After an all-round impressive season last time out, Ajax will be hoping they can have another successful year in the Champions League. But first, they will need to beat Apoel Nicosia in the Champions League Play-Offs. Apoel do not have a long or very successful history in the Champions League, but their best performance came in 2011/12 when they made it to the group stages. Last season, the Dutch side made it to the semi-finals against all odds before losing to Tottenham Hotspur over two legs.
The odds are stacked against Apoel Nicosia in this fixture, but they arrive at their home ground on Tuesday having won three of their last four games, alongside one defeat. The first of their four fixtures saw them face FK Sutjeska in the first leg of their Champions League qualifier and after 90 minutes they secured a 1-0 win. Then came their second leg and a dominant 90 minutes of football saw them ease to a 3-0 victory. Qarabag FK was the next side to stand in their way in the Champions League Qualifying Rounds and after the two legs, Apoel won 3-2 on aggregate.
Ajax will be feeling confident that they can easily get the better of their upcoming opponents, especially in their current form which has seen them go four games without a defeat. Vitesse were the opponents for their opening game of the Dutch season and after 90 minutes the two could not be separated, as the final score ended 2-2. Next up, the Dutch side faced PAOK in the Third Qualifying Round of the Champions League and after drawing 2-2 in the first leg, Ajax went onto win 3-2 in the following leg. Between these European fixtures, Ajax faced FC Emmen, who they beat 5-0.
Andrija Pavlović bagged himself a hat-trick against FK Sutjeska and should be involved for the hosts on Tuesday night. Tomás De Vincenti has also put on some strong displays out on the left of his side’s front three, adding two early goals to his tally, so you can also expect to see him amongst the starting XI.
Ajax have been weakened greatly by the departures of Matthijs De Light and Frenkie De Jong, but they will arrive high in confidence ahead of this European fixture. The Dutch side should stick with their preferred 4-3-3 layout on Tuesday, with Hamkim Ziyech, Dusan Tadic and David Neres making up a talented front three. Donny van de Beek should also start in midfield.
Despite holding the home advantage, Apoel Nicosia look set to suffer a defeat in this one as they come up against a hugely confident Ajax outfit. The hosts can be backed to win for 5.25, while their opponents sit at 1.53. With the far better side, we are expecting Ajax to run away with both halves of this fixture. Also, we are backing the Dutch side to add multiple goals to their tally with Dusan Tadic expected to get on the scoresheet.