AZ Alkmaar have been crowned Dutch champions for only the second time in their history – the other coming in 1980/81 – after a weekend in which all of the top-three teams experienced defeat.
Louis van Gaal's side had been expected to clinch the Eredivisie title in front of their own fans on Saturday evening, only to lose 2-1 to BV Vitesse for their first reverse since September. Second-placed FC Twente were also beaten, however, going down 1-0 at Feyenoord, and that left AFC Ajax needing to triumph at PSV Eindhoven to keep the race alive. Instead, Marco van Basten's men were routed 6-2 by last year's winners.
Van Gaal relief
AZ had originally planned extensive celebrations in Alkmaar following their game but ultimately held a smaller ceremony for supporters from the balcony of their DSB-Stadium home after watching Ajax lose to PSV. For Van Gaal, the overriding sentiment was one of relief. "I've been left with a bad feeling all day long," he said. "But this makes it right again. I'm proud of the players; for all these guys, this is their first championship." The club can now look forward to a berth in the UEFA Champions League group stage next season.
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