Ajax travels to De Kuip in a lousy form for the Classic against Feyenoord on Sunday. The record champion has been without a win for five Eredivisie games in a row and has to fear the worst series since the turn of the century.
Players like Kenneth Taylor, Jurriën Timber and Brian Brobbey have never seen Ajax fail to win six consecutive Eredivisie matches. That happened for the last time in the 1998/1999 season. In that series, Marten Olsen was fired and replaced by Jan Wouters.
Under Alfred Schreuder, Ajax must fear a similar series. The team from Amsterdam last celebrated a victory on October 22 (1-4 visiting RKC Waalwijk). After that, PSV (1-2), Vitesse (2-2), FC Emmen (3-3), NEC (1-1) and FC Twente (0-0) were successively not won.
The last time that Ajax did not win five games in a row, this century happened once before. That was in September and November 2011 under Frank de Boer (four draws and one defeat). That year, Ajax was crowned national champion thanks to a nice catch-up race.
Ajax can draw confidence from the (recent) past against Feyenoord. Of the previous 192 official editions, the reigning national champion won 91, Feyenoord won 56 times and it was a draw 45 times.
Especially in recent years, Ajax has been very dominant. The club won the last six editions; the longest winning streak for a club in the Classic. The series of six consecutive defeats is Feyenoord’s longest loss series ever against a specific opponent in professional football.
The 193rd Classic starts on Sunday at 2.30 pm in De Kuip and is led by referee Serdar Gözübüyük for the second time. He previously whistled the Eredivisie confrontation in Amsterdam on October 27, 2019 (4-0). Feyenoord coach Jaap Stam stepped down a day later.