Viktor Fischer searching his luck in Germany

Ajax’ former wonderkid hoping to revive his career

In 2011 Viktor Fischer signed with Ajax, and he looked to become the next young Danish player who should develop through the famous youth system and later become an important member of the senior squad. The initial plan seemed to be working. In his first season, Fischer was instrumental in securing Ajax’ U19 squad a final spot in the NextGen Series (later UEFA Youth League), and he became the joint-top scorer in the competition. Next season he was promoted to the first team, where he debuted in the Champions League, and he notched two goals in his first “Klassieker” game against Feyenoord.

Fischer was a regular for Ajax for more than a year, he scored plenty of goals and was one of the hottest prospects in the team until injury struck, and kept him sidelined for more than a year. When he returned to the pitch, he was struggling to get in the starting eleven due to Ajax’ acquisition of Amin Younes. He spent most of his last season in the club on the bench and was eventually sold to Middlesbrough.

Initially, the move seemed a bit odd for “Viggo”. Middlesbrough was coached by Jose Mourinho’s disciple Aitor Karanka, who, like his tutor, had successfully implemented a strict and successful defensive approach. This meant that Middlesbrough secured promotion with the best defensive record in the Championship during the 2015-2016 campaign, but the least scoring team in the top 6. The same trend followed in the Premier League, where Middlesbrough had the best defensive record of the 11 lowest ranked teams, but the most impotent attack in the league. Fischer had a hard time adapting to the system, and he only played 13 games during the season, without finding the back of the net. To come from Ajax’ fluid, ball possessive style to Middlesbrough’s defensive and counter-attacking approach, was a too difficult task for Fischer. He later admitted that the style in Ajax fitted him perfectly, while the style in Middlesbrough didn’t fit at all.

Viktor Fischer

During this year’s summer transfer window, Fischer escaped his English nightmare and was signed by German side Mainz, where he is looking to revive his career. That a Bundesliga team was willing to sign Fischer was quite surprising given his horrendous last season in England. However, the club’s sporting director and coach have both expressed big expectations for the Danish international, and hope he can rediscover the form that made him such an exciting prospect at Ajax.

Read: Van der Vaart’s unsuccessful time in Denmark

At the international level, Fischer has also been struggling. When new coach Åge Hareide took over as Danish national coach, Fischer was in the starting eleven, and he impressed the new coach with his directness and desire. But the lack of success for Middlesbrough influenced his status on the national team, and he was soon left out of the squad or was an unused substitute.

Another factor was the success other attacking Danish players enjoyed last year. Yussuf Poulsen, Nicolai Jørgensen, Kasper Dolberg and Pione Sisto all enjoyed successful seasons, which meant that Fischer went further down the pecking order. So, if he is to challenge for a spot behind the team’s undeniable superstar, Christian Eriksen, he needs to put in good and stable performances for Mainz, because the competition is more severe now than it was a few of years ago.