Ajax vs FC Copenhagen Prediction, Preview, Lineups & Betting Tips 16.03.2017
Ajax left Danish capital Copenhagen with a 2-1 defeat after first leg of their 2016-17 UEFA Europa League round of 16 tie. One week later “Amsterdam ArenA” in Dutch capital is set to host the second and decisive encounter, where despite losing in Denmark situation does not seem to be like an insurmountable obstacle. Goals scored by winger Rasmus Falk Jensen and striker Andreas Cornelius secure the lead to FC Copenhagen so they will be pleased even on a draw, while Ajax keeps its hope alive thanks to a goal scored by young Danish talent Kasper Dolberg.
H2H Stats – Ajax vs FC Copenhagen: Danish champions can be delighted and even inspired by their previous results against Ajax as FC Copenhagen holds a positive record of three wins, one draw and only one defeat. Furthermore, “Lions” from Copenhagen were winners in their previous two trips to Amsterdam – respectively in 2001 and 2006.
Last week’s fixture between both clubs was their first one after a Champions League qualifier in August 2006. Back then the Danes were once again led by Ståle Solbakken and after a victory (1-2) for Ajax in Denmark, FC Copenhagen won 0-2 in Amsterdam with a goal of Michael Silberbauer, as well as an own goal by Thomas Vermaelen.
That match-up has been preceded by another two-legged tie when Ajax and FC Copenhagen met in 2nd round of the 2001-02 UEFA Cup, predecessor of the UEFA Europa League. After a goalless draw on Danish turf, Copenhagen won 0-1 in Amsterdam and this basically means Ajax still seeks first goal over FCK in the Netherlands.
Europa League: Ajax vs FC Copenhagen 16.03.2017
Ajax relies on its home advantage and fact that Dutch vice-champions are unbeaten in ten European home games – five wins and five draws. However, a draw won’t do the work and “de Godenzonen” must play for a win with an appropriate result.
Peter Bosz must maintain enthusiasm of his players after a 3-0 home win over Twente during last weekend. Thus Ajax occupies second position in the Eredivisie where distance between the Amsterdammers and rivals Feyenoord remains four points, so Ajax must stay focused on two different fronts. We firmly believe everyone in Amsterdam wants to celebrate Ajax’s 117th anniversary, on 18 March, being involved either in the Eredivisie title contention, as well as in the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals.
FC Copenhagen covers distance on south after another domestic success which extends their Superliga form. FCK won 2-0 over Esbjerg on Sunday night and Ståle Solbakken’s men are still unbeaten in 25 league rounds. This places them on 12 points above city rivals Brøndby and in the meantime FC Copenhagen continues its DBU Pokalen (Danish Cup) march as well.
This opens three fronts for Danish champions but if we assume how strong their domestic position really is, “Lions” are mostly eager for Europa League progress.
Match Preview: Team News, Squads and Missing Players
FC Copenhagen travels to the Netherlands with one goal lead and also being in stunning form. Danish team suffered only one defeat in the 2016-17 season and that happened in mid-October, when FC Copenhagen lost 1-0 to Leicester City in England.
FCK’s form is mostly influenced by very solid defensive approach built by a really consistent quarter at the back. Of course, that line would not be so stable without a strong support from midfield where after Thomas Delaney’s departure related with his transfer to Werder Bremen, Ståle Solbakken had to look for a decent replacement of a key-player. It seems he found a decent replacement in face of Uros Matic, who arrived from Sturm Graz and also holds reliable Eredivisie experience since he wore NAC Breda’s kit in period 2014-16.
But let us return to the aforementioned defensive quartet which consists of two full-backs – Peter Ankersen (RB) and Ludwig Augustinsson (LB), and of two central defenders. If the Swedish defender Erik Johansson is half of the pair, captain Mathias “Zanka” Jørgensen is other part of that stable pair and he misses out due to suspension. Jørgensen was booked in Copenhagen and that was his third yellow card in UEFA competition this season.
Most likely Jores Okore will replace “Zanka” in defense and central midfielder William Kvist will take captain’s armband. Otherwise, other rotations are not anticipated as Norwegian coach of Copenhagen will use same starting lineup and 4-4-2 formation in Amsterdam.
As long as we review eventual damage of a missing Danish captain, situation in the Dutch side is similar. Ajax pursues first home win against Copenhagen and Peter Bosz should select his starting eleven without a player with crucial status like Davy Klaassen. Captain of Ajax is also suspended and his absence opens a gap in midfield, where most likely Donny van de Beek will start in a regular trio alongside Lasse Schöne and Hakim Ziyech. Latter will be the one with more creative functions in that game and importance of Ziyech raises even more with Klaassen’s suspension.
Ajax’s attacking trio should contribute for a better display than in the first leg and we don’t expect changes in that line. Bertrand Traore, Amin Younes and Kasper Dolberg, who netted twice against Twente last weekend and Younes scored one more, are those who should benefit from Zanka’s suspension.
Ajax vs FC Copenhagen Betting Prediction
It is pretty obvious that Copenhagen will do their best to show character and strengthen their defensive line when Mathias Jørgensen misses out. His presence is from huge significance and even if Jores Okore gained experience in the English Premier League playing for Aston Villa, we are not sure about his current form.
On other hand Davy Klaassen is from same importance for Ajax but up front, as he is team’s second top scorer with 12 goals in 25 Eredivisie games. He hasn’t scored in the UEFA Europa League yet and apparently won’t be able to do this on Thursday. Nevertheless, Ajax still has some potential in the line and Dutch team should feel more comfortable and motivated in Amsterdam.
Leaving all past results vs FC Copenhagen aside, Ajax scored in all home games this term and we expect the same.
Meanwhile, the Danish side can take advantage from Ajax’s home determination and wait for a chance to hit on counter, or even from set-pieces. Availability of wingers like Rasmus Falk Jensen and Youssef Toutouh, as well as two central typical forwards like Federico Santander and Andreas Cornelius predisposes for usage of such an approach in that game.
Under these circumstances we fancy currently suggested odds for “Both teams to score – Yes“ and our betting prediction goes on the same market.
Venue: “Amsterdam ArenA”, Amsterdam.
Referee: Ivan Kruzliak from Slovakia.
Possible Lineups of Ajax and FC Copenhagen
AFC Ajax: André Onana – Daley Sinkgraven, Nick Viergever, Davinson Sánchez, Joël Veltman – Donny van de Beek, Lasse Schöne, Hakim Ziyech – Amin Younes, Kasper Dolberg, Bertrand Traore. (4-3-3)
FC København: Robin Olsen – Peter Ankersen, Jores Okore, Erik Johansson, Ludwig Augustinsson – Rasmus Falk Jensen, Uros Matic, William Kvist, Youssef Toutouh – Federico Santander, Andreas Cornelius. (4-4-2)