Ajax 1-0 Bayern Munich: Leuchter fires Ajax one step closer to historic participation in UWCL knockouts

Heading into the game in the Dutch capital unbeaten in their last four matches, Ajax remained in prime position to become the first-ever Dutch club to qualify for the knockout stages of a UEFA competition. On the other hand, Bayern Munich were unbeaten in their last 19 competitive encounters in all competitions – dating back to their 5-0 hammering at the hands of VfL Wolfsburg in the semi-finals of last season’s DFB Pokal.

AJA: Van Eijk; Keijzer, Spitse, De Sanders, Weerden; Noordam, van Gool, Yohannes; Grant, Hoekstra, Leuchter

BAY: Grohs; Gwinn, Viggósdóttir, Tainara, Naschenweng; Zadrazil, Stanway; Dallmann, Lohmann, Kett; Damnjanović

Unable to be separated in their 1-1 draw less than a week ago on German soil, Ajax marginally edged the attacking play throughout the opening proceedings in front of the bumper crowd at the Johan Cruijff ArenA as 16-year-old Ajax academy graduate Lily Yohannes left the crossbar shaking with a fearsome strike from distance.

At the other end of the pitch, despite not registering a shot on target, defending Frauen-Bundesliga champions Bayern kept Regina van Eijk on her toes in the hosts’ goal with many menacing possessions in and around the final third.

Amid a couple of chances for Bayern, as Jovana Damnjanović’s close-range strike was gathered at the second time of asking by van Eijk and Glódís Perla Viggósdóttir’s header was well-saved, it would be Ajax who would manufacture a slender advantage upon their return into the home dressing room for half time.

Already in breathtaking form across the current Eredivisie Vrouwen campaign after netting 10 times in as many matches, Romée Leuchter once again showcased her clinical touch in front of goal as she fired Nadine Noordam’s exquisite defensive-splitting through ball into the corner of the net beyond the grasp of Maria Luisa Grohs.

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On course to go top of Group C, Ajax saw a glorious opportunity to double their lead go amiss with only four minutes gone after the restart, as Milicia Keijzer could only react in exasperation fashion as her goalbound effort was brilliantly saved by Grohs.

One-way traffic at the Johan Cruijff ArenA continued as the second half developed with Rosa van Gool firing straight at the Bayern number one on the stroke of the hour mark when it appeared simpler for the midfielder’s strike to have rippled the back of the net.

Amid substitute Lina Magull stinging the palms of van Eijk in the 73rd minute, Bayern frustratingly failed to threaten a late equaliser, as Ajax strolled rather relatively through the final quarter-hour of the game to pick up a valuable victory in their pursuit of qualifying for the knockout stages of this season’s competition.

Meanwhile, Alexander Straus’ visiting Bavarians’ first defeat in over eight months of competitive football leaves them ideally needing to emerge victorious in their final two group-stage matches to stand any chance of progressing as one of the two qualifiers from Group C.