Ajax open up their 2015/16 Champions League campaign tonight against the Austrian Bundesliga runners-up Rapid Vienna and Will Burns thinks the Amsterdammers would be pleased to take the Austrian side back to the Amsterdam Arena next week on level terms.
RAPID VIENNA vs. AJAX (20:05 BST)
UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE – THIRD ROUND QUALIFYING FIRST LEG
Usually qualification has been automatic for Ajax the past few seasons, however after PSV Eindhoven ran away with the Eredivisie title last year, Frank de Boer must take his men through two sets of qualifying rounds before entering the first group stages.
Their opponents, Rapid Vienna enter the competition for the first time in nine seasons and have already begun their season with two comfortable wins. Firstly, starting off with a thumping 5-1 victory over Weiz in the Austrian Cup then followed that up with a 3-0 win over Ried in the Bundesliga days later. As reading the past two scores suggest, the Austrians can score goals.
Their star man, Slovenian striker Robert Beric notched an impressive total of 28 goals in 37 league starts last year and Ajax’s young defensive pairing of Joel Veltman and Jairo Riedewald will have to be very wary of him.
Thus why I am thinking about tonight’s solid bet of Ajax ‘Draw No Bet’ at a generous 2.37 at Bet365. De Boer and his men would be very happy in keeping this game tight, keeping Beric and company at bay and taking the Austrians back to Holland next week with the tie all level. However, with talents like Davy Klaassen, Anwar El Ghazi, Lasse Schone and Arek Milik all capable of causing problems in front of goal, Ajax could very well steal an away goal or even take a lead back to Amsterdam.
Date: 30-7-2015 (20.05PM UK Time)
UK TV: None
DUTCH TV: SBS6
Stadium: Ernst Happel Stadion, Vienna
Referee: William Collum (SCO)
Assistants: Francis Connor (SCO)/Damien MacGraith (IRE)
Fourth Official: John Beaton (SCO)
Rapid Vienna (4-2-3-1): Novota; Auer, M. Hofmann, Sonnleitner, Stangl; Petsos, Schwab; Schobesberger, S.Hofman, Kainz; Beric.
Ajax (4-3-3): Cillessen; Tete, Veltman, Riedewald, Dijks; Bazoer, Sinkgraven, Klaassen; El Ghazi, Schone, Milik.
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