolle continued to defend deep and creating chances was difficult for us. Justin Kluivert had a good shot in 29’ that was brilliantly saved by goalkeeper, but in general the first half wasn’t too impressive. Our crossing didn’t work well - they were either contested by Zwolle players or Zwolle box was too crowded to get to the end of them.

Second half didn’t make much difference - we had possession, but couldn’t create good chances and after Engin Ari was sent off in 70’ after collecting his second yellow card, we were happy to preserve our lead. We managed to keep our advantage, but I was disappointed in our performance. Considering the manner of our goal we were really lucky and we should do a lot better against smaller teams in the future. Defensively good game though.


September has been a good month for us and two wins in Champions League send us into European campaign with a great start. Feyenoord result was a slight disappointment, but we’re doing well in the league despite that.





Because teams have played different number of games it’s difficult to say exact order, but so far Go Ahead Eagles have impressed, FC Utrecht and MVV have started well and PSV has been a disappointment. NAC Breda in relegation zone is a surprise, too.


Ajax goals: Justin Kluivert 9, Dirk van Grinsven 7, Johan van Dalen 6

Ajax assists: Dirk van Grinsven 8

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October 2028


14.10.2028 - AFC Ajax - VVV Venlo 4:0 (ED) - 14. Simon Janssen, 18. Justin Kluivert, 45.+1 and 63. Jeroen van Dalen

International break went fairly well for Holland - both U-19 and U-21 teams progressed in qualification rounds. Now it’s time to return to Eredivisie campaign with home game against VVV Venlo. VVV are predicted to finish 13th, but their start of the season has been disappointing and they’re in relegation zone at the moment, so I expect three points in Amsterdam Arena. Engin Ari is suspended and I need to keep some of the key players fresh for upcoming Wolfsburg game, so I choose the balance between experience, hunger and talent. Mounir El Amrani needed a rest, so I opted for Justin kluivert up front.

Squad: Koops, Drost (Mulder), Alleyne, Schans, Gudelj, Leyder, Stekelenburg (Lang), Janssen, van Grinsven (Matal), van Dalen, Kluivert

We have started our games very well in this season, but this time we were almost surprised by VVV. Edward Schans missed his interception in 5’ and Corey Moore found himself open, but his shot went wide and landed in side-netting. Wasted opportunity for VVV and that was their only good chance of the game. We were more clinical in the other end and in 14’ Simon Janssen scored our first goal. And what a goal that was! A wonderful bicycle kick straight from Drost’s cross and VVV goalkeeper had no chance. Surely the most beautiful goal of the season so far. Justin Kluivert extended our lead just four minutes later and things were under our control later. Johan van Dalen sent VVV to half time with 0:3 scoreline. His shot from 14 meters landed in top corner just before half time whistle and van Dalen added another goal with a tap-in in second half. We looked complacent in the last 15 minutes and VVV started to get chances again - Predrag Simic had a great opportunity, but his shot was saved by Koops in 77’. I frowned at the sidelines, because I don’t like our defense to be too relaxed like that, even with 4:0 lead. But we maintained our clean sheet and 4:0 is a very good win in front of home fans.

  • we had 8.19 average rating
  • we made 52 key passes
  • Johan van Dalen, Simon Janssen, Tom Drost and Dragisa Gudelj were outstanding for us


17.10.2028 - AFC Ajax - Wolfsburg 3:0 (Champions League Group F) - 72. Justin Kluivert, 79. Mounir El Amrani, 89. Dirk van Grinsven

One of the key games in our Champions League group. Wolfsburg should be more-less equal opponent for us and we needed a good result against them at home, despite our six points in the table. I listened my assistant manager and we trained attacking movement prior to this game, but I turned off overlapping instructions. Wolfsburg came against us with 4-1-4-1 tactics.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Alleyne, Schans, Gudelj (Tepperik), Leyder, Stekelenburg (Lang), Antonucci (Janssen), van Grinsven, Kluivert, El Amrani

First half didn’t offer too much to football fans. It was mostly midfield battle and while Wolfsburg didn’t create anything too dangerous, they looked a bit complacent on the pitch. We had a couple of half chances from corners, but that wasn’t good enough to find a goal and so we went to half time with 0:0. I was happy with defensive display that we showed.

Second half looked the same until 59’ when Nathan Leyder received a straight red card for dangerous tackle on Wolfsburg player and we were down to 10 men. Close games are often decided with calls like that, but it wasn’t the case this time. In fact, we started to play even better without Leyder and Wolfsburg opened up their defense carelessly. Justin Kluivert had the first good chance of the game in 72’ and although he needed two attempts, he scored our first goal of the game. Kluivert was in the center of things in 79’ too - his long run on our left wing and cross to El Amrani created our second goal and Dirk van Grinsven completed the misery for Wolfsburg before the game ended. Wolfsburg never really got it going, but to fall apart like that with 11 players against 10 must have been a complete humiliation for them. They looked shell shocked in the end of the game while I was understandably delighted to win in such circumstances. We have now three wins and 9 points in the table and that’s a great start to our Champions League campaign. Now we just have to make sure that we continue our good form into second round of the group stage.


21.10.2028 - AFC Ajax - FC Twente Enschede 3:0 (ED) - 10. and 13. Dirk van Grinsven, 53. Justin Kluivert

FC Twente surprised everybody with their 4th place in the last season and pundits reacted by placing them 11th in pre-season predictions, but they’re back to their usual problems and currently struggle against relegation like they did in previous years. They replaced a lot of players over Summer and that didn’t help either. Because of those reasons I anticipated a fairly easy game in Amsterdam Arena.

Squad: Koops, Drost (Mulder), Alleyne, Leyder, Gudelj (Tepperik), Ari, Stekelenburg, Antonucci, van Grinsven, Kluivert, El Amrani (van Dalen)

My prediction came true very early. Poor defending by FC Twente resulted in two clear cut chances for Dirk van Grinsven and we were 2:0 ahead with less than 15 minutes played - game was effectively over with that. Mounir El Amrani wasted his clear cut chance in 28’, but we were in full control and FC Twente didn’t create anything.

Justin Kluivert scored our third goal in 2nd half with a fine header and we held our lead until the end. Confident display without much fuss.

  • Dirk van Grinsven was outstanding in this game with his two goals


First managerial casualty of the season came after this matchday and it was Diederik Boer who was sacked by NAC Breda. Their start has been really poor and it was coming for Boer.


25.10.2028 - SC Cambuur - AFC Ajax 0:3 (Dutch Cup 3rd round) - 6. Johan van Dalen, 67. and 73. Nketsi Matal

To get SC Cambuur in 3rd round should count as a difficult draw. I expected some Jupiler League side, but SC Cambuur are mid-table team in Eredivisie and that’s more challenging than expected. I sent out youngsters despite that - if they want more game time in the league, they should be able to deal with SC Cambuur in a cup game.

Squad: Koops, Drost (Alleyne), Mulder, Leyder, Tepperik, Ari, Lang (Sastrodimedjo), Janssen (van der Wal), Matal, van Dalen, El Amrani

We have a very good habit to start strong and this game was no exception. We were more prepared at the start of the match and when just six minutes were played Johan van Dalen surprised opposition goalkeeper with a very good header against his movement. In 21’ Engin Ari smashed his DFK against crossbar, but those two moments aside it was a quiet first half. We won a lot of dangerous headers in SC Cambuur box, but our accuracy was not as good and we didn’t create too many real chances.

We continued to be an aerial threat after half time break. Johan van Dalen headed it against crossbar from IFK in 54’ and it took some time until Nketsi Matal scored our second goal of the game, converting a good cross by van Dalen. Same two players repeated it again in 73’ and our win was fairly secure then. SC Cambuur didn’t give up though - some careless defending gave Francesco Hoffmann a clear cut chance in 74’ - that demanded a great save from Marvin Koops. In the last minute of the match Peter Mulder fouled SC Cambuur player in a box, holding him back from shirt. Penalty was given and Mulder received a straight red card for professional foul. Ex-Ajax player Rick Koning took the penalty, but Koops parried it and so denied another scoring opportunity in this match. It remained 3:0, but the last 15 minutes were too complacent from our defenders and I wasn’t happy with that.

  • we made 23 fouls - too much against this kind of opponent
  • great game for Nketsi Matal and Johan van Dalen - two wingers combined all three goals between each other, Marvin Koops also stood out with his two key saves


28.10.2028 - Vitesse Arnhem - AFC Ajax 1:4 (ED) - 26. Maarten Jacobs - 7. Dirk van Grinsven, 13., 22. and 40. pen. Mounir El Amrani

Vitesse have had a very good start to the season. They’re strong team, predicted to finish 6th, but they find themselves in top three in October. Wise investments to new players have helped them build a good squad in Eredivisie term. They used 4-4-2 against us and in away game I reckoned they’re tough opponents.

I wanted to finish October with another win and extend our unbeaten sequence, so I selected the best players available.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Alleyne, Schans, Gudelj, Leyder (Ari), Stekelenburg (Lang), Antonucci, van Grinsven, Kluivert, El Amrani (van Dalen)

We got our first chance in 7’ - Mounir El Amrani wasted his opportunity and his shot hit the post, but Dirk van Grinsven was there to take rebound and put it into empty net. We had several other good opportunities to score and goals came too. El Amrani scored an outstanding goal from 15 meters into top corner and extended our lead with a good header. We were 3:0 ahead with less than half hour played and things went very well. But Vitesse stunned back and their good combination in 26’ resulted in a goal. Our defense was a little bit slow and ball-watching in this situation and Koops didn’t have much to do against this shot. But we picked the pace up really quickly - El Amrani sent a header against crossbar in 31’ and Justin Kluivert wasted his clear cut chance in 39’. Kluivert earned a penalty for us then, after being tripped in the box and El Amrani converted it to complete his hattrick.

  • Second half didn’t offer too many exciting moments compared to fireworks in the first half, but in summary it was a very confident win in away game.
  • our shooting was 23/9
  • Mounir El Amrani was impressive with his hattrick in the first half


We’ve been really impressive in October. Straight wins from start to finish and I’m especially happy with our performance against Wolfsburg - that puts us in front seat of qualification race and we’re almost certainly in Champions League knockout rounds.




We have some games in hand, but we’re still in front of the table and all competitors have lost already some ground. Surprisingly Go Ahead Eagles have continued their great form into October and remain in top three.

October also brought first managerial casualties - Robin van Persie was sacked by VVV Venlo board and Marten de Roon appointed as interim manager.

In Ajax office I convinced the board to invest to upgrading our training facilities - £2,5m construction works are in progress after that.


Ajax goals: Justin Kluivert 12, Dirk van Grinsven 11, Johan van Dalen 9

Ajax assists: Dirk van Grinsven 10, Justin Kluivert 6, Johan van Dalen 5, Nketsi Matal 5

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Is it me or is the quality of player actually dropping, Your first choice keeper doesnt look good enough for your league, i mean he doesnt look as good as Onana starts out at the start of the game.


I love the mental stats of most of your regens though.

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So many things to answer to this question.

First of all, don't forget that it's 2028 now. Footballing world has been evolving for more than a decade and some things are different. Footballing market has dropped a bit in my opinion. You need to be a true wonderkid to get a bid from big clubs like Barca, Arsenal or Bayern. My players rarely do anyway. And prices have gone down with that in the past 5 years. I would have got £25m for a player like Andre Pröpper easily in 2018, but he went to Schalke for £17,5m and I had to wait for this bid for a long time. Bids over £10m are rare. I've given updates of Eredivisie transfer windows and all transfers over £3m are quite rare nowadays. PSV and Feyenoord are not so powerful financially and do not buy players worth £5m like they used to in the first seasons. 

Secondly, reputation of the league has gone down. We've had more and less successful seasons in Champions League, but we're carrying the whole league, as usual. Other clubs are not good enough to reach group stage and struggle in Europa League (usually finishing in group stage there, too). That hurts reputation and effects finances, which means it's more difficult to get good players in the league. Other clubs are usually rather poor developing their own players (for example allowing them to leave too early or for free) and pay too much wages for merely average players.

For me it means that really talented players want out more quickly and if their ambition is high enough it is almost inevitable that they put up a fight over transfer before they turn 22 years old.

In conclusion - 'good enough for your league' is a bit different measure now. Marvin Koops is good enough for Eredivisie. In fact he's the best goalkeeper in the league (won the award several times) and looks good enough. Age and league reputation affects his value, so don't get distracted of this £1,8m price tag. Because of reputation issues I have to find a balance between maintaining at least core of the team and avoiding players leaving before I have adequate cover in their position. Players like Noa Lang, Justin Kluivert and Sergio Alleyne have a value for me, because they are very good players for Eredivisie, but not really star players and not really good enough (or ambitious enough) to make it in bigger leagues. But they also don't ask too much wages, because they know that :)  


Thirdly, what makes a good player - what I've learned so far in those 10+ seasons is that mental stats are hugely important and mediocre players can be great on the pitch with right attitude, if they are many. My players have always motivated, rarely nervous and usually deliver. Regen with poor consistency doesn't make it in my first team - I scrap them before that. So it's quite common that my players outperform their individual attributes. It also means that once I've sold them, they fail in bigger leagues, unfortunately.

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November 2028


01.11.2028 - Wolfsburg - AFC Ajax 0:2 (Champions League Group F) - 50. Dirk van Grinsven, 65. Mounir El Amrani

Fourth game of the group stage and with three wins in the bank I’d bee happy to get a draw from away game. Historically 10 points have been enough to qualify and I don’t expect Wolfsburg to make the same mistakes that they did in Amsterdam.

We practiced defending set pieces before the game and I knew we’ll miss Nathan Leyder because his red card in the last game..

Squad: Koops, Drost, Alleyne, Schans, Gudelj, Ari, Stekelenburg (Lang), Antonucci (Janssen), van Grinsven (Matal), Kluivert, El Amrani

Both teams were came with attacking style. Dirk van Grinsven had our best chances in the first 15 minutes, but Wolfsburg got one half-chance to show that our defense have to be wary. Our finishing was not good enough though, and it continued to be in this first half. Mounir El Amrani had our best opportunity to score in 40’, but his shot too was saved by Wolfsburg goalkeeper and the first half ended with 0:0. We did fairly well in this first half and kept Wolfsburg goalkeeper Ivan Vignali busy, but we needed to take those chances better.

Long wait was over in 50’ - Dirk van Grinsven finally found the net (although he too needed two attempts to find a breakthrough). We very nearly gifted Wolfsburg equalizer - their best striker Yuri Bochkarev had a great chance and his shot was well parried by Marvin Koops. In 65’ Mounir El Amrani turned around his defender and passed it into the net and two-goal lead was already looking like a small win. Wolfsburg didn’t give up though and perhaps our substitutions didn’t help either, but we gave away easy chances for them - Filippo Mentalti hada shot in that was saved by Koops and in 77’ another great save denied Bochkarev. Wolfsburg could rue their missed chances after the end of the game, but we held onto that lead and 2:0 win in away game is an excellent result for us. Difference during the game was perhaps our mental preparation - we looked more motivated and composed in 2nd half.

  • our shooting was 21/10 - very good for away game in Champions League
  • we had 5 clear cut chances - finishing needs to improve
  • Marvin Koops saved 3 clear cut chances
  • Pieter Stekelenburg made his 200th appearance for Ajax
  • with this win we secured qualification from group stage


04.11.2028 - NAC Breda - AFC Ajax 0:2 (ED) - 28. and 59. Dirk van Grinsven

Just three days between two games. NAC Breda should be a top half team, expected to finish 8th by media and pundits, but they find themselves in 15th place at the moment, so their form has not been too good.

There were some tired legs in the squad and Tom Drost had to sit out this game because of suspension (5 yellow cards), so perhaps it’s time to take this game easy and use rotation players. NAC Breda had their own problems - two best strikers injured and caretaker manager Stijn Schaars at the helm

Squad: Koops, Mulder, Alleyne, Leyder, Tepperik, Ari, Lang (van der Wal), Janssen (Sastrodimedjo), van Grinsven (Matal), van Dalen, Kluivert

  • We started this game slow - unusual squad selection disrupted our usually so smooth attacking movement. NAC Breda got the first great chance in 19’ after corner, but Marvin Koops made a good save. We took the lead in 28’ - Dirk van Grinsven didn’t really have much space in the box, but he didn’t need much to take the ball and fire it into top corner - fabulous shot and nothing that NAC Breda goalkeeper could do about that. That goal was the highlight of the first half.

In second half we finished things off early - good counter gave van Grinsven a great chance and he doubled our lead. Things were under our control after that and we nearly scored our third goal, but needed a bit more luck at times. Substitute Peter van der Wal had a great chance in 65’, but reflex save from goalkeeper denied him. Justin Kluivert collected the rebound, but managed to only hit the post. NAC Breda answered in 68’ - Mathias Honsak headed against our post after corner, but that was it and we held our lead until the end of the game. In summary it wasn’t too convincing win, but considering squad selection and fatigue it was a good win.

  • we collected 10 offsides - attacking movement was off and poor decisions wasted a lot of possessions
  • NAC Breda appointed Marouane Fellaini their new manager after this game - good footballer as he was, it’s a very poor choice by NAC Breda board


17.10.2028 - AFC Ajax - AZ Alkmaar 1:1 (ED) - 57. Tom Drost - 34. Harry Cardwell

AZ Alkmaar were dropped to Jupiler League two seasons back, but they bounced back straight away and came back to Eredivisie fairly strong. Media predicts them to finish 10th and they’re heading to safe mid-table finish in their return season.

Two weeks of international break didn’t pass without casualties. Johan van Dalen was injured in Holland U-21 game. He’ll be out for 3 weeks with twisted ankle. Sergio Alleyne hurt his stomach muscle in training and Engin Ari we’ll be out for 3-4 weeks with back strain. Several players returned from international games tired and needed rest. Because Jong Ajax also played in this day we had only four substitutes on the bench.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Mulder, Gudelj, Tepperik, Leyder, Stekelenburg (Lang), Janssen, (van Grinsven), Kluivert, El Amrani (Matal)

We started that game very well and applied constant pressure to AZ goal. Shots, blocks and saves, corners, more saves. AZ looked in real trouble, but we couldn’t finish our opportunities. Simon Janssen had the best chance in 2’, but his shot was parried and of course, AZ managed to score from their first opportunity - nice passing game in midfield, Dragisa Gudelj went for the tackle, missed it and Harry Cardwell put it calmly past Marvin Koops. That goal came completely against the run of game and at half time I was more disappointed with our terrible finishing than that Gudelj mistake. We had 15/9 shooting and 16 corners at half time, but no goals to show for it.

The equalizer came in 57’ though and it was Tom Drost who scored from corner with a thumping header to level things up. The captain led by example there and we needed more determination to turn this game around. Mounir El Amrani was stopped in 62’ by brilliant save of AZ goalkeeper Bob Leeflang (another ex-Ajax player) and substitute Nketsi Matal also couldn’t beat him in 76’. We had chances in the last 20 minutes of game, but we couldn’t convert them and so had to settle with draw. Disappointing result - we should have been better at home.

  • our shooting was 26/15 - our finishing should have been a lot better
  • we had 20 corners and we looked dangerous from set pieces - equalizer came from corner, but we had even more chances that we didn’t convert
  • AZ Alkmaar goalkeeper Bob Leeflang had a wonderful game against us, his rating was 9.1 and he was really difficult to beat tonight


21.11.2028 - AFC Ajax - AS Roma 5:1 (Champions League Group F) - 28. and 70. Mounir El Amrani, 53. Justin Kluivert, 56. Dirk van Grinsven, 86. Nketsi Matal - 59. Park Jong-Min

After we beat AS Roma in Stadio Olimpico we weren’t getting ahead of ourselves. I knew that the game in Amsterdam will be really difficult and AS Roma is coming after revenge. We practiced defensive positioning in training and I would have been happy with a draw. We were already in knockout stages, but group win and better seeding for the first round was at stake.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Mulder, Schans, Gudelj, Leyder, Stekelenburg (Lang), Antonucci (Janssen), van Grinsven (Matal), Kluivert, El Amrani

In this season we have been known to start with a real fire and the flyer was very close this time too. Dirk van Grinsven had a great chance in 4’, but his shot went just wide and I cringed at the side line. That was a sitter. AS Roma’s Park Jong-Min tested Marvin Koops in 11’ and our goalkeeper was ready to save that shot. Our opening goal came in 29’ - Tom Drost sent a hanging cross into the box from right wing, Mounir El Amrani raised above two central defenders and headed it in with a very good header. First half ended with our 1:0 lead and it was a very positive first half - AS Roma tried to build up their attacks, but we looked fairly dangerous in counters and were always in the game.

Something went wrong for AS Roma in second half. Perhaps they forgot their discipline while looking for equalizer, but we scored two goals in a row. Justin Kluivert finished good attack with a goal and just three minutes later Dirk van Grinsven got himself to score sheet after wonderful counter and one touch through ball from Francesco Antonucci. AS Roma looked disenchanted for a moment, but they composed themselves quickly and found a goal of their own - Peter Mulder made a bad mistake in defense, ball fell to Korean striker and Koops had no chances against that shot. In 70’ AS Roma defensive line gifted us another goal - Dirk van Grinsven made an interception, passed to El Amrani and our striker sent a wonderful shot into bottom corner from 18 meters out. Unstoppable for any goalkeeper, a truly fabulous strike and game was decided with that. Substitute Nketsi Matal scored our fifth in 86’ and we collected our fifth win of this group stage. It was another tremendous result for us - AS Roma had no real answers for us in 2nd half and to score five goals against them is really something. Home fans were delighted and we secured our first place in the group.

  • our shooting was 22/10
  • we created 5 clear cut chances
  • our average rating was 8.07
  • Mounir El Amrani, Dirk van Grinsven and Tom Drost were outstanding in this game


25.11.2028 - Sparta Rotterdam - AFC Ajax 0:0 (ED)

Morale was superb before Sparta game although those continental games always leave some players more fatigued with games following so closely. Sparta has proven themselves tricky opponents in this season - they should be a mid-table team, predicted to finish 12th, but hold 5th position at the moment. Our scout report show that Sparta is the best club in Eredivisie in leadership category - perhaps that’s why they do so well against smaller clubs.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Mulder, Schans, Gudelj (Tepperik), Leyder, Stekelenburg (Lang), Antonucci, van Grinsven, Kluivert, El Amrani (Matal)

The first half of the game offered only drab football. We had a penalty awarded for us in 11’ when Sparta defender played with high foot against Edward Schans, but Franceco Antonucci penalty was saved (it wasn’t the best spot kick to start with) and so we went to half time with 0:0 score line.

We had better chances in second half, but didn’t have more luck. Francesco Antonucci hit the post in 56’ after our counter attack. We had some great chances around 67’ minute mark - Dirk van Grinsven and Noa Lang should have scored, but saw their shots being saved and when Mauro Piccolo pushed Dirk van Grinsven in the box we got another penalty! My joy was short-lived again, because Antonucci failed to deliver for the second time in one game. This time his penalty smashed crossbar. Unbelievable miss and that broke our spirits a little. We couldn’t recover from that and Sparta defended well for the last twenty minutes.

That result was clearly below par and it probably had less to do with bad luck. Our finishing and composure were just terrible in this game and that’s why we dropped two points against Sparta.

  • our shooting was 20/5, so despite those penalties and chances we couldn’t get shots on target


29.11.2028 - FC Kobenhavn - AFC Ajax 3:2 (Champions League Group F) - 40. and 90.+2 Peter Olsen, 54. Wahid Ait-Kaci - 17. pen. Noa Lang, 30. Peter Mulder

We went to Kobenhavn, knowing that our first place in the group was secured. Schedule has been fairly difficult in recent weeks and that continues into December, so it was time to give some players some rest, especially Mounir El Amrani. Our first team striker has played virtually without substitution in this first half of the season. That’s why the line-up included some rotation players.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Mulder, Schans, Gudelj (Tepperik), Leyder, Lang, Janssen (van der Wal), Matal, van Grinsven (El Amrani), Kluivert

The game started slowly and first real action started after the first fifteen minutes were played. Nketsi Matal was going on goal and it looked like he’s 1-1 against goalkeeper when he was tripped from behind. Penalty was awarded and I expected red card for professional foul, but only yellow was given. Francesco Antonucci wasn’t in line-up, so Noa Lang took the penalty and converted it. Peter Mulder extended our lead with excellent header from corner - his first ever goal for Ajax - and things looked great at that point. FC Kobenhavn got some chances in the first half though. First of them was a free header for Wahid Ait-Kaci that went over our goal in 34’, but Peter Olsen found the net from corner in 40’. Peter Mulder lost his header in this situation and we were punished because of that. First half ended with 2:1, all three goals had come from set pieces and game was still fairly open. FC Kobenhavn looked more dangerous as the first half progressed and there was no room for complacency from our side.

However, we clearly struggled defensively in second half. Michael Svendsen had a clear cut chance in 54’ and only brilliant save from Marvin Koops denied him. But following corner resulted in equalizing goal. Wahid Ait-Kaci scored with a header - the second poor set piece defending from us. I made substitutions to change the game, but apparently it didn’t work as we couldn’t create anything dangerous in attack. And finally, as it so often happens, FC Kobenhavn scored a winner in injury time. They had a counter, defenders looked too passive in a few moments and Peter Olsen scored his second goal to sum up an extraordinary FC Kobenhavn comeback.

I was really upset about our poor second half performance. Actually, we fell apart after 30’ and the rest of the game was really poor from all players. Substitutions didn’t give any positive effects and we gave away two goal lead. Players can be happy that this game didn’t count for much.

  • Nketsi Matal was excellent for us with his two assists, despite the final score
  • Peter Mulder scored his first ever goal for Ajax


Final standings in Group F: AFC Ajax 15, AS Roma 12, Wolfsburg 4, FC Kobenhavn 4


Despite that final game November was a great month for us in Champions League. Our wins against Wolfsburg and AS Roma gave us a lot of confidence and showed that we could play against anyone at that stage. We’re in knockout stages now and new challenges lie ahead, but we’ve done really well so far.

But it has been difficult to keep up our form in all the games and we’ve started to slip here and there. Draws against AZ Alkmaar and Sparta were the first signs that winning do not come so easy anymore and giving away that 2:0 lead in Kobenhavn should ring at least some alarm bells.





Go Ahead Eagles have been a real surprise package in this season, although we have two games on hand compared to them. FC Utrecht are now just three points behind us.


Ajax goals: Dirk van Grinsven 15, Justin Kluivert 13, Johan van Dalen 9

Ajax assists: Dirk van Grinsven 12, Justin Kluivert 7, Nketsi Matal 7

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December 2028


02.12.2028 - AFC Ajax - SC Cambuur 2:1 (ED) - 39. and 86. pen. Francesco Antonucci - 68. Mario de Groot

After this careless slip in Denmark we’re back in Eredivisie and because FC Utrecht is right behind us in the table, these points now matter. SC Cambuur is a solid mid-table side, although predicted to finish just 14th, but they’re safely above relegation zone at the moment. We did beat them in a cup game in autumn and I was confident that we should be able to do the job in Amsterdam Arena.

Squad selection offers some new options - Johan van Dalen is back in full training after his injury, Sergio Alleyne is also back, but Clyde Sastrodimedjo is suspended and Edward Schans looked exhausted, so I decided to rest him in this game. Nathan Leyder takes his place in central defense and Noa Lang will start as DMC - a little bit unusual position for him.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Alleyne (60. Mulder), Leyder, Gudelj, Lang, Stekelenburg, Antonucci, van Grinsven (71. Matal), Kluivert, El Amrani (60. van Dalen)

SC Cambuur players looked nervous in the first half and although it wasn’t the most exciting football in display, we had a couple of good chances. SC Cambuur wanted to play possession football, but we did good job to close them down and keep pressure on their defensive line when they had ball, so they couldn’t build up from behind. Dirk van Grinsven tested opposition goalkeeper for a couple of times and when half time was almost over Francesco Antonucci opened scoring with a good shot - Justin Kluivert gave a good cutback cross to find Italian in the box. Deserved lead for us at half time, but I expected more creativity from our midfield.

I made first substitutions in around 60’ and soon SC Cambuur equalized. Our own Mario de Groot was the scorer from corner after a number of poor defensive mistakes in a set piece situation. SC Cambuur striker Yann Kasai won a header against Pieter Stekelenburg, Koops made a pretty good save to parry it, but rebound fell to Leroy Wouden, who sent a fierce shot towards our goal. Dragisa Gudelj managed to block it on the line, but de Groot finished it from the third attempt. Substitute Peter Mulder was half asleep and wasn’t aware of de Groot behind him. As I said - a number of poor mistakes and collective blunder from the team. For the rest of the match we tried to find another goal and kept SC Cambuur under good pressure, but the last defense-splitting pass was not coming. We were helped by opponents in the end - Rene de Waard fouled Tom Drost in the box and penalty was awarded. Francesco Antonucci stepped up and, unlike what he did against Sparta, converted the penalty and secured us all three points.

It was a win in the end, but with a fairly small margin. SC Cambuur were close to get a point from Amsterdam Arena and can count themselves unlucky. We, on the other hand, have no reason to be overly satisfied about our performance.

  • Francesco Antonucci had a great game and he probably can now leave this Sparta game behind him


06.12.2028 - FC Utrecht - AFC Ajax 5:1 (ED) - 9. and 38. Ron Bosman, 31. Clyde Drenthe, 50. Edwin de Harder, 71. Steven Theunissen - 79. Mounir El Amrani

Away match against FC Utrecht was extremely important game, because FC Utrecht are still only three points behind us and have one eye on the title in this season, so it can count as a six pointer in title contest. It is no surprise though, they have extremely good team, they invested another £4m+ into new players in Summer. They play their usual 5-3-2-WB formation which has proved to cause some troubles for us in the past and have the best decision making attributes of the whole Eredivisie.

We had one more rest day after our last match and FC Utrecht players looked a bit more tired than we. I hoped this will help us in this game. We had pretty much our best squad to start with.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Alleyne, Schans, Gudelj (63. Tepperik), Leyder, Stekelenburg, Antonucci (69. Janssen), van Grinsven, Kluivert (55. van Dalen), El Amrani

FC Utrecht took initiative from the beginning. Couple of good attacks. We were always a little bit late in defense and FC Utrecht took the lead in 9’ when Ron Bosman beat Dragisa Gudelj and scored off the post. We continued to struggle - Marvin Koops saved a good shot by Giorgio Dahmen and in 21’ Danny Bakker had a great chance from counter, but Koops saved us again from worst. FC Utrecht’s danger man Clyde Drenthe had his opportunity from close range in 29’ and Marvin Koops parried that with a reflex save. Our defense looked in a lot of trouble for that point and soon it turned worse for us - Clyde Drenthe extended FC Utrecht’s lead and Ron Bosman scored his 2nd goal to send us into half time break with 0:3 scoreline and it looked like it’s damage limitation for us in 2nd half. I wasn’t ready to give up, but for the first time we had met our match on the pitch. FC Utrecht looked really well set up against us, it was all one-way traffic in the first half and our defense leaked in all possible situations. We had a bit more possession, but our shooting was only 13/2 and FC Utrecht created all the chances.

Second half wasn’t much better. Edwin de Harder scored in 50’ and just then we got our first good chance, when Justin Kluivert couldn’t convert his 1-1 situation into goal. FC Utrecht’s fifth goal came from a corner - it looked like they scored from sheer confidence. We got our consolation goal in 79’ when Mounir El Amrani headed in a cross by van Dalen, but that was it. We were clearly humiliated by our closest competitors and rivals. Our team didn’t look recognizable at all and we were just schooled on the pitch. We need to put this game behind us quickly and return to our usual ways sooner rather than later. I’m just sorry for all the travelling fans who came to see us in away game.

  • we were in offside 10 times - our attacking movement wasn’t much better than our defense and El Amrani was responsible for 6 offside
  • Pieter Stekelenburg suffered strained wrist and he’ll be out for a week
  • losing to FC Utrecht means we’re level in Eredivisie table now


09.12.2028 - Helmond Sport - AFC Ajax 0:0 (ED)

Team morale obviously plummeted after those defeats and I wanted us to bounce back with a win. Helmond Sport are predicted to finish only 17th in Eredivisie - they should be easy to beat, but because of our form and away game I wasn’t too confident.

Team news say that Engin Ari is back in training (but does not start) and both Edward Schans and Mounir El Amrani were rested in this game.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Mulder, Leyder, Tepperik (69. Gudelj), Lang, van der Wal, Antonucci (60. Janssen), van Grinsven, van Dalen, Kluivert (60. El Amrani)

We started slow and got our first good chance in 26’ - Peter van der Wal sent his pass perfectly behind defensive line, but Justin Kluivert blasted his shot well wide. Johan van Dalen had another great opportunity in the end of first half, but his shot went straight at the goalkeeper. So, despite those two opportunities we went to half time with 0:0 and I was disappointed with our finishing.

The team included some rotation players in that night and perhaps it was the reason why our attacking game was not so smooth as it should have been, so I wasn’t surprised that our chances were rare. Substitute Mounir El Amrani got his chance in 83’, but his shot was saved by goalkeeper and we had to settle with frustrating 0:0 draw.

I was really disappointed, because we were clearly better team, but finishing let us down again. It was a little bit like this earlier game against Sparta. Defensively we looked okay, though, so I can’t fault that.

  • we had 60% possession, unfortunately we couldn’t convert it to goals
  • Justin Kluivert made his 300th game for Ajax


12.12.2028 - AFC Ajax - Vitesse Arnhem 3:0 (Dutch Cup 4th round) - 15. Mounir El Amrani, 45.+1 Noa Lang, 52. Dirk van Grinsven

If we can’t get it going in Eredivisie, perhaps a cup game will break this string of bad results. Vitesse is a very good team, but they looked really tired before this match and I hoped it aids us on the pitch.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Alleyne, Schans, Gudelj, Leyder (50. Ari), Lang (50. Sastrodimedjo), Janssen, van Grinsven (61. Matal), Kluivert, El Amrani

We looked a lot better in this game than we did in previous fixtures. Mounir El Amrani scored our first goal in 15’ after very good through ball from Dirk van Grinsven. Noa Lang had a great chance in 31’, but a brilliant chance by Vitesse goalkeeper denied him. Not in injury time tough - through ball from El Amrani found him running into box and this dressing room goal put us in control after first half. I can still complain about our finishing, but the first half as a whole was very one-sided and I can be pleased with our performance.

Vitesse started second half a bit better and Niko Loose gave us a small warning in 50’ - his shot demanded a brilliant save from Marvin Koops. But Dirk van Grinsven’s goal in 52’ secured our lead and that clinched this win for us. Substitute Nketsi Matal had a great chance in 86’, but his shot was saved. Despite that, it was a really good win that we desperately needed. It helps lift our morale and to get our confidence back.

  • our shooting was 25/13
  • Edward Schans stood out in stats sheet with 32 interceptions
  • Dirk van Grinsven and Mounir El Amrani were outstanding in this game.
  • we’ll go against MVV Maastricht in quarter finals

That match day was the last one for FC Twente’s Tieme Klompe. FC Twente have struggled in previous seasons, surprised everyone with their 4th place in last year, but now they’re back in relegation zone and that, apparently, was enough for their board.


16.12.2028 - sc Heerenveen - AFC Ajax 0:1 (ED) - 5. Justin Kluivert

Good cup win in the bag, we’re back in Eredivisie and another away game. sc Heerenveen have picked themselves up from this 7:0 beating that we gave them in August and are 5th in the table at the moment, so I can’t expect them to roll over in their own home.

Pieter Stekelenburg was back in the team and was on the bench for this game.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Alleyne, Schans (49. Tepperik), Gudelj, Leyder, Lang (65. Stekelenburg), Antonucci, van Grinsven, Kluivert, El Amrani (73. van Dalen)

We started a lot better than we had done in recent games. Good attacking move resulted in goal in less than 5 minutes of football. Mounir El Amrani almost doubled his lead in 15’, but his shot hit the post and Dirk van Grinsven was unlucky to hit crossbar in 26’. To be honest we deserved to score two goals in the first half, but needed just a bit more luck. Generally things were under our control though.

sc Heerenveen looked more determined after half time break - their young striker Raymond Hoekstra hit the post from close range in 49’ and Vincent Scheepers hit our post from narrow angle just three minutes later. We organised our defense better and regained our control, and chances started to come too. Dirk van Grinsven and Johan van Dalen both had clear cut chances, but blasted their shots well wide. Finishing should have been a lot better in 2nd half. I was happy with our win, but I wasn’t entirely satisfied with our performance. We should have used our chances better.

  • our shooting was 21/6 - plenty of opportunities, but not too accurate
  • we made 21 fouls - against sc Heerenveen (who have Ramon Loswijk in their ranks as one of the best set piece takers in Eredivisie) that’s too many


20.12.2028 - AFC Ajax - PSV Eindhoven 3:0 (ED) - 14. Justin Kluivert, 46. Johan van Dalen, 53. Dirk van Grinsven

December has been a difficult month for us, but before we could head to Christmas break we had the Topper derby to play against PSV Eindhoven. Very important fixture to keep our momentum and go to winter break with high spirits.

Team news say that Jeroen Capobianco is finally back in full training after his long injury break, but unfortunately Mounir El Amrani caught cold just before this game and it’s a big miss for us.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Alleyne, Schans, Gudelj, Leyder (59. Ari), Stekelenburg, Antonucci, van Grinsven (59. Matal), van Dalen, Kluivert (73. Capobianco)

We have had a good habit to start strong in this season and here we scored another goal inside the first 15 minutes. Dragisa Gudelj crossed for Kluivert in the box and it was 1:0. We had a couple of half-chances in the first half and generally controlled the game, but first half ended 1:0. PSV had no shots  and we had 62% of possession.

I encouraged players in half time and it had effect. Johan van Dalen extended our lead right after second half kick-off and Dirk van Grinsven also found the net in 59’. Jeroen Capobianco earned a warm welcome back from Ajax fans in 73’ as we saw the game out. Substitute Nketsi Matal wasted his scoring opportunity in 86’, but buzz had gone out before that. Very good result for us and exactly what I hoped for.

  • our shooting was 15/12 - very good accuracy
  • we had 53 key passes
  • Dragisa Gudelj, Pieter Stekelenburg and Francesco Antonucci had a great game


As December started with catastrophic FC Utrecht game, we improved and in the last games we looked pretty good. Nothing’s lost though - we’re still leading Eredivisie table, we’re still in the cup and players are fit and ready to go on after winter break.





As it happens often in football, FC Utrecht stumbled right after their glorious 5:1 win over us. They lost to Go Ahead Eagles, dropped points against FC Groningen and Feyenoord and lost a lot of ground in the title race. Go Ahead Eagles, on the other hand, continued their impressive form into December. In the bottom of the table FC Twente are really struggling and also looking for new manager.


Ajax goals: Dirk van Grinsven 17, Justin Kluivert 15, Mounir El Amrani 10, Johan van Dalen 10

Ajax assists: Dirk van Grinsven 15, Justin Kluivert 8

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January 2029


20.01.2029 - AFC Ajax - ADO Den Haag 2:1 (ED) - 16. Justin Kluivert, 21. Mounir El Amrani - 88. Jozef Segers

Winter break went well and I say it mainly because all player were fit and we were ready to continue our Eredivisie campaign. We practiced set pieces before this game, because ADO have scored 6 goals from corners in this season and this is where we’re vulnerable.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Alleyne, Schans, Gudelj, Leyder (65. Ari), Stekelenburg, Antonucci (72. Janssen), van Grinsven, Kluivert (72. van Dalen), El Amrani

We played very good first half. Justin Kluivert scored our first goal after good attack and excellent cross from van Grinsven. Mounir El Amrani doubled our lead five minutes later - van Grinsven’s cross again setting things up.

We didn’t get complacent in second half. Goals didn’t come, although El Amrani was really close a couple of times. His ambitious shot in 49’ smashed crossbar and just a couple of minutes later he found himself alone with a ball behind defensive line, but the shot was saved. Game wasn’t over though, and in 88’ ADO scored their goal from DFK. It came almost out of nowhere, against the run of play, but ADO still got their set piece goal. Jozef Segers took his free kick really well, curled it over our wall from 25 meters and in off the bar - nothing much that Marvin Koops could do about that. Despite that conceded goal we held our lead and took all three points.

  • our shooting was 21/8 - we controlled game well in midfield


FC Twente hired former PSV U-19 coach Hans Mulder as their new manager after Tieme Klompe was sacked. Pretty much the worst possible choice and I’m getting more worried about their chances of survival. If you look at attributes, Mulder is really only good enough for… well, U-19 coach.


24.01.2029 - MVV Maastricht - AFC Ajax 0:1 (ED) - 21. Dirk van Grinsven

We have two games almost back to back against MVV in this January and first of those was league game in away stadium. Pre-game news said that MVV has a trouble in goalkeeping department - Nick Olij was injured and Mohamed Nouri away with Morocco national team, so they had to send inexperienced 18 years old goalkeeper against us. MVV usually plays 4-2-2-2 DM, but used 4-4-2 against us in this game and it’s hard to say if it will help us or not.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Alleyne, Schans, Gudelj, Leyder (65. Ari), Stekelenburg (70. Lang), Antonucci, van Grinsven, Kluivert (60. van Dalen), El Amrani

We took the lead after a very good attack. Francesco Antonucci sent one touch pass to Dirk van Grinsven. His accurate shot against movement of MVV young goalkeeper, who was unable to react. Mounir El Amrani was unlucky in 23’ when his ambitious long shot smashed against goal post. We put some good pressure on MVV goal in the end of first half, but couldn’t get it in. El Amrani’s header was cleared off the line and goalkeeper made a couple of good saves. I feel that we deserved to get this second goal, but on the other hand we could have created more chances. MVV had their best options from set pieces and we lost some headers in our box, but nothing too dangerous happened in that end of the pitch.

Second half was much more boring - MVV defended well and we took more conservative approach too. Narrow away win was enough for us in that night, no need to press for more.

  • our shooting was 25/7 - should have tested this young goalkeeper more
  • Francesco Antonucci had a great game
  • Sergio Alleyne suffered gashed head and he’ll be out for next two games


28.01.2029 - FC Groningen - AFC Ajax 1:1 (ED) - 21. Hüseyin Topcu - 41. Nathan Leyder

FC Groningen are looking for mid-table finish in this season, but they’re dangerous from set pieces and are the team with the best teamwork in whole Eredivisie. We practiced defending set pieces to neutralize their danger from dead ball situations. Also, it’s interesting to see how our own Marco Oomen will play for FC Groningen - he has had a great season so far.

We had to make some selection changes, because Sergio Alleyne was out and just before this game Francesco Antonucci suffered hernia in training and he’ll be sidelined for a month. I felt that Engin Ari deserved a chance in the team because his good performance from substitution against MVV and Simon Janssen took playmaker role from Antonucci.

Squad: Koops, Drost, Leyder, Schans, Gudelj (70. Tepperik), Ari, Stekelenburg 59. Lang), Janssen, van Grinsven (65. Matal), Kluivert, El Amrani

FC Groningen was lucky to take the lead. Dragisa Gudelj made unfortunate tackle inside our box so that the ball went straight through our six yard box and Hüseyin Topcu scored a simple tap in before anyone else could react. What followed was another twenty minutes of poor football from us - we couldn’t keep possession and weren’t able to create any chances, so it was very difficult to see from our equalizer could come from. But it came and it came right before half time whistle - Engin Ari’s free kick found Nathan Leyder in the box and central defender put it behind goalkeeper to send us into half time with 1:1. Both teams deserved more 0:0 scoreline, but either way it was even game in that point.

We almost took the lead in second half - Mounir El Amrani headed against crossbar in 51’, picked up a rebound and had a great chance to finish it, but his close range shot was saved and we let that opportunity slip away. And we made it really difficult to ourselves in 59’ - Engin Ari made a reckless and completely unnecessary two-footed tackle to FC Groningen player near their penalty box and was sent off with straight red card. With ten men we tried to hold onto that one point and succeeded, although there was one moment in 84’ when Tomas Vestenicky got alone behind our defensive line and Marvin Koops had to make a crucial save to keep us in the game. In those circumstances I have to be satisfied with a draw and one point and the team did well to play with ten men in those 30 minutes, but I’m still upset about that reckless red card.

  • Mounir El Amrani played his 100th game for Ajax


31.01.2029 - AFC Ajax - MVV Maastricht 5:0 (Dutch Cup Quarter Finals) - 14. Justin Kluivert, 15. and 72. Johan van Dalen, 45. and 64. Simon Janssen

Dutch Cup quarter final disrupted our transfer deadline day. I expected MVV to be more prepared after home game defeat just a week ago, but this time Amsterdam Arena and home fans are behind us and that’s a big support. Sergio Alleyne was almost fit to return, but I decided to give young 18 years old central defender Rene van den Bosch a chance in this cup game.

Squad: Koops, Drost, van den Bosch, Schans (61. Mulder), Tepperik, Leyder, Stekelenburg (46. Sastrodimedjo), Janssen, Matal, van Dalen, Kluivert (46. Capobianco)

For this game MVV had reverted back to their usual 4-2-2-2 DM formation, but it didn’t help them any better against us. Johan van Dalen had our first chance in this game - his header hit the crossbar in 4’ and in 8’ he wasted a very easy chance from close range. But the goal came and what a goal that was! Justin Kluivert sent his long shot towards goal from 30 meters out, it did beat the goalkeeper and went in off the post. A wonderful shot and probably the most beautiful goal of the season so far. Completely unstoppable for any goalkeeper. MVV couldn’t compose themselves before Pieter Stekelenburg found van Dalen behind defensive line with a wonderful pass and it was 2:0. Simon Janssen extended our lead in the end of the first half and we went to half time with 3:0 lead. Deserved lead, as we were in complete control and MVV couldn’t get anything going.

I made substitutions in the beginning of 2nd half, but it didn’t stop goals from coming. Simon Janssen added his second goal to his already excellent performance and Johan van Dalen doubled his tally with a simple tap-in. It was impressive win in the end and I’m also pleased that younger rotation players got some playing time. MVV looked a bit lost and have to pick themselves up after this result.

  • our shooting was 32/15 - very one-sided game
  • we had 8.26 average rating
  • Simon Janssen, Johan van Dalen, Tom Drost and Derian Tepperik were outstanding for us
  • young central defender Rene van den Bosch made his debut
  • we’ll meet FC Utrecht in semi final


I’m fairly pleased with our January. Small slip against FC Groningen, but generally we’re in good shape and results have come our way.

Transfer window, on the other had, was fairly quiet and although Johan van Dalen was hunted by Juventus and Rene van den Bosch attracted many bids from European giants like Manchester City and FC Barcelona, none of those was good enough to seriously consider a deal.





We’ve put some distance behind us again and I’m happy that in February we can concentrate more to Champions League and afford some squad rotation in Eredivisie. Go Ahead Eagles and FC Utrecht are in top three, but in the bottom of the table FC Twente looks more and more in trouble with every match day.


Ajax goals: Dirk van Grinsven 18, Justin Kluivert 17, Johan van Dalen 12, Mounir El Amrani 11

Ajax assists: Dirk van Grinsven 17, Justin Kluivert 8

Edited by Draakon

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