Ajax host Czech side FK Jablonec in the first leg of their Europa League play-off on Thursday as they look to put their Champions League exit behind them.

ajax euroTwo weeks ago Ajax were ousted from the Champions League after a shock 3-2 defeat to Austrian side Rapid Vienna at the Amsterdam Arena, meaning for the first time in four years, Frank de Boer’s side will not compete in Europe’s most prestigious competition. However Ajax’s young side still have the chance to impress in the Europa League this season, but standing between them and the group stages is FK Jablonec, who finished third in the Czech league last season.

Ajax have made a perfect start to their Eredivisie campaign, with two wins from two, six goals scored and none conceded, but De Boer’s players now need to take this form into Europe, and the coach has challenged his player’s to forget about fancy football and get the job done.

De Boer said, “We need the players to bring into their minds that it sometimes must be ugly. Attractive football is important, but the result is holy. We have to find a nice combination. ”

Viktor Fischer has been included in the squad after missing the two opening Eredivisie matches, but striker Yaya Sanogo misses out after picking up a knock playing for the reserves on Monday. It is likely that De Boer will stick with the same line-up that beat Willem II on Saturday.

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

Jablonec have never got past the Europa League play-off round in their three previous attempts, but they have already shocked Danish giants FC Copenhagen in this years competition. However Jaroslav Silhavy’s side have started their league campaign poorly, with only one win in their opening four games, and they currently sit 9th.

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

Its a worrying time for Dutch football sides in Europe with Netherlands expected to drop to 16th in the coefficient rankings, behind Greece, Romania and Croatia, but this could improve should Ajax, PSV, Groningen and AZ do well this season. Jablonec are an experienced and physical team that will cause Ajax some problems, but the Dutch side should be too strong if they can continue their form shown in the Eredivisie.

A good performance and clean sheet should settle the tie going into the second leg next week.

Predicted scoreline: Ajax 2-0 Jablonec.




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