Ajax – Sturm Graz FREE PICKS
Ajax Amsterdam has not had good experiences with Austrian teams in international competitions. Thus, the Dutch eliminated in the Europa League semiannel finals 2014 with 1: 6 against Salzburg and in the Champions League qualification 2015 with 4: 5 against Rapid Wien. In the current qualifying for the premier class, it is now in the second round (of four) against the Austrian runner-up Sturm Graz, who has to put up with the outsider role, for better or worse. Nevertheless, it could be a difficult transition for Ajax, because while the Austrians played an almost impeccable preparation, this was anything but optimal for the Dutch. To avoid a new out against an Austrian team, the Dutch team of head coach Erik ten Hag will have to stretch at this early stage of the season and should not underestimate the Austrian team of chief coach Heiko Vogel. Ultimately, however, we believe that Ajax will prevail on Wednesday (25.07., 20:30 clock), at least in the Johan Cruijff Arena sovereign and recommend a tip that the Dutch win at least two goals ahead. At Ajax Amsterdam against Sturm Graz there are odds of 2.10 for these handicap bets. A deployment of four units also seems appropriate in view of the much higher quality in the squad of the Dutch runner-up and home advantage.
Ajax Amsterdam is Dutch record champion and four-time Champions League winner. However, the proud team from Amsterdam has been without a title for four years, both at national and international level. The next was Ajax two years ago, when they competed in the final of the Europa League against Manchester United, but there lost the short. Last year in the Eredivisie with a record of twenty-five wins, four draws and five defeats and a goal difference of 89:33 at least enough for the runner-up, the opening of the team of chief coach Erik ten Hag at least the way to the Champions League. However, the walk is long, as three teams have to be eliminated on the way to the group stage in qualifying. To be prepared for this, Ajax has already strengthened the squad with Labyad, Tadic, Returnees Blind and Talent Bandé.
In the preparations Ajax Amsterdam could not yet build on the strong performances from the last season, where – with three exceptions (two defeats, one draw) – all home games could be won. For example, Amsterdam have lost their friendly matches against FC Nordsjaelland (1: 3), RSC Anderlecht (1: 3) and FC Walsall (0: 2). Against Wolverhampton Wanderers and Steaua Bucharest it was enough for a 1-1 draw at least.
The SK Sturm Graz has already won the Austrian title three times and is the current ÖFB Cup winner. On the international level, however, it has so far not been successful. After all, the Austrians have already taken part in the Champions League three times (most recently in the 2000/01 season) and twice reached the quarter-finals in the Europa League. In the Tipico Bundesliga, the Styrians under the sporting direction of head coach Heiko Vogel had beaten in the last season with a record of twenty-two wins, four draws and ten defeats and a goal difference of 68:45 only the industry leader RB Salzburg. After the departure of topscorer Alar (24 goals across the competition) Graz is still looking for a prominent reinforcement, especially in the offensive, especially as midfielder Zulj is heavily courted and threatened with a further timely departure. Whether the previous newcomers Hosiner, Grozurek, Lackner, Pink or Lema are an adequate replacement here, will have to be seen in the next few weeks.
In the preparation at least the bird elf showed in spite of the cadres break in impressive early form. Of eight friendly matches, only the one against FK Krasnodar was lost 0: 1. Otherwise, consistently victories against more or less prominent teams were on the program. NK Domzale (3-1), FC Copenhagen (1-0), FC Middlesbrough (1-0) and Kapfenberger SV (1-0) were beaten, among others. Also in the first round of the ÖFB Cup succeeded already a lackluster 2-0 victory against the country’s league ASV Siegendorf.
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