Featured Matches
Previous
Burnley
Manchester United
11:45 AM GMT
Game Details
Manchester City
Stoke City
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Everton
Chelsea
4:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Atletico Madrid
Eibar
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Schalke 04
Bayern Munich
4:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Chievo Verona
Juventus
4:00 PM GMT
Game Details
AS Roma
Fiorentina
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Burnley
Manchester United
11:45 AM GMT
Game Details
Manchester City
Stoke City
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Newcastle United
Crystal Palace
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Queens Park Rangers
Sunderland
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Swansea City
West Bromwich Albion
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
West Ham United
Southampton
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Everton
Chelsea
4:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Athletic Bilbao
Levante
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Cordoba
Celta Vigo
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Atletico Madrid
Eibar
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Espanyol
Sevilla FC
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Bayer Leverkusen
Hertha Berlin
1:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Hamburg SV
SC Paderborn 07
1:30 PM GMT
Game Details
VfB Stuttgart
FC Cologne
1:30 PM GMT
Game Details
VfL Wolfsburg
Eintracht Frankfurt
1:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Werder Bremen
TSG Hoffenheim
1:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Schalke 04
Bayern Munich
4:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Chievo Verona
Juventus
4:00 PM GMT
Game Details
AS Roma
Fiorentina
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
AS Monaco
Lille
3:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Caen
Stade Rennes
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Lens
Stade de Reims
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Lorient
Guingamp
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Nantes
Montpellier
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Toulouse
Evian Thonon Gaillard
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Sheffield Wednesday
Nottingham Forest
11:15 AM GMT
Game Details
Brighton & Hove Albion
Charlton Athletic
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Derby County
Ipswich Town
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Fulham
Cardiff City
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Leeds United
Bolton Wanderers
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Middlesbrough
Reading
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Millwall
Blackpool
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Norwich City
AFC Bournemouth
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Rotherham United
Brentford
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Watford
Huddersfield Town
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Wigan Athletic
Birmingham City
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Wolverhampton Wanderers
Blackburn Rovers
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Colchester United
Peterborough United
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Doncaster Rovers
Oldham Athletic
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Fleetwood Town
Leyton Orient
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Gillingham
Crewe Alexandra
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Milton Keynes Dons
Crawley Town
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Port Vale
Chesterfield
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Preston North End
Sheffield United
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Rochdale
Bradford City
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Scunthorpe United
Walsall
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Swindon Town
Coventry City
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Yeovil Town
Barnsley
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
AFC Wimbledon
Stevenage
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Bury
Accrington Stanley
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Cambridge United
Carlisle United
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Cheltenham Town
Hartlepool United
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Mansfield Town
Burton Albion
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Northampton Town
Exeter City
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Oxford United
Dagenham & Redbridge
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Plymouth Argyle
Southend United
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Portsmouth
Newport County
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Shrewsbury Town
Luton Town
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Tranmere Rovers
Morecambe
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
York City
Wycombe Wanderers
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Aldershot Town
Grimsby Town
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Alfreton Town
Braintree Town
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Bristol Rovers
Halifax
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Dartford
AFC Telford United
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Dover
Kidderminster Harriers
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Gateshead
Chester City
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Lincoln City
Torquay United
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Macclesfield Town
Eastleigh
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Nuneaton Town
Altrincham
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Southport
Barnet
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Welling
Forest Green Rovers
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Wrexham
Woking
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Aberdeen
Partick Thistle
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Hamilton Academical
Ross County
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Inverness Caledonian Thistle
Kilmarnock
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Motherwell
St Johnstone
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
St Mirren
Dundee United
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Alloa Athletic
Hibernian
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Cowdenbeath
Raith Rovers
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Dumbarton
Livingston
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Heart of Midlothian
Falkirk
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Rangers
Queen of the South
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Airdrie United
Stirling Albion
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Brechin City
Peterhead
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Forfar Athletic
Greenock Morton
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Stenhousemuir
Ayr United
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Stranraer
Dunfermline Athletic
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Albion Rovers
Queen's Park
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Annan Athletic
Elgin City
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Arbroath
Montrose
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Clyde
Berwick Rangers
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
East Fife
East Stirlingshire
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Barcelona B
CD Sabadell
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Lugo
Real Valladolid
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Real Zaragoza
Osasuna
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
AD Alcorcon
Girona
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Racing Santander
Mirandes
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Tenerife
Albacete
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Catania
Lanciano
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Crotone
Ternana
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Frosinone
Brescia
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Livorno
Carpi
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
US Avellino
Pro Vercelli
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
US Pescara
Trapani
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Varese
Spezia
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Vicenza
Latina
Postp
Game Details
Virtus Entella
Bari
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Erzgebirge Aue
Fortuna Düsseldorf
11:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Karlsruhe
Heidenheimer SB
11:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Tours
Angers
12:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Cambuur Leeuwarden
ADO Den Haag
4:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Dordrecht '90
AZ Alkmaar
5:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Excelsior
SC Heracles Almelo
5:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Heerenveen
FC Utrecht
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Oss
De Graafschap
2:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Belenenses
Guimaraes
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Braga
Estoril
7:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Mordovia Saransk
FK Torpedo Moscow
0
0
LIVE 0'
Game Details
FK Amkar Perm
Spartak Moscow
1:00 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Arsenal Tula
Kuban Krasnodar
4:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Eskisehirspor K
Konyaspor
3:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Bursaspor
Galatasaray
4:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Istanbul Buyuksehir BSK
Kasimpasa
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Mersin Idmanyurdu
Besiktas
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Kalloni AEL
Ergotelis
4:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Panthrakikos
Giannina
4:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Panetolikos
Olympiakos
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
KV Oostende
Racing Genk
4:00 PM GMT
Game Details
KVC Westerlo
Zulte-Waregem
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Mouscron-Peruwelz
Cercle Brugge KSV
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Waasland-Beveren
Lierse SK
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
SV Salzburg
SK Sturm Graz
2:30 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Trenkwalder Admira
Austria Vienna
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
SC Rheindorf Altach
SV Josko Ried
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Wolfsberger AC
FC Magna Wr. Neustadt
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Sonderjyske
Randers FC
3:00 PM GMT
Game Details
BK Hacken
Mjallby
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Gefle IF
Atvidabergs FF
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Sarpsborg FK
Odd Grenland
1:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Aalesund
Stromsgodset
4:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Bodo/Glimt
Valerenga
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Thun
FC Sion Sitten
3:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Lucerne
FC Aarau
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Ballinamallard Utd
Cliftonville
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Crusaders
Glentoran
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Dungannon Swifts
Linfield
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Institute
Warrenpoint Town
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Seattle Sounders FC
Colorado Rapids
8:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Toronto FC
New England Revolution
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Montreal Impact
Columbus Crew
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Chicago Fire
FC Dallas
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
San Jose Earthquakes
Real Salt Lake
2:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Vancouver Whitecaps
Portland Timbers
2:30 AM GMT
Game Details
America
UNAM
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Puebla
Morelia
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
U.A.N.L
Chiapas
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
León
Pachuca
1:06 AM GMT
Game Details
Atlas
Santos
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Prestatyn Town
Bala Town
1:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Ottawa Fury FC
Tampa Bay Rowdies
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Carolina RailHawks
Atlanta Silverbacks
ESPN3 11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Indy Eleven
New York Cosmos
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Gimnasia La Plata
Godoy Cruz de Mendoza
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Defensa y Justicia
Rosario Central
8:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Newell's Old Boys
Estudiantes La Plata
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Nueva Chicago
Argentinos Juniors
6:15 PM GMT
Game Details
All Boys
Santamarina
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Boca Unidos
Douglas Haig
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Aldosivi
Colón de Santa Fe
9:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Altamira
Correcaminos
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Mérida
Celaya
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Irapuato
Mineros de Zacatecas
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Oaxaca
Zacatepec
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Dorados de Sinaloa
Necaxa
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Cruzeiro
Chapecoense AF
9:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Palmeiras
Internacional
ESPN3 9:30 PM GMT
Game Details
AA Ponte Preta
Náutico
7:10 PM GMT
Game Details
América RN
Paraná Clube
7:10 PM GMT
Game Details
Bragantino
ABC
7:10 PM GMT
Game Details
CR Vasco da Gama
Avaí
7:10 PM GMT
Game Details
Ceará
Luverdense
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Colo Colo
Antofagasta
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Huachipato
Santiago Wanderers
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Fénix
Defensor Sporting
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Nacional
El Tanque Sisley
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Alianza Petrolera
Atlético Huila
8:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Uniautonoma
Boyacá Chicó FC
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Patriotas F.C.
Fortaleza CE
12:45 AM GMT
Game Details
Cienciano del Cusco
Unión Comercio
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Alianza Lima
Melgar
8:30 PM GMT
Game Details
César Vallejo
Real Garcilaso
8:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Juan Aurich
Universitario de Deportes
8:30 PM GMT
Game Details
San Simón
San Martin
8:30 PM GMT
Game Details
3 de Febrero
Sol de América
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Aragua
Deportivo Táchira
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Dep. Metropolitano
Zamora
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
The Strongest
Universitario de Pando
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Gamba Osaka
Albirex Niigata
9:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Urawa Red Diamonds
Omiya Ardija
9:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Tokushima Vortis
Sanfrecce Hiroshima
9:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Cerezo Osaka
Vissel Kobe
10:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Kashima Antlers
FC Tokyo
10:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Kashiwa Reysol
Vantforet Kofu
10:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Nagoya Grampus Eight
Kawasaki Frontale
10:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Sagan Tosu
Shimizu S-Pulse
10:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Vegalta Sendai
Yokohama F. Marinos
10:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Bay United
Orlando Pirates
1:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Free State Stars
Maritzburg Utd
1:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Kaizer Chiefs
SuperSport United
6:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Mpumalanga Black Aces
Pretoria Univ
6:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Santos
Pumas Generalena
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Comunicaciones
Antigua
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Marquense
Guastatoya
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Platense
Parrillas One
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Victoria
Honduras Progreso
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Next
Feb 16, 2010

European heavyweights meet again

While the Champions League takes centre stage this week with the ever enticing first knockout round, arguably the biggest fixture of all is scheduled in the backwaters of Thursday night's Europa League.

Ajax vs. Juventus has been played out as a European Cup final as well as a Champions League final, and the sound of the fixture may well have the same effect on the ears of lovers of football history as the Madeleine cake in the mouth of Marcel Proust.

Back in their minds come the early seventies and mid-nineties, when these teams played each other twice for the top prize in European club football. But as both have fallen on hard times recently, it may be more interesting to review their glory years than to preview the relatively low key encounter that awaits the unsuspecting punters in the Amsterdam Arena this week.

Their first major collision was in 1973. For Ajax it was their fourth final in five years and the third with Italian opposition. The year before Internazionale had failed in their catenaccio style from the kick-off, making it the most one-sided finale until AC Milan slaughtered Steaua Bucharest in 1989.

In the final in Belgrado the following year, Ajax started with the same team except for Johnny Rep, who had taken Sjaak Swart's position. Juventus had just won their second Italian title in a row, when they leapfrogged Milan on the final day of the calcio season.

Brimming with confidence one would think. Their team was a mix of old - Sandro Salvadore and Jose Altafini - and young with Franco Causio, Roberto Bettega and Fabio Capello. In goal it was the first season of Dino Zoff at Juve. They would rule the Italian football in the mid-seventies. But not this final.

Intimidated by an early goal from Rep, Juventus never got into the game. Had the Italians thrown caution to the wind and increased the pressure on the Dutch side, they might not have ended up empty handed; because all was not well at Ajax.

The quarter-final against Bayern Munich had revealed a rift between Johan Cruyff and several team-mates. After the 4-0 home win the return leg seemed unimportant. Cruyff used the excuse of a minor injury to stay home, but the others felt betrayed. The Ajax board urged him to join the squad in a telegram, but he never showed up.

While Cruyff had a feature film, several commercial gigs and his face in all the media, his season was mediocre. His absence in Germany then made his team-mates wonder aloud whether they could do without him. After that game most of the team spirit was gone and they did not have a coach to fix it.

Romanian Stefan Kovacs had lost the dressing room earlier in the season when he did not dare to tell Swart he would lose his place to Rep. From then on he just let the players do their thing, while he waited for his contract to end. Therefore no-one was effectively in charge.

When the Spanish league announced the opening of its borders to foreign players at the start of the new season, the writing was on the wall. Immediately, Barcelona announced an interest in Cruyff, while Real Madrid courted Rep and Johan Neeskens. It led to more troubles within the squad, where some feared being left in an ailing team in Amsterdam, earning considerably less than their team-mates. They felt unappreciated.

Not a happy crowd therefore in Belgrado, where Ajax were to play the European Cup final. In a desperate attempt to raise the spirits the board had invited the players' wives and girlfriends to reside in the same hotel in the city centre. While the women spent some quality time in bikinis by the swimming pool, football and press agents swarmed the lounge looking for contacts and stories.

The preparations could not have gone worse, but the team was still professional enough to grind out a result on the pitch.

Five minutes of good football was enough for Ajax to take the lead, a header by Rep, after which they changed down a gear with a clean sheet as their only goal, sealed the win. On the night, Juventus never managed to put real pressure on the Ajax defence. That just was not their style. Maybe a more attacking and opportunistic opponent could have taken Ajax to the wire and cracked them.

A few months later Cruyff left for Catalunya, while CSKA Sofia would end Ajax's reign in Europe in October.

In 1996 Ajax and Juve met again, in the Champions League final in Rome. Ajax had been magnificent until their Intercontinental Cup win in Tokyo in December, then tiredness had set in.

For their final triumph against AC Milan the previous year, Ajax could call on Frank Rijkaard, Clarence Seedorf, Michael Reiziger and Marc Overmars, but all were missing in 1996. Meanwhile, Juventus had Alex Del Piero, Gianluca Vialli and Fabrizio Ravanelli as an impressive forward line.

After an early Ravanelli goal the Italians seemed to control the game, but suddenly before the break Jari Litmanen equalized. Juventus kept dominating but could not score a second. Ajax struggled to penalties when chances were even again. There they failed with two missed spot-kicks by Edgar Davids and Sonny Silooy.

A few weeks later, during Euro '96, tension surfaced between two groups of Ajax players, which may have simmered throughout the second half of that season. Some of the younger, black players were unhappy that there were huge differences in salaries at Ajax. They refused to sign new contracts and left on free transfers, thanks to the Bosman-ruling of the year before.

The team fell apart, but did manage to reach the semi-final of the Champions League yet again in 1997. There they met an even better Juventus, who had acquired Zinedine Zidane and Alen Boksic. Ajax were slaughtered over two games.

Afterwards it was proved that the Juventus players were a bit stronger that they should have been. The club doctor received a prison sentence for injecting EPO, an illegal substance to enhance the blood. Ajax officially asked UEFA to take the 1996 title away from the Italian club after this injustice, but they did not.

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.