Ajax rattle gang! Does Bavaria also play against its own future?

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The international heyday of Ajax Amsterdam goes back a few years. When the club won the Champions League in 1995, Patrick Kluivert, Frank Rijkaard and Edgar Davids still shone for the Dutch. On their way to the final, Ajax eliminated FC Bayern in the semi-finals. At the Munich 2-5 failure in Amsterdam (first leg: 0-0), the German record champion hardly had a chance.

Now, 23 years later, such an Ajax stroke of genius would be a sensation. And yet the chances for the second place of the Eredivisie in today’s Champions League duel with the Bavarians are not bad at all. While in Munich the alarm signals become a little louder after only one point from the last two Bundesliga matches, in Amsterdam there is euphoria. Thanks to some promising talents.

The fans are mighty proud of their rattle gang, which on the first matchday of this year’s premier class season attracted attention with a convincing 3-0 victory against AEK Athens. Led by the youngest captain in Ajax history, Matthijs de Ligt (19, contract until 2021), the team will play a thrilling offensive football in the typical Dutch 4-3-3 system. De Ligt acts as defence chief and has long been hunted down by numerous top European clubs.

FC Barcelona are probably the most stubbornly interested in signing de Ligt next summer as the medium-term successor to Gerard Pique (31). But the Bavarians have also been watching the central defender closely for a long time. The Munich scouts have had him in their sights for a long time; he was seen as a possible replacement for Jerome Boateng when he flirted with a change of club. So is the FCB also playing a bit against its own future?

Frenkie de Jong (21, contract until 2022) is at least as much in demand. Real Madrid should be prepared to pay a redemption of 80 million euros. At the weekend, de Jong was out of the league game with Fortuna Sittard (2:0) because of a calf injury, on Monday the midfielder reported himself fit for the Bayern game. He is one of the fixed points in Ajax’s game. He can also be used variably as a central defender, is ball-safe and is now beginning to gain international experience. In September he celebrated his debut for the Dutch national team.

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While de Ligt and de Jong, despite their young age, are already among the team’s top performers, the next talents are already moving up. Two weeks ago, 16-year-old Ryan Gravenberch made his professional debut for Ajax. He is also in the squad tonight and could be playing in the Allianz Arena for the first time in the premier league.

Other players also have a great future ahead of them, such as Keeper André Onona (22), who rejected an offer from Bavaria a year ago and is said to have been on the BVB wish list recently. Or offensive player David Neres (21), for whom Dortmund was rebuffed this summer with an offer of over 33 million euros, according to the “Telegraaf”. Neres recently said: “Of course I read about Dortmund’s interest, but I never had to think about it. Of course, it strengthens one’s ego a lot when a big club wants to spend a lot of money on you. It shows that I’m on the right track.”

As a perfect complement to the up-and-coming young players, Ajax relies on a lot of routine. Daley Blind (28) and Dusan Tadic (29), who used to play for Premier League clubs, have played almost permanently in England against some of the best names in the game. The leader of the pack is Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (35), who knows the Bavarians well from his time in the Bundesliga at FC Schalke.

But the real insider of Bavaria is primarily the coach: Erik ten Hag (48) was responsible for the U23 of Bavaria between 2013 and 2015. In his very first season, he led the Munich team’s substructure almost into the 3rd league. After the championship in the regional league Bavaria the team failed only in the ascent plays at Fortuna Cologne. He draws an important parallel to his commitment in Amsterdam. “Here at Ajax, too,” says ten Hag, “I work with a very young team. In addition we have a few experienced players, that was not different at that time with Bavaria with Tobias Schweinsteiger or Stefan Buck”.

Will that alone be enough for the big litter today? Even a draw would be a huge success for the guests – and would at the same time herald a first mini crisis for the Bavarians. The heirs of Kluivert and Co. wouldn’t mind. Casinoland gives their new players 100% bonuses.

Verratti betrayed: Tuchel can also get angry

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Wherever you look, whomever you ask: everyone at Paris Saint-Germain seems to be thrilled by the new coach Thomas Tuchel. The players like his human nature. Even the extroverted superstar Neymar, who is not always considered easy, praises the former coach of Borussia Dortmund to the skies.

Marco Verratti also enjoys training under Tuchel. In an interview with “Le Parisien”, the Italian talks in detail about how everyday training in Paris has changed under the former Bundesliga coach and what special rules apply to the players.

“The coach is very close to the players. What we like is that he’s very direct. He tells you things as they are. Sometimes they’re not beautiful, but he tells you,” Verratti explains to the French newspaper. “He is a good person and he helps you to follow him to give 100 percent for him. We know that he works a lot and that he wants the best from us. In order to achieve great goals, we all have to go in the same direction. And this year we have a good understanding with the trainer and his staff. With him, we found the smile that we had lost a little bit.”

Marco Verratti Honours 

Club 

Pescara
  • Serie B (1) : 2011–12
Paris Saint-Germain 
  • Ligue 1 (5): 2012–13, 2013–14, 2014–15, 2015–16, 2017–18
  • Coupe de France (3): 2014–15, 2015–16, 2016–17
  • Coupe de la Ligue (5): 2013–14, 2014–15, 2015–16, 2016–17, 2017–18
  • Trophée des Champions (6): 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018

Individual 

  • Bravo Award: 2012 
  • Serie B Footballer of the Year: 2012 
  • UEFA U-21 Championship Team of the Tournament: 2013
  • UNFP Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year (1): 2013–14 
  • UNFP Ligue 1 Team of the Year (6): 2012–13, 2013–14, 2014–15, 2015–16, 2016–17, 2017–18 
  • UNFP Player of the Month: September 2013, February 2017
  • UNFP Ligue 1 Foreign Player of the Year (1): 2014–15 
  • FIFPro World XI 3rd team: 2015, 2017
  • FIFPro World XI 4th team: 2016 
  • Pallone Azzurro: 2015 

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The midfielder also indirectly criticises former coach Unai Emery. Today’s Arsenal coach was not able to meet the club bosses’ high expectations, and Paris were a long way from their goal of winning the Champions League in recent years. Under Tuchel, the joy of playing had returned, and PSG had also reinvented itself tactically through him.

“What I like the most is that he reads the games very well. If there’s a small change to be made, we see on the grass that this small change makes us feel better. It’s a great quality trainer,” says Verratti.

The new impulses are obviously noticeable after just a few match days. PSG are at the top of the league with 24 points after eight league games – eight points ahead of the second OSC Lille. Tuchel only lost one game as Paris coach: The Champions League opening against Jürgen Klopps FC Liverpool by a narrow margin of 2:3.

Even though things are going well under Tuchel, the coach can also play other sides. When asked if he can get angry, Verratti says: “Yes, of course. He addresses things directly. If he has to congratulate the team, he does it. But if there are things that don’t work, he does them too. Sometimes he does it before everyone else because some situations affect one player but have to be understood by the whole team. Sometimes he takes us aside one by one. There is a lot of exchange. Right now it’s a big surprise for everyone because we needed such a coach.” SuperCasino is one of the biggest names in online wagering.

Tuchel is not only making his mark on the players during training. Already in Dortmund he was regarded as a meticulous coach who paid extreme attention to the nutrition of his players. He apparently continues this in Paris. Verratti replies to the question as to whether Tuchel had banned carbonated drinks and sandwiches: “Yes, that’s true. In the first away game I wanted a Coke in the bus – but there was none. And when we travelled to Nice, there was nothing left to drink on the bus.”