Ajax vs Schalke 04 Prediction, Preview, Lineups, H2H & Betting Tips 13.04.2017
Undefeated in their last eleven European home matches and on a run of five successive victories at the “Amsterdam ArenA”, Ajax feels confident when the Dutch side takes on Schalke 04 in first-leg of the 2016-17 UEFA Europa League quarter-finals. Their quarter-final tie can be easily described as an extremely balanced as it faces clubs with glorious past in the competition, both coming from two rival football nations.
H2H History: Ajax vs Schalke 04
Even if both teams hold a honourable record in European football this will be the first ever encounter between Ajax and Schalke 04 within an UEFA competition. This makes it even greater and unpredictable since stake is huge and winner of the two rounds will reach the 2016-17 UEFA Europa League semi-finals.
And if Schalke were among last eight UEFA Europa League members five years ago, when they lost 4-6 (2-4, 2-2) on aggregate to Athletic Bilbao, Ajax have not reached a major European quarter-final for more than a decade. Last time Ajax was on a step from the final four was in the 2002/03 UEFA Champions League season when Ronald Koeman’s men have been dramatically eliminated by AC Milan in the quarter-finals.
H2H Stats: Ajax vs clubs from Germany
The most successful Dutch club enjoys to a fine head-to-head record when it’s about facing German sides in UEFA’s competitions. Although they have not met Schalke 04 so far, Ajax inspires itself with an absolute superiority over guests from Germany – 13 wins, 1 draw and only 1 defeat in Amsterdam.
Ajax’s overall balance against German teams is: 20 wins, 5 draws and 7 defeats, as in that number we count 1-0 victory vs Lokomotive Leipzig in the 1986–87 European Cup Winners’ Cup final. Legendary striker Marco van Basten was Ajax’s goal scorer before his transfer to AC Milan later the same year.
H2H Stats: Schalke 04 vs clubs from the Netherlands
Schalke travels to the Netherlands with eight previous games against Dutch clubs. They have ended with 3 wins, 1 draw and 4 defeats, however, all negative results were in the Netherlands. On other hand all of the home wins were by three-goal margins – vs Roda JC, PSV Eindhoven and Twente.
The only occasion when Schalke 04 have not lost a journey to the Netherlands was a 2-2 draw vs Roda in first round of the 1996-97 UEFA Cup.
UEFA Europa League: Ajax vs Schalke 04 13.04.2017
Ajax renews its Europa League campaign being closer to its biggest rival Feyenoord in the Eredivisie standings. However, Ajax remains behind leaders from Rotterdam but the gap has been reduced to only a point, while around 10 days ago it was six in Feyenoord’s favour. That happened as a result of a direct success in last edition of De Klassieker, followed by two more wins last week. After winning 2-1 over Feyenoord at home, Ajax scored an impressive number of nine goals in two Eredivisie rounds. Furthermore, both wins against AZ Alkmaar (4-1) and NEC (1-5 in Nijmegen) were accomplished without Ajax’s top scorer Kasper Dolberg.
Schalke 04 seeks first victory in the Netherlands or at least a chance to put an end of its losing streak there. “The Royal Blues” will cover distance to Amsterdam in a relatively good mood as they have scored four goals into Wolfsburg’s net on Saturday afternoon and won for the first time after most recent international break.
That 4-1 win was preceded by a home draw in The Revierderby (1-1 vs Borussia Dortmund) and a frustrating performance in Bremen (losing 3-0 to Werder) in the midweek. Thankfully to Markus Weinzierl, all four goals scored by Guido Burgstaller (2), Leon Goretzka and Daniel Caligiuri came right on time and they surely have an impact over Schalke’s attacking mentality. Not that “The Royal Blues” are keeping some particular ambitions in the Bundesliga where they occupy 10th place after 28 rounds. Anyhow, Schalke 04 is on just six points from the 5th position where they finished last term, but possibility for a breakthrough in the Europa League looks as a priority right now.
Match Preview: Team News, Squads and Missing Players
Good news for Peter Bosz are related with the name of Danish top scorer Kasper Dolberg. Ajax’s boss welcomes his young talent back in the group and although he trained last week, Dolberg has not been fully fit to start against NEC on Saturday night. Now the 19-year-old striker is ready to start on top of Ajax’s attacking trio and probably David Neres will be dropped out. Brazilian winger showed his determination to claim first-team football and scored twice during last three Eredivisie rounds.
Another additional option to boost Ajax’s attacking formation is the 17-year-old Justin Kluivert who is the son of former Dutch attacker Patrick Kluivert.
Except good news regarding Kasper Dolberg’s condition, Peter Bosz has to select his starting XI without experienced Danish midfielder Lasse Schöne who is suspended and will miss out the first leg. Another prospect who comes from Ajax’s youth academy will eventually replace him – Donny van de Beek is the favourite to start alongside captain Davy Klaassen and Hakim Ziyech. So practically Schöne is the only absentee for Ajax.
Markus Weinzierl has bigger selection headache compared with his Dutch colleague. Nevertheless, Weinzierl still has a wide selection on most positions and he will most likely stick to the formation used against Wolfsburg. At least we don’t find a reason why he should have any intention to touch a winning formation, especially when Bosnian defender Sead Kolasinac is back.
In the meantime Schalke’s boss still can’t rely on the already injured Baba Rahman, Dennis Aogo, Naldo, Atsuto Uchida and Brel Embolo.
Ajax vs Schalke 04 Betting Prediction
A classic Dutch-German battle that predisposes for an entertaining Thursday night and mostly to all neutrals, who can expect European football from highest quality. We believe that either Ajax and Schalke 04 have serious arguments to play for a win, but according to the aforementioned past results in similar games, it looks reasonably to consider Ajax as the favourite on home turf. Moreover, Schalke is not that convincing on the road and this makes them even more vulnerable in our opinion.
Peter Bosz realizes how different everything else can be only a week later in Gelsenkirchen, so we expect Ajax to pick up a lead in Amsterdam. Our betting experts suggest to place a bet on Ajax and as an extra insurance we also recommend the Asian Handicap 0 (Draw No Bet) on The Amsterdammers.
Venue: “Amsterdam ArenA”, Amsterdam.
Referee: Sergei Karasev from Russia.
Possible Lineups of Ajax and Schalke 04
AFC Ajax: Andre Onana – Joël Veltman, Davinson Sanchez, Nick Viergever, Daley Sinkgraven – Hakim Ziyech, Donny van de Beek, Davy Klaassen – Bertrand Traore, Kasper Dolberg, Amin Younes. (4-3-3)
FC Schalke 04: Ralf Fährmann – Sead Kolasinac, Matija Nastasic, Benedikt Höwedes, Thilo Kehrer – Leon Goretzka, Nabil Bentaleb – Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Max Meyer, Daniel Caligiuri – Guido Burgstaller. (4-2-3-1)