Vitesse through to Conference League, Ajax draw Borussia Dortmund in CL

Vitesse's goalscorer Maximilian Wittek (centre) celebrates with his team-mates. Photo: ANP/Gerrit van Keulen
Vitesse’s goalscorer Maximilian Wittek (centre) celebrates with his team-mates. Photo: ANP/Gerrit van Keulen

Vitesse Arnhem made it through to the group stages of the UEFA Conference League with a dramatic 2-1 win over Anderlecht.

German defender Maximilian Wittek was the unlikely hero, scoring both goals as Vitesse edged the Belgian side 5-4 on aggregate. ‘I played the best game of my life,’ said Wittek. ‘I’ve never scored two goals in a match before as a professional.’

They will be joined in the group stages by Feyenoord, who lost 3-1 to Swedish side Elfsborg but had secured a 5-0 cushion in the first leg in Rotterdam, and AZ Alkmaar.

For AZ it was a consolation prize after they were knocked out of the UEFA League by Celtic, despite winning the second leg 2-1 in Alkmaar. The Scottish side won the first match in Glasgow 2-0.

It is the first time since the 2010/11 season that five Dutch clubs have made it through the qualifying rounds of the European competitions.

Vitesse will now play English side Tottenham Hotspur, who were Champions League finalists just two years ago, French club Stade Rennais and NS Mura from Slovenia.

AZ Alkmaar will take on CFR Cluj from Romania, Czech outfit FK Jablonec and Randers FC from Denmark, while Feyenoord’s opponents in the group stage are Slavia Prague, Union Berlin and Israeli side Maccabi Haifa.

In the Champions League Ajax have been drawn against Borussia Dortmund, Sporting Lisbon and Turkish side Besiktas in Group C.

Coach Erik ten Hag said he was happy to have avoided big-name teams such as Real Madrid and PSG, but warned his side faced a stern test.

‘Borussia Dortmund are a real top club,’ he said. ‘It’ll be nice to come up against [former PSV Eindhoven striker] Donyell Malen. Portuguese sides are always tough, we saw that this week [Benfica knocked PSV out of the Champions League – ed]. And Besiktas away won’t be easy. It can be a cauldron out there.’

PSV have been handed a tough draw in the Europa League against AS Monaco, with former AZ striker Myron Boadu, Real Sociedad and Sturm Graz.

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