Ajax makes its comeback on the highest European stage on Wednesday-evening. The expectations in Amsterdam are high. Can the team of Erik ten Hag impress, in the first game against the Greek AEK Athens?
The club from Amsterdam has been working on its European season for a while. Ajax already entered the second heat. In the preliminaries there was successively settled with Sturm Graz, Standard Liège and Dinamo Kiev. The way in which this happened has created trust, although there are now opponents of a different caliber, with Benfica and FC Bayern. It is clear that if you want to hibernate, the matches against AEK have to deliver six points.
Ajax took those six points in AEK’s past. In the 1994-1995 glory season, when the team from Amsterdam won the CL, they also faced AEK in the group stage. The shape of the current Ajax is still good. For example, FC Groningen won 3-0 on Saturday. Again the zero was held, for the fourth time in a row. Defensive stability will come in handy in Europe, starting Wednesday against AEK Athens. A number of players who are absent for a long time are close to their return. In the basic ten of Ten Hag, there will be little change for Wednesday.
AEK Athene is back in the group stage of the Champions League after twelve years. The club had a few meager years, even relegated, but last year became the national champion of Greece – the first title in 24 years. Last season AEK also came into action internationally. In the Europa League, the Greeks played a curious season. In the group phase, AEK played an equal five times. That turned out to be enough for overwintering. In the sixteenth final the team again played twice right. Against Dinamo Kiev, they were eliminated at goals (0-0, 1-1).
Just like Ajax, AEK also had to play through a few preliminaries to reach the lucrative main tournament. AEK calculated with Celtic and the Hungarian Mol Vidi. The national champion also started well in the Greek league. After three games, the team of coach Marinos Ouzounidis is still without point loss and goals. Last weekend AEK calculated on its own pitch with fellow countryman Panionios (4-0).
PREDICTION: Ajax to win @ 1.38