EUROPA LEAGUE: Ajax – Young Boys: Spearmen are big favorites

EUROPA LEAGUE: Ajax – Young Boys: Spearmen are big favorites

Today at the Johan Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam, Ajax – Young Boys meet in the 1/8 final of the Europa League where the Spearmen are big favorites, both in this first round at home and in qualifying for the quarterfinals. However, the Swiss showed in the previous round that they are capable of big surprises.

Ajax is one of the fittest teams in Europe at the moment, unbeaten in 2021. Of the 15 matches this year, the Amsterdam team won 13 and drew in two more. The only ones who posed real problems for the Dutch leader were only PSV’s rivals. They opposed Ajax’s victory in the first round of the Eredivisie after the short winter break and, recently, at the end of February, in return.

PSV led Ajax 2-0 in the first game, but ended 2-2, and in the second they were 1-0 up in extra time, when Tadic equalized. penalty. In the standings, however, the difference between the two remains large - six points with one game less for the "spearmen". In the Europa League, a competition in which he relegated from the Champions League, where he suffered his last defeat (a 0-1 at home to Atalanta, in the decisive match for second place in the group won by Liverpool), Ajax overcame a complicated opponent in the first round, Lille, after a "double" 2-1.

For the first game with Young Boys, Erik ten Hag is preparing to line up his best. There are some problems on the defensive, where Noussair Mazraoui and Daley Blind are uncertain. Absent, however, are goalkeeper Andre Onana, suspended for doping, and Sebastien Haller, the striker who was not included in the list sent to UEFA due to an administrative error.

After eight consecutive victories, including the two with Bayer Leverkusen in the first qualifying round of the Europa League, for Young Boys came three consecutive draws, all in the domestic championship. The Bern team finished level with Luzern, Basel and Vaduz, but the points lost in these games do not affect Gerardo Seoane’s team too much, which keeps a 19-point lead over second place, Servette, with 12 stages left until the end.

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With the title almost assured, Young Boys can focus almost exclusively on the Europa League. However, he was close to elimination in groups, when he defended his second place after a dramatic match, in December, with CFR Cluj, in Bern. YB also lived dangerously with Leverkusen, almost a month ago, when, in the home game, they led 3-0, they were tied, to win in the end with 4-3. On BayArena, however, the Swiss produced one of the big surprises, winning 2-0.

In Amsterdam, Seoane may not be able to rely on the starting goalkeeper. David von Ballmoos suffered a concussion during the match with Vaduz, over the weekend and was replaced by reserve Guillaume Favre, who could be in goal on Thursday. Esteban Petignat and Christopher Martins are also missing due to medical problems.


Prediction: Ajax Amsterdam to win

On the back of their win over Leverkusen, Young Boys will have Ajax’s respect ahead of this contest. With that in mind, we expect the home side to raise their level, outclassing their Swiss foes ahead of the reverse fixture next week.

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