Only four of the 32 Champions League teams have won all three of their group stage matches. Three of them, Bayern, Liverpool and Juventus, are part of the squad of favorites and their triumphs are less surprising than those of the glittering Ajax, who confirmed all the good impressions raised so far on Tuesday by beating Borussia Dortmund at the Amsterdam Arena (4-0 ) in a demonstration of offensive, fast and deep play.
The resurgence of the Dutch champion has merit. From the roster that three seasons ago, 2018-19, reached the semifinals of the competition after eliminating Real Madrid (eighth), Juventus (fourth) and losing against Tottenham, he has seen half eleven starters emigrate: De Ligt, Schone, Frenkie de Jong, Van de Beek and Zychech. In addition to having his titular goalkeeper Onana sanctioned for taking a doping substance, who will be able to play again from November.
Leader of his championship with seven wins, one draw and one defeat, 32 goals for, two against and seven games with a clean sheet, he also shows his competitiveness in the Champions League after having lost both in the group stage. last seasons. He started beating Sporting de Portugal at Alvalade (1-5) and has solved his two home games against Besiktas (2-0) and Borussia de Dortmund (4-0) with solvency.
Erik Ten Hag, fifth year on the rojiblanco bench, has put the machine back to full speed. He has repeated the starting eleven in the three games and his great physical display is accompanied by a brilliant associative game always with the lens on the opposite area. Tactically he does not invent anything. From a versatile 1-4-2-3-1, which is coupled to a 1-4-3-3, he occupies the opposite field with very close lines, very advanced centrals, full-backs in the opposite field and an offensive reference , Sebastian Haller, who scored four goals in the first game and also saw the door in the next two to add half a dozen goals.
The technician mixes well his pieces and the profiles of his men. In his eleven base they play six Dutch and five foreigners. A Moroccan (Mazraoui, right-back), an Argentine (Lisandro Martínez, central), a Mexican (Edson Álvarez, midfielder), a Brazilian (Antony, winger) and a Serbian (Tadic, winger) and also compensates the average age with young and veteran players. From Gravenberch (19), Timber (20), Antony (21), Martínez, Álvarez and Mazraoui (23) to the 37 of the goalkeeper Pasveer, the 32 of Tadic and the 31 of Blind… Berghuis (29), the channel of everything the attacking game and Haller (27), the scorer, seem to be at the right age of plenitude, each one in his own way.
After the game against Borussia, the praise for the center-back, now an Argentine international, Lisandro Martínez, who eliminated Haaland from the game, and for Antony, who is also part of the Brazilian team, has multiplied. A fast, left-handed winger who plays on the right and who scored the third goal against the Germans with a subtle and powerful shot. With the qualification for the second round assured, we will have to closely follow this team that plays boldly on the attack and has only conceded three goals: two in the League and one in the Champions League.
Yeremi Pino, goal and birthday
The Villarreal from Gran Canaria climbs professional steps at the speed of his legs. A year after making his debut in the First Division against Cádiz (10-25-2020), on the 6th he made his debut as an absolute international against Italy in the Nations League semi-finals and on Wednesday, the day he turned 19, scored the Young Boys their first goal in the Champions League.
Still ahead of him, shortly, the extension of his contract with Villarreal until 2027 with a clause already above 60 million that will avoid temptations to the clubs that have already set themselves in the conditions of a player in full growth phase both in the physical aspect, as in the technique and the tactics. In his third game in the continental competition par excellence, he made his debut as a scorer. A bit of head, which is not exactly the luck that dominates the most.
His is speed, overflow, dribbling either short or long and the center in the race. It carries within all the extreme qualities of all life and behaves as such. Emery, nor Luis Enrique, these conditions have gone unnoticed and now they are trying to improve their concentration, their continuity in the game and their defensive work so that it is even more complete and versatile in the new football trends, which promise a first leg game. and return.