Bayern Munich – Ajax: visitors from Amsterdam close to major upset (1-1)
After dropping points in two consecutive Bundesliga matches - a shock, by the lofty standards for the German Rekordmeister - Bayern almost lost at home to Ajax, thanks to a gutsy game plan by manager Erik ten Hag and even better execution from his players.
Bayern are still one of the best teams in European football. Six straight Bundesliga titles - with an average margin of 17 points ahead of the runners-up - and seven trips to (at least) the semi-finals in the past nine editions of the Champions League can only be described as pure, utter dominance.
Besides being one of the winningest franchises in modern football, Bayern are currently also one of the most experienced. After drawing to Augsburg (1-1) and losing at Hertha Berlin (2-0), newly-appointed Bayern manager Niko Kovač opted for his strongest possible starting eleven for this Champions League fixture against Ajax - with the possible exception of James Rodriguez; the Colombian playmaker did not start because he was not entirely match fit.
General position and movements of Bayern in possession versus general defensive shape Ajax
How experienced are Bayern exactly? Well, the starting eleven in this game boasted an average age of 29.8 years - with six of their starters being over the age of thirty - and an average time spent in the Bavarian first squad of almost seven seasons per player. Bayern München are the embodiment of strong continuity.
Ajax, on the other hand, can not be described as an experienced squad. Even with the additions of Daley Blind and Dušan Tadić in the past summer, Ajax are still a bunch of puppies in the context of a big Champions League fixture like this.
With the gap in individual . . .