Wednesday, 16 September 2020 at

AZ failed to survive the third preliminary round of the Champions League and will have to settle for the Europa League this season. Dynamo Kiev turned out to be 2-0 too strong on Tuesday evening. Valentijn Driessen is critical of the Alkmaarders and writes in his analysis that this AZ ‘also has nothing to do’ in the group stage of the Champions League. “After the breakaway against Viktoria Plzen, the team with all its talents again made a poor impression”, according to the soccer chief of The Telegraph.

“Everything in the preparation was about the Champions League. That makes the elimination by Dinamo Kiev sour, but not unjustified. It raises the question of what they have been doing in Alkmaar in recent weeks,” Driessen said in the newspaper. He emphasizes that this was supposed to be ‘the season of confirmation’ and that the group stage of the multi-billion-dollar ball fits with that. “But the great talents Boadu, Stengs, Idrissi, Wijndal and Koopmeiners didn’t give up. Just as they were invisible when LASK was too strong in the Europa League last season. Standing out against VVV, ADO, RKC and PEC is fun; it’s all about the big games. It’s also a disappointment for coach Arne Slot, who let his experienced Romanian colleague Lucescu beat him. It was the boys against the men.”

Nice reaction from Calvin Stengs, after he justifiably turns yellow for a hard offence… ??

Posted by football zone on Tuesday 15 September 2020

Because AZ is unable to qualify for the Champions League, the club is missing out on millions of euros. Driessen says it is to be hoped that the club will not be forced to sell players in order to survive the corona crisis. “Despite the acclaimed talent factory in Noord-Holland, few talents are knocking on the door to provide the team with a qualitative boost,” continues Driessen, who thinks it may even be difficult to keep the AZ-selection together. “Since Idrissi indicated earlier that he was looking for another challenge and captain Koopmeiners did not rule out a transfer in advance. Stengs and Boadu remain great talents for the time being, but should take the next step in the Champions League and take their team by the hand. They miss that development. Undoubtedly clubs are on the tick rope to lure them away, while they themselves will wonder whether their development will benefit from another year of AZ”.

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Driessen writes in his analysis that AZ is often cited as a model club and deserves that status. “But in the end, steps have to be taken on the pitch to really become a structural threat to the top three and to participate in the Champions League. Now it’s all about putting on big pants and putting on a big mouth,” said the journalist, who sees Ajax rubbing his hands. Because with the elimination of AZ, the entire marketing pool of the Netherlands in the Champions League goes to the people of Amsterdam. Moreover, Ajax ends up in pot two in the draw, which avoids the top teams Barcelona, Atlético Madrid, Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Shakhtar Donetsk and Borussia Dortmund. “So Ajax is the big winner on a dramatic AZ night. Something that sprinkles extra salt into the wounds. Ajax is becoming more and more an obsession in everything. AZ shouldn’t let that happen. Be self-critical, stay away from Calimero syndrome and break through the invisible barrier and stoically make the final step to the national title,” Driessen said.