The 2017/18 UEFA Europa League has reached the final play-off stage and plenty of big clubs have entered the competition. One of those clubs is Ajax Amsterdam, the team who finished the 2016/17 Europa League as runners-up. They lost the final 2-0 to Manchester United and not only did they see the trophy slip away, their automatic Champions League group stage place went with it.
Ajax have been drawn to play Rosenborg, another team who would have been hoping to play in the group stages of the Champions League this season. However, a loss to Celtic in the third qualifying round of the Champions League saw Rosenborg eliminated from the tournament and drop into the Europa League playoffs. The Norwegian’s would have hoped for a much easier draw than the one they received.
Having started the season in the Champions League third qualifying round, Ajax were hoping to be playing on the biggest stage in Europe this season. Despite not losing either leg of their tie with Nice, Ajax went out of the competition on away goals, having conceded 2 at home only scoring 1 away. The tie finished 3-3 on aggregate and this saw Ajax knocked out of the tournament.
Things didn’t go well in the Eredivisie on the weekend either as they lost their first game of the season at Heracles. Ajax took the lead in the second half but allowed their opponents back into the match and Heracles scored a late winner. The crumb of comfort for Ajax is their home record and they are undefeated in their last 24 home games in all competitions.
The Norwegian’s were eliminated from the Champions League at the third qualifying round stage by Celtic. Despite putting in a solid display in both legs of the tie, Celtic came through by winning the away leg 1-0 having been held 0-0 at home. Having drawn in Scotland 0-0, Rosenborg will feel they wasted a chance at home to progress.
Domestically Rosenborg are doing well, they are top of the Eliteserien by 7 points having played 19 games and have tasted only 2 defeats. They have lost only 1 of their last 17 competitive away matches, including the draw with Celtic in the Champions League.
Ajax could be without defender Davinson Sanchez who appears on the verge of a move to Tottenham Hotspur. There are also doubts over Indy Groothuizen, Abdelhak Nouri, Mateusz Gorski and Norbert Alblas. Rosenborg can welcome back Magnus Stamnestro who has been out with a knee injury but may have to do without Andreas Helmersen, Tore Reginiussen and Pal Andre Helland.
Top Betting Tips
Rosenborg have a good recent away record but have lost each of their last 3 away matches in the Europa League. With Ajax so strong at home, the hosts are expected to win and can be backed at 5/18 with Ladbrokes. Scoring goals has been a feature of Ajax’s play at home and they have scored 2 goals or more in 16 of their last 17 competitive home matches. Ladbrokes offer 3/1 for Ajax to win the match by 2 goals. Finally, Ajax have won 5 of their last 7 home Europa League games without conceding a goal. Ajax are Evens with Ladbrokes to win the game to nil.