Ajax will look to book their place in the Europa League group stages when they take on Jablonec in the second leg of their play-off on Thursday.

milik jablFrank de Boer’s side takes a slender 1-0 lead to the Czech Republic after Arkaduisz Milik’s penalty in Amsterdam last week, but Jablonec were unlucky not to score an away goal after creating a number of chances.

With the Eredivisie’s coefficient sliding and the chance of the champions no longer being assured a place in the Champions League, De Boer has stated his belief that Ajax need to qualify for the good of Dutch football.

De Boer told a press conference, “We must ensure that we move forward. That is terribly important for Dutch football.”

“For our talented players, it is also important. They learn by playing matches against other cultures. That makes you better. They must remain in that pattern. Because if we can not qualify this year, they lose a year in their development. ”

Domestically Ajax kept up their strong start to their season on Sunday with a 2-0 win over NEC Nijmegen to keep up their 100% start, and their third straight clean sheet. De Boer rested Kenny Tete and Daley Sinkgraven for the tie and it remains to be seen whether the duo will return to the starting line-up.

Possible Ajax line-up: Cillessen, Tete, Dijks, Riedewald, Veltman, Bazoer, Gudelj, Klaassen, Schone, El Ghazi, Milik

Jablonec also had a good result in the Czech league at the weekend, beating Zbrojovka Brno 3-0 to lift them up to fifth in the table.

Possible Jablonec line-up: Hruby, Karavaev, Benes, Novak, Pernica, Crnkic, Hubschman, Mingazow, Gregus, Pospisil, Wagner

De Boer stated his intention for his Ajax side to attack Jablonec in the second leg, and an early away goal for the Amsterdammers should kill off the tie. However Ajax will need to remember what happened in the second leg against Rapid Vienna three weeks ago, and guard against complacency at the back.

Ajax’s progress is hugely important for Dutch football, and De Boer’s side need to make sure they are at their best on Thursday or it may be too late to recover the nations Coefficient this season. A draw would be good enough.

Prediction: Jablonec 1-1 Ajax




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