Ajax vs AC Milan – 1996 UEFA Champions League Final


UEFA Champions League Final

May 24th, 1995

Ernst Happel Stadion, Vienna

By Keegan Boom (@KVFB_Analysis)

Line Ups

Before analyzing Ajax’s game model I want to highlight some compelling notes of the game:

•Louis Van Gaal is in his first spell with Ajax.

•24 year old Van der Sar starts for Ajax.

•Maldini starts at LB for Milan.

•This was Milan’s third consecutive UCL final.

Ajax line up in a 1-3-Diamond-3 formation which provides some fascinating rotations and positional play to break down Milan’s 1-4-4-2.

As Ajax enters the middle third, wingers Finidi and Overmars drop to provide a wide outlet for Ajax’s defenders to play out to. This drop creates a midfield overload, 6 to 4, in which progressing the ball is made easier.

While controlling the midfield, Ajax look to create the attack by exploiting space and overloads through intelligent positional play and player rotations. Ajax’s formation shifts from a 1-3-diamond-3 to a 1-3-3-4 with Litmanen joining the forward line.

A second look at Ajax’s positional play in the attacking half. Litmanen’s step into the attacking line creates overloads in Milan’s back line and space for Ajax’s midfield to progress.

After entering the attacking third, Ajax relies on their positional play and player rotations to create overloads. Litmanen and De Boer are positioned between Milan’s center backs and full backs, while Overmars and Finidi control the wings creating wide overloads.

When losing possession Ajax quickly press and close the space forcing Milan to play long or drop the ball back.

When Milan advances into the middle third, Ajax applies a mid-block through condensing the central space by squeezing wide midfielders Seedorf and David’s.

Within the mid-block, Ajax closes the space by squeezing the weak-side midfielder centrally.

When defending in their defending third, Ajax set up in a low-block by dropping wide midfielders Seedorf and David’s alongside the defensive line. As the wide midfielders drop into a back 5, wingers Overmars and Finidi occupy the space in front of the back line.

A second look at Ajax’s low-block:

The final score ended: Ajax 1-0 AC Milan I hope you enjoyed this thread analyzing Ajax in the 95’ Champions League Final. Any feedback and suggestions are greatly appreciated!

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