Ajax face a tricky tie at home to APOEL Nicosia if they are to make it through to the group stage of this season’s Champions League. Last season’s semi-finalists drew 0-0 in Cyprus last week in the first leg, leaving them without the security of an away goal on Wednesday night. Erik Ten Hag knows that a goal for the visitors will leave his side needing to score one more. Their performance in the first leg, which saw them dominate possession but fail to find a breakthrough, will have given him cause for concern.
However, Ajax won the tie in second leg against PAOK in the last round, while they did the same against Real Madrid and Juventus in the knock-out stages last season. They will have to manage without defender Noussair Mazraoui, who was sent off with ten minutes remaining in the first leg.
APOEL Nicosia are seeking to return to the group phase after they missed out in the 2018/19 season. They have lost one of their five qualifiers so far this season, but have won both away from home. Doing it for a third time would be a remarkable achievement.
Including qualifiers, Ajax have only lost two of their last 20 games in the Champions League. The Dutch outfit won the league and cup double last season, and were within seconds of reaching the final of this competition. APOEL, meanwhile, have a poor history in the qualifiers. Although they have won their last two on their travels, they had lost five of the previous eight away from home. Back an Ajax Win at odds of 1.18.
There have been Over 2.5 Goals scored in five of Ajax’s seven matches so far this season. Seven of their last ten games in the Champions League have also seen at least three goals scored (including qualifiers). Odds of 1.40 are available for Over 2.5 Goals.
Dusan Tadic has started the season in fine form, scoring in four of Ajax’s seven games so far. The Serbian forward was at the double in the home leg against PAOK, and you can bet on him as Anytime Scorer at odds of 1.70.
Ajax will miss the services of Mazraoui, while summer signing Quincy Promes will be absent through injury.
There are no fresh injury concerns for APOEL, leaving manager Paolo Tramezzani with an almost full squad available for selection.
Ajax: Onana, Veltman, Martinez, Alvarez, Tagliafico, Marin, Blind, Ziyech, van de Beek, Neres, Tadic
APOEL: Belec, Mihajlovic, Merkis, Ioannou, Joaozinho, Souza, Gentsoglou, Al Taamari, Bezjak, Matic, Pavlovic