Ajax head to France for the first leg of their Europa League clash with Lille on Thursday. The kick-off is at 8pm GMT.

Ajax are once again looking to go far in the Europa League after disappointingly dropping out of the Champions League. They finished third behind Liverpool and Atalanta.

However, Erik ten Hag’s side go into the clash against Lille in great form, having won eight games on the bounce and they are six points clear at the top of the Eredivisie with a game in hand.

Opponents Lille, though, have been a revelation this season and they sit top of Ligue 1. They also reached the last 32 of this competition by topping a group that featured AC Milan, Celtic and Sparta Prague.

Ajax warmed up for the game with a 2-0 victory against Heracles Almelo, while Lille drew 0-0 against Brest.

Ajax and Lille clashed during the Champions League group stages last season, with Ajax winning both ties, 3-0 at home and 2-0 away.

Team News

Ajax are without the suspended Ryan Gravenberch for the tie, while Andre Onana and Sebastien Haller are also out. Onana is suspended for a year for a doping violation while Haller was left out of Ajax’s squad by mistake. Noussair Mazraoui is also unfit.

Ten Hag may now decide to revert to starting with Dusan Tadic up front, while Mohamed Kudus may make his comeback in midfield.

Possible Ajax line-up: Stekelenburg, Rensch, Tagliafico, Timber, Blind, Alvarez, Kudus, Klaassen, Neres, Antony, Tadic

Lille are without suspended midfielders Xeka and Benjamin Andre, while Burak Yilmaz is a doubt.

Sven Botman was rested at the weekend and will come back into the eleven to face his former side.

Possible Lille line-up: Maignan; Celik, Fonte, Botman, Bradaric; Ikone, Soumare, Sanches, Bamba; David, Yazici

Odds

Lille 13/8 Draw 12/5 Ajax 17/10

Can Ajax get a good result against Lille?

Lille have been incredible this season, especially in defence and they have not conceded a goal in their last six games. They got into Thursday’s clash full of confidence and Ajax is in for a tough evening.

Ten Hag’s side have been in great goalscoring form this season but the loss of Haller and Gravenberch for the first leg is a blow.

Lille will be organised and look to pick Ajax off, so Daley Blind and Jurrien Timber will need to be on top form to keep the dangerous Yacizi out. At the other end, Tadic and Antony will need to take any chances they can create.

A score draw would be a great result for Ajax to take back to Amsterdam.

Listen to our podcast previewing the game here.




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