Ajax begin their Europa league group campaign with a trip to Greece to face Panathinaikos. 

viergev-aja-winAfter losing out to Rostov in the play-offs for the Champions League, Ajax have to make do with another season in the Europa League, a competition that the Amsterdam club have found no joy in for the past few years. Last season, Frank de Boer’s side were pitiful in the competition and exited in the group stage after only one victory in a group that contained Fenerbahce, Celtic and Norwegian side Molde.

Peter Bosz is now in charge of the club and will look to turn around their fortunes in Europe, but they have found themselves in a tricky group that contains Panathinaikos, Standard Liege and Spanish side Celta Vigo. First up is a trip to Greece, and Ajax go into the game on the back of an unconvincing 1-0 win over ten-man Vitesse, which continued a shaky start to the season for the club, although they sit 3rd in the Eredivisie

Opponents Panathinaikos, who finished third in the Greek Super league last season, only began their league campaign at the weekend, but looked in good form with a 3-0 win over Levadiakos. They reached the Europa League group stage after seeing off Omonia Nicosia and Brondby in the qualifiers, but have not made it out of the competitions group stages since 2010.

Team News

Bertrand Traore is a doubt for the game having come off injured in the tie with Vitesse, meaning Kasper Dolberg could be handed the start up front. Riechedly Bazoer and Kenny Tete will be hoping to be involved having been left on the bench against Vitesse, while Hakim Ziyech could make his Europa League debut with the club.

Possible Ajax line-up: Onana, Tete, Dijks, Sanchez, Veltman, Riedewald, Gudelj, Klaassen, Ziyech, Younes, Dolberg

Midfielder Christian Ledesma is an injury doubt for Panathinaikos after suffering from stomach issues, while defender Giorgos Koutroumbis could also miss out. Former PSV striker Marcus Berg should begin up front.

Possible Panathinaikos line-up: Steele, Mesto, Hult, Ivanov, Koutroumbis, Ledesma, Zeca, Ibarbo, Wakaso, Lod, Berg

Key players

Davy Klaassen

The Ajax midfielder has begun the season in spectacular form having netted eight goals in nine games so far, including four in the qualifiers for the Champions League. Klaassen is the captain of Bosz’s side and leads from example, often dictating the play from the midfield, while getting forward to create or score.

Marcus Berg

The former PSV man scored a spectacular goal for Sweden against Netherlands last week and will now be looking to damage another Dutch side. The striker has netted three times in the competition already this season and will be the Greek sides biggest threat going forward.

Odds

Panathinaikos: 7/5 Draw: 11/5 Ajax: 21/10




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