In anticipation of Sunday, as the latest chapter in De Klassieker is written, here’s a look at Ajax’s top 10 moments against Feyenoord since the turn of the century – starting with number 10:
10. April 17, 2005: Feyenoord 2-3 Ajax – Comeback at De Kuip
Ajax arrived in Rotterdam just three points up on Feyenoord as the battle for second place intensified with just six games to play. Dirk Kuyt gave the hosts the lead in the 80th minute after Salamon Kalou and Nigel de Jong found the back of the net earlier in the match to get the score to 1-1.
It looked as though Ajax were heading for their first defeat at De Kuip since 2000, but inspiration would strike. A wonder-goal from Zdenek Grygera pulled the Amsterdammers level with a sensational volley with just four minutes to play, before Hedwiges Maduro struck in stoppage-time to complete a remarkable late turnaround for Danny Blind’s boys. Hatem Trabelsi assisted both the tying and winning goals.
9. March 2, 2014: Feyenoord 1-2 Ajax – Doing the double
Ajax went behind early to a Graziano Pelle goal, but Kolbeinn Sigthorsson leveled the score before a theatrical Joel Veltman header from a corner completed the turnaround as Ajax secured three points at De Kuip to take a stranglehold on first place – eventually going on to win their fourth successive title (Feyenoord would finish second). It’s also the last season that Ajax managed the double over Feyenoord.
8. November 1, 2009: Ajax 5-1 Feyenoord – Amazing Emanuelson
A humiliating day for Feyenoord was highlighted by Urby Emanuelson’s unforgettable effort just after the restart to put Ajax 2-0 ahead, opening the floodgates in Amsterday. Demy de Zeeuw scored twice on the day, Gregory van der Wiel and Luis Suarez also got in amongst the goals, while Feyenoord would end the match with nine men following the sending off of Stefan Babovic and Rob van Dijk.
It remains their biggest defeat over Feyenoord this century, since a 6-0 slaughtering in May 1999.
7. August 18, 2013: Ajax 2-1 Feyenoord – Sigthorsson double
This was the earliest a Klassieker had taken place since the turn of the century, and their first meeting in August since 2005. Ajax entered the season having won three consecutive Eredivisie titles, but many had touted Feyenoord to end their string of championships in 2013/14.
Feyenoord had not tasted victory in Amsterdam since 2005, a slide they had to stop if they were going to challenge Ajax for the title – especially considering Ronald Koeman’s side had lost their first two games of this season.
They made a good start, with Graziano Pelle opening the scoring after just six minutes. Kolbeinn Sigthorsson equalised just past the half-hour mark from the penalty spot, before the Iceland international put Ajax ahead just minutes later with a booming header off the underside of the bar. That goal would be the difference in the end as Ajax held on for the 2-1 victory, setting the tone for another title-winning season (Feyenoord again settling for second, four points back at the end of the year).
6. February 4, 2007: Ajax 4-1 Feyenoord – Sneijder’s hat-trick
Trailing leaders PSV by eight points, Ajax’s title hopes were drastically fading entering this must-win Klassieker and in desperate need of a hero.
They got their hero on this day as Wesley Sneijder scored a hat-trick in a 4-1 stampede over Feyenoord, pulling them to within five points of PSV who had lost to Alkmaar the previous day. Ajax would end the season level on points with the Eindhoven club, but sadly we know how this story ends. It came down to the final matchday (a thrilling one for neutrals – or anyone by Ajax fans, really) as PSV cruised past a helpless Vitesse side 5-1 to win the title on goal differential, with Ajax only managing a 2-0 win at Willem.
5. February 7, 2016: Ajax 2-1 Feyenoord – Bazoer put Ajax back on top
It was a special day for Riechedly Bazoer who had the weight of the world on his shoulders ahead of his first taste of De Klassieker at the Amsterdam ArenA – and the midfielder, widely regarded as Ajax’s best young talent at the time, delivered in a big way.
Ajax had gone three matches winless against Feyenoord, and they came into this Sunday needing to keep the pace with PSV atop the table. Jens Toornstra ensured another poor start for Ajax as he opened the scoring early, but Amin Younes scored a dazzling effort from a tight angle to restore parity no more than eight minutes later, before Bazoer’s worldie in the second half helped complete the comeback on what will also be remembered as John Heitinga’s farewell.
4. January 19, 2011: Ajax 2-0 Feyenoord – Alderweireld’s rocket
At the time it was Jan Vertonghen known more for his blistering strikes from the back than Toby Alderweireld, though the latter did flash his ability earlier in the season with a bullet from 25 yards in a 2-0 win over AC Milan in the Champions League, Frank de Boer’s first match in charge of the club. Toby would up the ante just a month later.
This was Frank de Boer’s first De Klassieker as Ajax manager and again it was Toby Alderweireld who marked the occasion. The centre-back’s delicious strike from over 30 yards helped Ajax to a 2-0 win at the ArenA as they completed the double over Feyenoord for the first time since the 2006/07 season. Ajax would go on to win their first title since 2004, while Feyenoord stumbled to a tenth-place finish, their worst since the turn of the century.
3. May 6, 2010: Feyenoord 1-4 Ajax – Beker bludgeoning
A 2-0 victory in Amsterdam gave Ajax a discernable advantage heading into the second leg of this KNVB Beker final, though coming into the match it had been four years since Ajax had won at De Kuip. That would all change on this day. Luis Suarez and Siem de Jong both netted a brace as Martin Jol guided the club to a 4-1 rout (6-1 aggregate score) to clinch the KNVB Beker, a trophy they have yet to win since this magical day in Rotterdam.
2. November 30, 2003: Ajax 2-0 Feyenoord – Van der Vaart’s scorpion finish
This one contains one of the best goals Ajax have ever scored against their heated rivals. Rafael van der Vaart’s stunning scorpion-kick finish gave Ajax the lead inside five minutes. The midfielder would find the back of the net again just seven minutes later, putting the game to bed early as Ronald Koeman’s side cruised to a 2-0 win and an eventual league title later that season.
1. January 20, 2013: Ajax 3-0 Feyenoord – Fischer’s finest hour
To remember how special this day was, you have to re-familiarise yourself with the back story leading up to this Klassieker. By this point, Ajax were about sick of seeing Feyenoord. They were winless in their three previous matches against De club aan de Maas, but it was how these games ended that made them so painful.
The 2011/12 campaign saw Ajax draw Feyenoord 1-1 in Amsterdam, before a John Guidetti (sorry, last time I say his name) hat-trick sunk the De Godenzonen 4-2 in Rotterdam. All was almost forgotten in the first half of 2012/13 as Frank de Boer’s side finally appeared to be heading for three points, but a stoppage-time equaliser from Graziano Pelle (sorry again) again denied Ajax victory.
Fast forward to January 20, 2013. This was the first game back from the winter break and Ajax, level with Feyenoord in the table, were three points back of co-leaders PSV and Twente.
Ajax received a big boost in advance of De Klassieker, as PSV and Twente both dropped points the days before the match, meaning the winner of this derby would gain precious ground on top spot. Up stepped Viktor Fischer. In what was arguably the greatest moment for the Dane in Amsterdam, he scored twice in the first half, with Christian Eriksen adding another in the second, as Ajax cruised to a 3-0 rout of their rivals en route to a third successive league title. Fischer would go on to win the Marco van Basten award at the end of the season as Ajax’s talent of the year.