From ashes to the Dutch top flight glory, De Joden have recovered brilliantly after suffering a 2-0 defeat at home against FC Utrecht on February 5 to lift the 31st Dutch title.
After being crowned Dutch champions for the 30th time, Ajax Amsterdam had an abysmal start to their 2011/12 campaign. The four time European champions were expected to demonstrate the blistering form in which they ended the successful 2010/11 season, but they failed to deliver in their initial outings.
Frank de Boer’s side flattered to deceive their fans in the opening phases of the campaign with erratic showings and it was only until the round-20 of the Dutch top tier that they began to exhibit their ruthlessness on the pitch.
With nine wins, seven draws and four loses at the end of round-20, the reigning Eredivisie champions were placed sixth on the table and a mighty eight points behind the then league leaders, PSV Eindhoven.
The future was looking bleak for the Amsterdam giants and a title defence seemed like a distant dream. Nonetheless, De Boer, who was always a fighter as a player, did not give up his title aspirations.
A week after the 2-0 defeat at Amsterdam Arena against FC Utrecht on February 5, De Joden visited NAC Breda. Despite not having the brightest of evenings, they managed to emerge victorious 2-0 at Rat Verlegh Stadion on February 11.
Nobody in Netherlands, not even the most optimistic of Ajax’s fans, would have dared to dream that the defending Dutch champions will do the unthinkable afterwards.
With 14 wins in a row, they moved from sixth spot to six points clear at the summit of the Eredivisie table to be crowned Dutch Champions for the 31st time in the club’s history.
Although De Joden received a helping hand from other title contenders, who consistently dropped points in the last couple of months, their blistering and breathtaking performances in the last 14 league fixtures demand more than a compliment.
Ajax have a history of grinding out consistent results in the second-half of the season. However, the astonishing turnaround to be crowned Champions this term was not witnessed before.
Victim of their own success, the Amsterdammers have another summer of change coming up with star personnel on the move. Jan Vertonghen and Gregory van der Wiel are likely to don jerseys of Europe’s elite next season.
However, the fans can rest assure that De Boer, who was tipped to replace Josep Guardiola, will continue to please with limited resources at Amsterdam Arena, as the Catalan giants have named Tito Vilanova as Pep’s successor at Camp Nou.
With De Boer at the helm in Amsterdam, who knows, maybe De Joden can return to dominate in Europe!
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