Champions League Group E
FC Bayern Munich and AFC Ajax, does it get any more prototypical Champions League than that? Group E is definitely not one of the groups we profiled earlier this week, as it’s already sorted out. No matter what happens both teams will advance, and all that’s left is to determine the group winner. This is a matchup between footballing royalty and you should be excited! What better way than a head-to-head at Ajax in the Netherlands on the final day of group stage games?
AFC Ajax, like Bayern, are a perennial competitor in the Champions League. Their dominance in the Eredivisie surpasses even what Bayern has managed in the Bundesliga. They have brought home an astounding 33 Eredivise League Titles to go along with 18 KNVB (Dutch FA) Cup Titles. They’ve also got the equivalent of 4 Champions League winners trophies.
Ajax are sitting in second-place in the Eredivise behind only PSV. Third place is Feyenoord, which rounds out the three dominant teams in the Dutch league. These three have at least a 10 point lead on every other team in the league. If there’s any knock on the Dutch league in recent years it would be the sheer domination by these 3 teams. Ajax has a blistering +42 goal difference in league play, just shy of hitting the 50 goal mark across a mere 15 games. In the league they are averaging 3.25 goals per game, with an astounding 0.47 goals allowed.
AFC Ajax Amsterdam has played very well in the Champions League accruing 11 of 15 points. They’ve drawn away to this Bayern side and away to Benefica, but otherwise haven’t done anything but continue their Eredivise-esque form. They are averaging 1.6 goals per game and only conceding 0.4 goals per game. They have only conceded goals on the road to this point (resulting in two 1-1 draws) but haven’t conceded anything at home. In contrast, they are scoring 2 goals per game at home.
FC Bayern Munich
If Bayern needs much of an introduction to you — likely one of two things is happening: either you’ve been living under a rock or you’re new to soccer/football . I judge everyone equally so I’ll start from the beginning. Basically, Bayern has best one of the most dominant football clubs of the modern era. In fact, they’ve owned the Bundesliga (German First Division) with 28 Championships and a few (18) German Cup wins also to go along with it. Just to add icing on the cake, they’ve brought home 5 winners trophies for the Champions League (or earlier equivalent) since 1973.
Despite Bayern’s history, they’ve fallen down the ladder a bit this year. The Bundesliga is undoubtedly stacked this year, but Bayern have managed to earn just under 63% (27) of the possible points. When compared to the top of the table, Dortmund, who are a full 9 points ahead of them (with Monchengladbach sandwiched between them) it doesn’t seem as impressive. The Bundesliga has been rough to the perennial powerhouse teams in the last year or two; perennial member HSV fell out of the 1.Bundesliga for the first time since the league’s inception). Even despite the dip in form, they are still averaging 2 goals scored per game and 1.29 goals conceded per game.
In the Champions League, Bayern has been a force, they’ve only dropped 2 points after having drawn (at home) in the earlier leg of this matchup. In away games they have garnered a pair of 2-0 wins. They haven’t conceded on the road and are averaging 2 goals a game. This is shaping up to be quite the game with a draw between these two teams and neither having conceded a goal from their away (or home, respectively) positions.
What to expect
I am super excited to see this matchup of two of football’s Titans. Both teams are coming into this match in good domestic and great Champions League form. Bayern haven’t conceded on the road, Ajax haven’t conceded at home — so one of these records is likely to fall. I don’t think is going to be a shoot out by any means, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we had a 1-1 draw. Neither side has anything to lose, so I expect they will field strong teams and both play attacking football. These games are usually great for fans — because both teams want to win so they can leave the group stages having a leg up over the other.