The Ajax women’s football team have clinched a spot in the group stage of the UEFA Women’s Champions League after a 2-0 victory over FC Zurich on. Wednesday night. They are first Dutch club to qualify for the group stage of the European club tournament.
“It is very important that we reached the Champions League,” coach Suzanne Bakker told NOS. “As a team we will gain experience, just like the players individually. It is a very nice platform to further develop ourselves.”
Ajax beat the Swiss last week in Zurich 0-6, with Wednesday night’s 2-0 victory at home securing their spot in the group stage.
Ajax announced that the three home matches in the Champions League will be played at the Johan Cruijff Arena, the first time the Ajax women will play more than a one-off in the legendary stadium—a “beautiful stage,” according to coach Bakker.
Last season the team played Feyenoord there and a record number of 33,742 spectators filled the arena.
Striker Romée Leuchter, who scored both goals against Zurich Wednesday, said: “We are going to play top matches in the Champions League. Everyone can show themselves in Europe.”
The Limburg native is looking forward to the matches. “I hope to show myself in the top competitions. And as a team we want to achieve good results.”
“By playing the Champions League, we become more attractive for players to come to Ajax. And talented players may stay with us longer,” said Bakker, whose team played five players aged 22 or younger in their starting line-up against Zurich.
“We have a number of girls from the Dutch Juniors and the Dutch Under-19s. They will carry that experience with them, and no one can take that away from them.”
More money will also be directed towards Ajax women as a bonus for making it this far in the Champions League.
The group draw takes place this Friday.
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