Dmitry Bulykin arrived at Ajax this summer, thanks in part to John van den Brom. His former coach at ADO Den Haag said yes when Ajax coach Frank de Boer asked him if the 31 year old Russian could add value to the national champion team.
“They’ve played together at Ajax, and they know each other”, Bulykin explained the connection between De Boer and the current Vitesse trainer. “They know how it works, and they’re both straightforward people. It’s a privilege to work under coaches like them.”
Although Bulykin enjoyed being at ADO - with 21 goals last season, he was the club’s top scorer – the former Lokomotiv Moscow, Dinamo Moscow, and Anderlecht player is happy to be back playing at a higher level. “I’m training now with a big club with top coaches. It’s clear in everything - the stadium, the level at the practices, and the competitions we’re participating in, such as Champions League. I’m definitely enjoying it and there’s a good atmosphere.”
With Ajax, Bulykin had a glorious competition debut by scoring in the closing phase in the PSV match, ensuring the team of one point: 2-2. He’s not indifferent to this. “When you’re new to a club, you want to make a good impression straight away”, says the fifteen time international. “For a forward, that means scoring. Especially, it gives you confidence and you’re accepted more quickly when you score.”
Despite Bulykin’s impressive statistics, but the Euroborg brought him less good fortune the previous year. With ADO, the strong forward stuttered no fewer than five times against FC Groningen, three times up north. “Besides the competition match (3-1 loss), we had lost the cup on penalties, but had won the play-offs despite a 5-1 loss. Those were bizarre matches. The only time I scored was during the penalty kicks in the cup match.”
Four months after qualifying for European football with ADO in Groningen, Bulykin returns to the Euroborg on Sunday with Ajax. “It’s a nice stadium, but it’s much nicer to be cheered on by your own supporters. That gives you strength.”
The East European realises that a difficult road lies ahead. Especially since he knows from experience how motivated clubs from just under the top are when they face Ajax at kick off. “Ajax is the club, and everyone wants to give one hundred per cent against Ajax. That makes it hard for us, but if you look at the relative strengths, we should be able to beat Groningen.”