Two of European football’s biggest names meet in Champions League Qualifying on Wednesday with Ajax and Nice facing off once more to try and qualify for Europe’s elite footballing competition. Last week’s 1-1 draw in the South of France has whet the appetite for what promises to be one of the best matches of the competition so far.
UEFA Champions League Qualifier (Round 3) – Ajax vs Nice (2nd Leg) – 02/08/17.
Kick off 19:45 GMT
Aggregate Score 1-1
- Ajax – Best Odds 4/6 (Match Winner)
- Nice – Best Odds 4/1(Match Winner)
- Draw – Best Odds 11/4
The Dutch giants are in a transitional period once again. After the departure of their talismanic manager Frank de Boer in 2016, Peter Bosz did a fantastic job last season, particularly in European football, leading his troops to the final of the Europa League and those achievements have landed him the Borussia Dortmund job.
Marcel Keizer is the new man at the helm and he’ll be keen to continue the progress made under Bosz in European football and will see the Champions League as the perfect chance of do that.
The departure of Davy Klassen to Everton in the summer will take some adjusting to, as his creative influence on the team was massive. Their pre-season hasn’t given us much to go off either with not much happening both on and off the pitch. One win, two draws and two losses from five club friendlies plus last week’s draw in Nice, suggest Keizer is still searching for his best team and formation.
The Ajax contingent will be hoping results and signings will improve as their only real acquisition of note is former academy graduate Klass-Jan Huntelaar, who has returned to his boyhood club.
With plenty to play for after last week’s draw, will the Dutch heavyweights come good at the Amsterdam Arena on Wednesday night?
The men from the south of France meanwhile, with four wins from five and averaging 2.6 goals scored per match in pre-season will be ready to embrace the challenge ahead.
The French side have continued to impress, despite losing two key players since the end of last season – both Ricardo Pereira and Younes Belhanda have returned to their clubs after loan spells. The arrival of Pierre Lees Melou from Dijon, also signals their intention to build on their impressive 3rd place finish in Ligue 1 last season as they look to be joining their French counterparts Monaco & PSG by operating in Europe’s premier competition.
Nice’s forward line however, has taken a major blow ahead of the tie on Wednesday. The infamous Mario Balotelli, who opened the scoring in the first leg, has looked as if he’s heading back to his best but finds himself sidelined after picking up a hamstring injury during the 1st leg. They’ll need last season’s 2nd top scorer, Alassane Plea (11 goals), who was benched for the 1st leg, to fill the role left by the Italian.
Despite conceding the away goal in the second half of the first leg, the Frenchmen travel to Amsterdam knowing they are capable of causing problems of their own and will try to upset the Dutchmen in their own back yard.
Head to Head
Due to the history of both of these sides in European competition, their head to head records perhaps don’t mean too much in the context of this tie.
Last Wednesday’s first leg (a 1-1 draw) was the first ever competitive meeting between Nice and Ajax.
With the huge amount at stake for both teams, Wednesday’s result promises to have a huge impact on Ajax’s and Nice’s season(s).
Odds and Predictions
Ajax are the heavy favourites for this tie due to their European calibre and recent history in both the Europa League & Champions League. Sporting Bet have Ajax best priced at 3/4 whilst Nice seemingly have it all to do at 4/1 with Betway. The draw is priced at 11/4 with Bet 365.
Champions League ties, no matter what stage of the completion are generally cagey affairs due to the quality of team on display. As a result the ‘To Qualify’ bet could be a good move – especially with most bets taking place in the 90 minute market.
Ajax perhaps don’t represent great value at 2/5 with Ladbrokes. Nice will be hoping to make the game go the distance and frustrate Ajax and if things go to plan for them could well be a good bet at 2/1 with Betway to progress.
The ‘Draw no Bet’ market also offers a chance to back Ajax at odds of 1/3 or Nice at 14/5, with the security of receiving your money back if the game finishes level after 90 minutes
Second let’s are normally last chance saloons for teams so with the stacking prowess on display, goals could perhaps be expected. Nice have to score to go through which should open the game up and encourage a more attacking approach from both teams.
Over 2.5 goals in the match (90 minutes) at 4/5 (Ladbrokes) looks a shrewd move – particularly if one team scores early. Both Teams To Score could also be an attractive proposition – with both teams having found the net in the first leg – 8/11 with Sky Bet could be worth pursuing.
Picking the correct score is never easy but can often generate the more lucrative odds. Taking into account the attacking prowess of both teams and the need (from Nice particularly) to score a 2-1 result could be a good bet. Ajax are 8/1 to emerge 2-1 winners whilst Nice are 15/1 to emerge 2-1 victors.
Top Betting Tip
Our top betting tip for this match for over 2.5 goals in the match (90 minute betting) at odds of 4/5 with Ladbrokes.