Searching for their first win in the Europa League group stages, Ajax travel to Istanbul on Thursday to face Fenerbahce.

ajax euroAjax currently sit atop of the Eredivisie, but in the Europa League Frank de Boer’s side have been disappointing. After being held at home to Celtic in match-day one, the Amsterdam side then missed several guilt edged chances in another draw against Norwegian side Molde.

To reach the knock-out stages Ajax will need to start picking up three points, and they will hope that begins on Thursday when the face Fenerbahce, who currently sit bottom of the group after picking up only one point so far.

However the Turkish side have a host of top quality players, including Netherlands captain Robin van Persie, Simon Kjaer, and on loan Liverpool winger Luka Markovic, and they will be hoping to go far in the competition after missing out on the Champions League.

Both sides warmed up for the tie with wins domestically as Ajax saw off high flying Heracles 2-0 in Almelo, while a Van Persie free-kick was enough for Fenerbahce to beat Kayserispor 1-0.

Team News

Frank de Boer has been boosted by the return of Jasper Cillessen to the squad, but he will be without striker Arkaduisz Milik through injury. The coach revealed in his press conference that Ricardo van Rhijn will come in for Kenny Tete at right back, while after impressing through the middle against Heracles at the weekend, Anwar El Ghazi will once again start in the striker role.

Possible Ajax line-up: Cillessen, Van Rhijn, Dijks, Veltman, Riedewald, Bazoer, Gudelj, Klaassen, Fischer, Schone, El Ghazi

Fenerbahce face bitter rivals Galatasaray at the weekend and it remains to be seen whether coach Vito Pereira will decide to rest players ahead of that match. Nani is set to miss the match after suffering injury at the weekend, while Ex-Feyenoord star Robin van Persie will be itching to start against the side from his nation though, especially with Barcelona scouts rumoured to be watching him.

Possible Fenerbahce line-up: Fabiano, Ozbayrakli, Kaldirim, Kjaer, Ba, Topal, Souza, Diego, Markovic, Fernandao, Van Persie

Head to Head

The two sides have only met once before which was during the 1968/69 UEFA Cup, with Rinus Michel’s Ajax running out 2-0 winners both home and away.

Ajax have an impressive record against Turkish sides, having won all eight of their previous matches. However their last encounter with a Turkish side was back in 1993.

Fenerbahce have lost nine of their 16 encounters with Dutch teams, with four of those defeats coming in Istanbul.

 Odds

Fenerbahce: 23/20 Draw: 13/5 Ajax 5/2




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