FINAL Preview & Poll And then there were two. Zikry is no stranger to Cup Finals- this will be his fifth trip, and he holds a 2-1 record (with 1 unplayed game) in the Finals. snake3249 will be the newest challenger to the throne, as the Serie B leader hopes this will only be one of two titles the club wins this season. But with both teams on fire and defeating opponents with ease recently, which side will come out on top? (Zikry) AJAX ~ SAO PAULO (snake3249) Road to the FinalFirst, let's run through how each team has fared this season and their path to the Final. Ajax Serie A: Finished 2nd Place, 15-4-3, 39 GF, 16 GA, +23 GD, 49 points Coppa Group C: 1st Place, D 1-1 vs. VfB Stuttgart, W 4-1 vs. Everton, W 1-0 vs. Olympiakos Coppa Round of 16: W 2-0 vs. SC Braga Coppa Quarterfinals: W 2-1 vs. Dinamo Moscow Coppa Semifinals: W 2-1 vs. Werder Bremen Talk about peaking at the wrong time. Just when Zikry finally got a hold on Ajax, it was too late. Spartak Moscow's dominating start shot them to the top of table early, and even some hiccups near the finish line couldn't derail their title. The 2nd place finish was the second time Zikry has finished Serie A in 2nd place, with 2 other 3rd place finishes. Had Ajax had this type of performance just about any other season, they could very well had been Serie A champions. Ajax sure made this season interesting in the end though, and will certainly be a contender for Season 7. But once Zikry was able to get a feel for Ajax, his defense took over and returned to the FIFA 11 form that made Zikry a defensive stalwart. Ajax allowed just 16 goals this season (down from 38 for Aston Villa a season ago), making for a Serie A-low of just 0.73 goals against per game. Along with 1.77 goals for per game (3rd-highest in Serie A), Ajax quickly became a force on both ends of the pitch. As for the Coppa, manager Zikry finally missed out on his first trip to the Final back in Season 5. With a new team, Zikry quickly got back in fine form. Ajax's Coppa run started with an early bump in the road, as the Dutch side drew with VfB Stuttgart 1-1. But after a couple of wins following that match, Ajax won Group C. Ajax then took down SC Braga 2-0, before defeating threats Dinamo Moscow and Werder Bremen by 1 goal each. Ajax sat in first place in Serie A just before Spartak Moscow won their final match, and they won't be content with another 2nd place finish here. Sao Paulo Serie B: Currently 1st Place, 10-2-4, 37 GF, 22 GA, +15 GD, 32 points Coppa Group F: 1st Place, W 5-1 vs. QPR, W 2-0 vs. Stoke City, W 3-1 vs. West Brom Coppa Round of 16: W 2-0 vs. Parma Coppa Quarterfinals: W 2-0 vs. B.M'gladbach Coppa Semifinals: W 4-1 vs. Flamengo Back in Season 3, snake3249 finished in the middle of the table with Stade Rennes in Serie A. But after skipping out on Seasons 4 & 5, he finally returned this season with Sao Paulo. But despite playing in Serie B this season, there was no loss in form. Instead, snake3249 flourished with Sao Paulo, as he currently leads Serie B with 32 points. With one game remaining, Sao Paulo is guranteed a top-3 finish, leaving the club in a position for promotion to Serie A. But while Ajax is a defensive force, Sao Paulo is a goal-scoring machine. Sao Paulo leads Serie B with 37 goals scored, avergaing 2.31 per game. The Brazilian club is also tied for the most goals scored in the Coppa with 18 after 6 games. And along with all of this offensive prowess, a steady defense has made Sao Paulo a force to be reckon with. Sao Paulo swept Group F to start out their Coppa run, winning each match by at least 2 goals. Then after knocking out Serie B-rival Parma and two Serie A clubs in B. M'gladbach and Flamengo, the club still continued its streak of winning by 2+ goals each game. A 2-goal win will be tough in the Final, let alone just winning by 1. And while we've seen strong Serie B clubs reach the Final before, history isn't on Sao Paulo's side. Serie B clubs are 0-3 in Cup Finals, with all 3 predecessors having been Serie B champions. Will Sao Paulo be the first Serie B club to break through the barrier, or will they simply be another stepping stone for Ajax? Match AnalysisNext, we'll go through the clubs position-by-position to see where each team holds the advantage. GoalkeepersAjax: Kenneth VermeerSao Paulo: Rogerio CeniKenneth Vermeer may not have the best ability of all keepers in the Serie leagues, but he gets the job done efficiently. Vermeer leads Serie A with 13 clean sheets in 22 games, but that may be more of a credit to the defensive line in front of him than his own keeper abilites. Vermeer's strongest suit is reflexes, and he'll need to be mentally sharp in this one. The old vet Rogerio Ceni is one of Brazil's finest, having been at Sao Paulo since 1993. The keeper has over 100 career goals scored, but goals against is where he still has his way. With outstanding diving and positiong traits, it'll be tough for Ajax to slip one past the wily vet. Advantage: Sao Paulo DefendersAjax: Gregory van der Wiel, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Vurnon AnitaSao Paulo: Ivan Piris, Joao Filipe, Rhodolfo, Bruno CortezOf all the positonal matchups, this may be the most lopsided one. Gregory van der Wiel is a Dutch national team regular, while Alderweireld and Vertonghen also have plenty of international caps for their native Belgium. Add in Ajax-lifer Vurnon Anita, and any of the Ajax defenders would be an upgrade over their Sao Paulo counterprts. Ivan Piris and Bruno Cortez have decent speed on the outside, which will be needed to defend Ajax's 4-3-3 style. 6'4'' center back Rhodolfo will be needed to head away any crosses. But the differences in the overall abilites of each backline are clearly visible when looking at each team's goals against. Ajax allowed just 0.73 goals against per game, and with Vermeer being nothing too special in net, it's been primarily the defensive four of Ajax leading the charge. By forcing tough shots, Ajax has been able to keep quality shots away from ever reaching the net. Sao Paulo hasn't been quite as stingy on defense, averaging a pedestrian 1.35 goals against per game in a lower league. Sao Paulo's back four may ultimately lead to the demise of the Brazilian club in this one, as Ajax will be ready to capitalize off of any mistake. Advantage: Ajax MidfieldersAjax: Christian Eriksen, Eyong Enoh, Theo JanssenSao Paulo: Casemiro, Cicero, Jadson, LucasChristian Eriksen leads the way for the Ajax midfield. Eriksen has not only played a large role for the club in terms of goals and assists, but his chemistry with RW Jody Lukoki is key to Ajax's attack. Along with Theo Janssen opposite him on the pitch, and Ajax has two midfielders who fit perfectly into the club's offensive scheme. Eyong Enoh isn't the best defensive midfielder around, but with a steady back four, Enoh has the ability to roam more freely in taking down defenders and stealing the ball. Sao Paulo's defensive mid, Casemiro, is much more important to his side's defense. Casemiro will be needed for help often, and his role in spoiling any oncoming attack could set up a dangerous counter-attack. Cicero and Jadson add plenty of ability on the outside of the midfield, with both attack-minded midfielders being key in advancing the ball to Sao Paulo's potent attackers. And don't forget Lucas, the man about to cash in with PSG. Lucas is perhaps the most vital piece to Sao Paulo, as he is in a position to set up goals and is 2nd on the team this season in goals, ahead of starting striker Fernandinho. It's a close call in the midfield between the two clubs, so I'll go with the better talent. And that's Lucas and Jadson manning the midfield for the Brazilian club. Advantage: Sao Paulo ForwardsAjax: Jody Lukoki, Siem de Jong, Miralem SulejmaniSao Paulo: Fernandinho, Luis FabianoAjax loves to burn speed on the outside, and that's exactly what they have with Lukoki and Sulejmani. Target man Siem de Jong has been in fine form recently, as the 6'1'' striker has strong heading ability, complementing Lukoki and Sulejmani well. de Jong is 3rd in Serie A in goals, and will likely need another here to get Ajax the win. de Jong does have his weaknesses though, as he's far from being the best finisher around. Instead, that'd be Luis Fabiano. Fabiano has been the main force behind Sao Paulo's offensive explosion this season. The club averages 2.35 goals per game in Serie B, with Luis Fabiano leading the league with 18 goals. He's also already shattered the Coppa record with 10 goals, and doesn't appear to be slowing down anytime soon. Fabiano will likely be the best player on the pitch, and his work alongside Fernandinho will make or break Sao Paulo. Fernandinho is always dangerous too though, as his speed and agility could cause headaches for defenders. Ajax has a strong trio up front, but it's not better than Luis Fabiano. Advantage: Sao Paulo Past MatchupsWhile Zikry has spent all 6 seasons in Serie A, snake3249 has only seen one season in Serie A. That was back in Season 3, the first season played on FIFA 12. The two have never previously met in the Coppa, meaning their only previous matchups were in the Season 3 Serie A season:Season 3 Serie A, Matchday 7: Stade Rennes (snake3249) 1, Aston Villa (Zikry) 1Season 3 Serie A, Matchday 18: Aston Villa (Zikry) 3, Stade Rennes (snake3249) 0Overall: Zikry 1-1-0 snake3249So what do these matches tell us? Not much really. Both managers were using different teams and the two matches were played back in October and November of last year. With such a long break between now and these previous matches, expect the two managers to be unfamiliar with each other at first. PredictionFirst off, make sure to vote in the poll here in this thread and feel free to post below with a predicted score or any other tidbits as well. Looking at the matchups above, I did give Sao Paulo 3/4 categories. But let's not forget, offense wins games, but defense wins championships. Ajax will be hungry to come away with some sort of silverware after a fantastic season, and his defense might just be too much, even for Luis Fabiano & co. That's why I'm going with... Ajax 3-1 Good luck to you both!