Champions League Preview & Betting Tips – Dynamo Kyiv vs. AZ Alkmaar


Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex | Tuesday 15th September | 18:00 GMT

In the biggest game for the club in recent history, AZ Alkmaar travel to the Ukraine to face Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League Third Round of Qualifying. Will Burns feels like AZ may not have what it takes to beat the Ukrainian giants… unfortunately.

After the disappointment of calling the season off early last March, when AZ looked to becoming the champions of Eredivisie, Arne Slot’s men had the prospect of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League to pick them back up.

However, on Tuesday night, they travel to the Ukraine to face Dynamo Kiev, a true force for decades in this home country and European competitions. This is the third round of qualifying and it’s certainly not easy.

AZ were given a reprieve this weekend as the KNVB, committed to aiding their clubs in European tournaments, cancelled their opening game to FC Utrecht, so that Slot and his team can concentrate on this one legged fixture.

In the last round, AZ made hard work of their home tie against Czech outfit Viktoria Plzen. A 95th minute penalty which was scored by Teun Koopmeiners, saved their blushes and took the game into extra time at the 1-1 scoreline. Two extra time goals by Albert Gudmundsson saw Alkmaar send the Czech home unhappy but it was far from convincing. If they have any chance on Tuesday, they will need to vastly improve.

We asked Zorya Londonsk’s Andrew Todos about AZ’s opponents on Tuesday and he gave us a tremendous insight into their recent form, tactics and star players. Well worth a read.

Recently Dynamo has embarked on their new Ukrainian Premier League campaign and are undefeated in three games since the season kicked off. The opening day of the league saw Kiev easily defeating Olimpik Donetsk by a 4-1 scoreline. Then they lifted the domestic Super Cup beating rivals Shakhtar Donetsk 3-1 before drawing a 0-0 blank against title challengers Desna.

In addition, we heard (below) that Kiev’s star player Viktor Tsyhakov did not train on Monday and that could spell that he will be unavailable.

We all know there is a four tremendous goal threats at Slot’s disposal with Myron Boadu, Oussama Idrissi, Teun Koopmeiners and Calvin Stengs were all capable of double figures last season.

I think it is a big ask to say that AZ will win on Tuesday, and don’t get me wrong, they could, but Kiev are a strong team. One thing I am sure of, is that I feel AZ could get a goal. Our colleague Andrew Todos wrote: “Dynamo have serious defensive issues. First choice right back – Oleksandr Tymchyk was subbed off inside 35 minutes vs Desna with a groin injury. He will be out for a while. Similarly, centre backs Mykyta Burda and Denys Popov are also unavailable for a prolonged amount of time.”

Koopmeiners: "Dit is ons doel en boem, we gaan ervoor"
Captain Koopmeiners is an excellent penalty taker.

AZ captain Teun Koopmeiners is always good for a goal notching 16 in all competitions last year and he takes AZ’ spot kicks too. For a high pressure match like this, we could see one of Kyiv’s defenders go in the tricky feet of Boadu, Stengs or Idrissi allowing Koopmeiners a chance to notch


So I have selected two bets for Tuesday night’s big game. Both Teams to Score is best priced at 1.80 at bet365 and if we see an AZ penalty, like the last round, Koopmeiners will score it. He is a HUGE price of 5.60 at Unibet but keep an eye out any other bookies pricing this up before kick off – just in case we see a higher price. The bookies struggle with these games.

Both Teams to Score (1.80 at bet365)

Teun Koopmeiners to score (5.60 at Unibet)

Who are AZ’s Champions League opponents – Dynamo Kyiv


Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex | Tuesday 15th September | 18:00 GMT

Football: Lucescu resigns from his post, leaves Dynamo Kyiv FC - Football:  Lucescu to part ways with Dynamo Kyiv FC -

Dynamo Kyiv are currently experiencing their longest drought without Champions League football since Ukraine’s independence in 1991 writes Zorya Londonsk’s Andrew Todos.

The last time they made the Group Stages was the 15/16 season. Ever since, hopes have been dashed in the Qualifying rounds – resulting in Europa League campaigns as the fallbacks instead. This failure to qualify for the UCL Group Stages has coincided with the club’s recent decline. Whilst they’ve still been able to finish second domestically in all these years, the gap between themselves and Champions Shakhtar has grown exponentially due to poor managerial appointments and player recruitment.

This led the owner to appoint former Shakhtar manager and one of the most decorated managers of all time – Mircea Lucescu to steer the ship at the old age of seventy five!

The club’s Ultras have reacted with great animosity to the decision due to a long history of Lucescu being controversial in regards to their club and even to Ukraine as a whole.

UPL. Matchday 2. Dynamo – Desna. Preview - FC Dynamo Kyiv. Official club  website

Recent Form

The 20/21 UPL kicked off ahead of the recent international break. Dynamo got off to a winning start under Lucescu – convincingly hammering lowly Olimpik Donetsk on the opening day 4-1.

Following this, Lucescu and his new side faced his old club in the Ukrainian Super Cup. Dynamo defeated Shakhtar 3-1 and picked up the first ‘trophy’ of the season.

Ahead of the UCL 3rd Qualifying round, Dynamo faced fellow medal place challengers Desna. Their opponents ran them close in the league last season and shut Dynamo out by parking the bus, despite the Kyiv side’s relentless attacking efforts. The game ended 0-0.

Formation and Tactics

It’s still quite difficult to work out exactly how Mircea Lucescu wants his new side to play. Dynamo were very secretive in their short pre season – providing no ‘live’ coverage of any of their friendlies. With the few competitive games we have seen thus far – it looks like Dynamo are aiming to play a possession based style with the steady introduction of a high press.

However, the club is currently in the midst of an injury crisis – which has likely prevented Lucescu in showcasing exactly the type of philosophy he wants to move forward with.

Dynamo have serious defensive issues. First choice right back – Oleksandr Tymchyk was subbed off inside 35 minutes v Desna with a groin injury. He will be out for a while. Similarly, centre backs Mykyta Burda and Denys Popov are also unavailable for a prolonged amount of time.

This has forced Lucescu to play Tomasz Kedziora, a natural full back in the heart of his defence alongside usual left back Vitaly Mykolenko in the most recent league match.

Artem Shabanov, who is a centre back by trade may return to the starting XI for the AZ tie, following rehabilitation from his own injury.

Predicted Line up (4-3-3)


(RB) Kedziora

(CB) Shabanov

(CB) Mykolenko

(LB) Karavayev

(CM) Sydorchuk

(CM) Buyalskyy

(CM/CAM) Shaparenko

(LW) De Pena

(ST) Supryaha

(RW) Tsyhankov

According to Transfermarkt, Tsygankov is the most expensive player in the  UPL –

Players to Watch

Viktor Tsyhakov

Dynamo’s key man. The winger has become the side’s leading light in recent seasons, stepping into the large hole left by Andriy Yarmolenko’s departure. Tsyhankov is Dynamo’s primary outlet for creativity and goals despite him playing out wide on the right. He’s pacey and possesses a very decent vision and delivery. Due to the inverted nature of his position, the left footed player is able to cut inside – however he is far less reliant on this compared to his predecessor – Yarmolenko. He will be the channel through which most dangerous attacks go through and if not – he will be trying to be on the end of them to finish the chances off.

Gerson Rodrigues

The Luxembourg international is another dangerous winger that Lucescu has under his disposal. He is unlikely to start but should he come off the bench – he will be sure to bolster the attack as he has done in Dynamo’s matches prior to the international break. The forward, who had fallen out of favour with the previous manager and was sent on loan last season as a result, is having a revival under the current one. He scored a magnificent lobbed winner in the Super Cup and had an influential 45 minute cameo in the 4-1 Olimpik match. He will be able to provide that creative spark should it be needed in the later stages of the game. 

Andrew Todos

Follow Andrew on Twitter at @ZoryaLondonsk and on Instagram.

AZ Alkmaar – FK Viktoria Plzen Preview




Even though the Bayern Munich celebrations are still ongoing from their triumph on Sunday evening, AZ Alkmaar begin their quest for Champions League qualification on Wednesday afternoon in a proverbial banana skin one-legged match against Czech side FK Viktoria Plzen writes Will Burns.

We zullen er woensdag staan', zegt AZ-trainer Arne Slot, 'd ...
The AFAS Stadion is far from complete but will play host to this all important tie for AZ.

Even though the Bayern Munich celebrations are still ongoing from their triumph on Sunday evening, AZ Alkmaar begin their quest for Champions League qualification on Wednesday afternoon in a proverbial banana skin one-legged match against Czech side FK Viktoria Plzen.

Due to the current worldwide pandemic situation, UEFA introduced one-legged ties in the interim which introduces more uncertainty into the competition. By halving the length of the ties, this now matters least to the teams of similar ability and most to the teams of contrasting ability and provides more chance of an upset.

AZ head into the game as favourites but Plzen will be hungry for victory in this unfamiliar one-legged affair. The Czech’s experienced great disappointment at this stage last season, tasting defeat to Olympiakos, before coming a cropper just a few weeks later to Antwerp in the Europa League qualifying.

They qualified for this year’s competition by finishing second in the Czech 1.Liga in 2019/20 and have dished out convincing performances in recent friendly games. Plzen opened their league campaign up with a 3-1 victory over SFC Opava on Friday while resting a few players. Although they conceded first and missed a penalty, they ran out resounding winners by two goals.

GALERIE: SESTŘIH: Plzeň - Opava 3:1. Favorit otočil proti deseti ...
French striker Jean-David Beauguel will lead the line for Viktoria Plzen on Wednesday afternoon.

Plzen will led up top by their top scorer last year, Frenchman Jean-David Beauguel.  He notched 14 goals last term but was rested in Friday’s win until an injury forced him into the game late in the first-half. He went onto net once in the 3-1 win.

The Czech’s possess a strong midfield and creative attack and the AZ will have to be aware of that constantly. Teun Koopmeiners, Jordy Clasie and Dani de Wit will be in for a tough night and will have to play with great caution.

Despite just one win in six friendly outings and competing in an empty, half-finished home stadium on Wednesday afternoon, AZ are still favourites to win. As captain Teun Koopmeiners said in an interview earlier this week “Last year, the pre-season results were not as we wanted, but we won our first league game 4-0”, so spirits should not be down in the AZ camp.

UEFA Europa League: Who are AZ Alkmaar, Manchester United's Dutch ...
AZ’s Teun Koopmeiners is hopeful for a good performance.

They were boosted earlier this week as coach Arne Slot stated that veteran defender Ron Vlaar and speedy winger Calvin Stengs are both declared fit for the clash, however both men would be highly unlikely to see a full 90 minutes.

Stengs will be vital in the AZ forward line that worked so well last year. On the left, Oussama Idrissi will start and Myron Boadu through the middle, and the trio should create chances copiously to trouble Plzen keeper Ales Hruska.

If they can perform to the standards of last season, then advancing to the third round of qualifying should be a formality.


Although they will not be up to the usual performance and condition that Plzen may be, due to sheer abundance of pace and sheer talent in attack, I see an AZ win here. This is the same team that took Ajax to the limit last year, they are yet to lose any of their talents to the bigger leagues and they should have enough quality to see off the Czech league runners-up.

AZ to win with Both Teams to Score (4.00 at Bet365)

We will post preview/betting articles for the Eredivisie, Eerste Divisie, European and International competitions like this one throughout the year and we will keep track of our profits and losses for the whole 2020/21 season.  This is not an official bet due to lack of football from the Dutch sides over the past few months. Official bets will be begin in September.

Champions League: Look for Ajax to dominate AEK Athens

Twenty four hours after PSV Eindhoven lock horns with Barcelona in the Nou Camp, it is the turn of four-time European Champions, AFC Ajax, who open their Group E campaign by playing host to reigning Greek champions, AEK Athens at the Johan Cruijff ArenA on Wednesday evening writes Steve Davies.

Ajax vs. AEK Athens

Wednesday, 17.55BST – Live on BT Sport ESPN

Twenty four hours after PSV lock horns with Barcelona in the Nou Camp, it is the turn of, Ajax, holders of the European title four times, who open their Group E campaign by playing host to reigning Greek champions, AEK Athens at the Johan Cruijff ArenA on Wednesday evening.

Image result for ajax aek athens

Despite picking up what was the club’s twelfth league crown last term, AEK Athens last title triumph came all the way back in 1994 with the intervening years seeing the club go to the brink of financial disaster and start all over again as an amateur outfit in the third tier in 2013 before achieving back-to-back promotions to reclaim their top-flight status.

However, having reached the semi-finals of the old UEFA Cup in 1977, the quarter-finals of the European Cup in 1969 in addition to making the same stage of the now defunct UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in both 1997 and 1998, AEK’s European pedigree shouldn’t be ignored.

Having negotiated their way past Scottish champions, Celtic 3-2 on aggregate in the third round of qualifying, Marinos Ouzounidis’ side then edged out Hungarian outfit, Videoton in the play-off round by the same scoreline to claim a place in the group stage of the competition. In addition, AEK has begun their domestic campaign in fine form with three successive victories leaving them top of the pile with a two-point advantage over second place PAOK. Even more impressively, AEK is yet to concede a goal in the league while bagging seven goals in just three outings thus far.

Ajax’s European pedigree is of course without question. However, with the last of their four European Cup triumphs coming all the way back in 1995, the club, much like Dutch football’s UEFA coefficient, has endured a largely disappointing time on the European stage ever since.

Even the optimism surrounding Ajax’s run to the final of the UEFA Europa League in 2017, where a fearless Peter Bosz-coached side came up just short against Manchester United, failed to propel the club back to the forefront of European club football after tumbling out of qualifying for both the UEFA Champions League and then the UEFA Europa League in quick succession under Marcel Keizer last term.

Image result for ajax aek athens

However, with former FC Utrecht coach, Erik ten Hag having succeeded Keizer at the helm, Ajax once more look like a side to be feared and, having accounted for SK Sturm Graz, Standard Liege and Dynamo Kiev in relatively routine fashion to reach the group stage of the competition while opening their domestic campaign with four wins from five in which they have found the back of the net an impressive fourteen times and conceded only once to leave ten Hag’s men two points off pace-setting PSV Eindhoven at the top of the Eredivisie standings, the Ajax faithful have good reason to believe their side capable of snatching second place in a group that, Bayern Munich aside, appears to be there for the taking.

In a strange way, Ajax’s long and winding road to the group stage of the competition has actually served to help bring together a side that appeared at various points in the summer to be heading in different directions. Few expected the likes of Hakim Ziyech, Matthijs de Ligt or Andre Onana to still be at the club but their rumoured moves failed to materialise leaving Erik ten Hag with an embarrassment of riches at his disposal.

As such, Ajax’s strong start to the campaign both at home and abroad has many expecting great things from the four-time European champions and with a vociferous Johan Cruijff ArenA behind them, ten Hag’s men should have no trouble getting off to a winning start in Group E.


Ajax to win 3-0

£5 on 9.50 at BetVictor

Season Record


Profit – £34.25


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Champions League: Back PSV to threaten Barcelona

PSV and Ajax will represent the Dutch in the Champions League and it doesn’t get much tougher than an away trip to the Nou Camp for Marc van Bommel’s side. Will Burns previews early Tuesday evening’s huge tie.

Image result for barcelona vs psv

FC Barcelona vs. PSV

Tuesday, 17.55BST – Live on BT Sport 1

This will be the first clash between Barcelona and PSV for over 20 years and what a daunting task this will be for Marc van Bommel as he returns to the Nou Camp as a head coach. However, his side travels to Spain in incredible form.

The Eindhoven side has won their last seven games in all competitions scoring a staggering 27 goals and conceding five including a 7-0 win away to ADO Den Haag last time out. The firepower of Gaston Pereiro, Steven Bergwijn, Luuk de Jong and Hirving Lozano have been responsible for notching twenty of the aforementioned 27 goals, and despite the gulf in class in the standard of teams, Barca will need to beware of the PSV forward line.

Barcelona themselves are on a winning streak of five, but this past weekend that record was in jeopardy. Real Sociedad hosted the first game in their newly refurbished Anoeta Stadium and led for the majority of the game after taking a 12th-minute lead from an Aritz Elustondo volley after Barca failed to clear a free-kick.

Similarly to how I envisage PSV to attack, although they have much possession, Sociedad looked dangerous on the counter, and Barca found this difficult to manage at times and their possession lacked any kind of penetration in the first 45 minutes. Meanwhile, after a frustrating first-half, coach Ernesto Valverde switched Sergi Roberto into full-back after the break as Phillipe Coutinho replaced Nélson Semedo and the former Liverpool man was influential in turning the game around.

The entrance of the Brazilian gave Barca a faster movement in possession and former Ajacied striker Luis Suarez and Ousamma Dembele notched to clinch a close fought win. For the best bet in this one, I cannot look past a home win, however; the scorers of 27 goals in seven games, PSV, like Sociedad this past Saturday, are more than capable to grab a goal.


Barcelona win with Both Teams to Score

£10 on 2.50 at 888Sport

Season Record


Profit – £44.25

Team news

FC Barcelona
Valverde experimented with his midfield this past weekend but look for him to select his strongest side with tunnel vision on the Champions League this season. Sergio Busquets and Coutinho were left out of the starting line-up, but they should come back in alongside Ivan Rakitic.

PSV Eindhoven
Not one to use much rotation, Van Bommel fielded a strong eleven at the weekend, but Erick Gutierrez has made a claim to start. The newly signed Mexican midfielder impressed from the bench on his debut scoring and creating another in the 7-0 victory against ADO.


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Champions League: Back PSV in the BATE goal-fest

Will Burns is on fire with two wins out of two on weekend’s Eredivisie action that has boosted our profits to £43.25. With a one goal advantage PSV can progress to the Champions’ League group stages with just a draw on Wednesday night, however Will thinks there will may be some trouble ahead.

PSV vs.  BATE Borisov

Wednesday, 20:00BST Live on BT Sport 3

PSV and Marc van Bommel are nearly in Thursday’s group draw with a hard fought 3-2 win last Tuesday in Borisov however, BATE will roll in Eindhoven knowing they have the ability to breach the PSV backline, and that’s where I’m honing in on for today’s bet.

After last week’s game, BATE may be struggling to cope with the regrets with the first leg as PSV put qualification on a plate for them. PSV were rocked to the core when Jasse Tuominen poked BATE ahead after just nine minutes but Van Bommel’s side progressively showed their superiority to claw back to 1-1 with a Gaston Pereiro penalty. On the hour mark, Mexican winger Hirving Lozano grabbed the lead for his side with a wonderful strike.

Donyell Malen PSV

But still the fight was there from BATE and some poor PSV defending gave veteran midfielder Alexander Hleb a goal off the bench in the 88th minute. However, PSV overcome this by venturing down the other end after the restart and youngster Donyell Malen, also a substitute, notched a headed winner on 89 minutes.

PSV got out of Borisov by the skin of their teeth and it won’t be easy on Wednesday at the Philips Stadion. Now the odds are massively stacked against the Belarusians but I can see them scoring a goal with PSV with the talent to notch a few themselves. PSV win with Both Teams to Score is a huge price at over 2/1 and I love the 2.80 on Over 3.5 Goals too.  Let’s go for that too in case we end up a high scoring draw with is very capable in a match of such magnitude.

This match, along with the Ajax game the night prior, is huge for the future of Dutch football. Good luck to both sides!


Over 3.5 Goals

£10 on 2.80 888Sport

PSV win with Both Teams to Score

£10 on 3.20 Paddy Power

Season Record


Profit: £43.25

Team news
Van Bommel rested Pablo Rosario in the 2-1 win over PEC Zwolle but the 21-year-old should return in place of young Belgian midfielder Dante Rigo.

BATE Borisov
Alexander Hleb could make the first eleven after scoring last week from the bench and in need of goals, BATE could play with two up front, If so, Maksim Skavysh would be the name added to the teamsheet.

Key stats
– PSV have seen at least two goals conceded in five of their last six Champions League games.

– BATE have scored in all of their last 9 competitive away games.


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Champions League: Ajax’s goal struggles means unders is a safe bet

Wednesday night sees Ajax host Dynamo Kiev in the next round of their Champions League qualification. Will Burns thinks Erik ten Hag’s men may struggle to find the net at the Johan Cruijff Arena.

Daley Blind Ajax

Ajax vs. Dynamo Kiev

Wednesday, 20:00BST – Live on BT Sport 2

In another massive night for Dutch football, Ajax face Ukrainian Premier League runners-up Dynamo Kiev in the final round of Champions League qualification. Erik ten Hag’s men have already dispatched Sturm Graz and Standard Liege and a win over two legs against Kiev will go a long way to help the UEFA coefficient for Dutch football.

Last December, on the release of the new UEFA rankings, it was declared that the champions of the Eredivisie would not automatically qualify for the Champions’ League group stages. The Dutch are currently 14th in the UEFA rankings behind neighbours Belgium and the likes of Austria, Czech Republic and Switzerland who arguably host weaker leagues.

The country and Ajax desperately need group stage qualification at the least and the Amsterdammers have pulled out all the stops this summer to make this happen. Big money signings Dušan Tadić and the returning Daley Blind put out a real statement of intent by Ajax, who brought in a total of four players for a big sum of €41m.

Although an abundance of talent is at Ten Hag’s disposal this is no easy route to the group stage for his side. In Atlético-esque fashion, Aleksandr Khatskevich’s side are masters of the 1-0 win. Out of all five domestic games this season, four in the league and one Super Cup final, they have won all five games by the 1-0 score line. Yes you did read that correctly – all five domestic games this season have ended in a 1-0 win for Dynamo.

Unbelievably they could have added another to the list in the away leg of the last Champions League qualifying round had Slavia Prague not scored a 95th minute penalty and that goal is the only goal they have conceded so far all season.

If we combine that with Ajax’s struggles to find the net in their two Eredivisie game so far, this will be a very tough contest for Ten Hag’s men. I envisage a cautious game that Ajax will find real difficulty breaking the Ukrainians down. Backing Under 2.5 Goals looks a sure bet and that is my recommendation in this match.


Under 2.5 Goals

£10 on 1.85 888Sport

Season Record


Profit – £29.75

Team news
David Neres should miss out after sustaining a hamstring injury in Saturday’s 1-0 over VVV-Venlo.

Dynamo Kiev
Summer signing from Dnipro-1, Vladyslav Supriaha is the only notable absentee.

Key stat
Kiev have won all five of their domestic games this season by a 1-0 scoreline.


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Champions League: PSV can set example for the future of Dutch football

It’s a huge European tie this Tuesday night as PSV travel to Belarus to face BATE in a Champions League qualifier, Will Burns previews what is a one of four most important nights for Dutch football in the next fortnight.

Hirving Lozano PSV

BATE Borisov vs. PSV

Tuesday, 20:00BST – Live on BT Sport 3

Tuesday night sees PSV Eindhoven embark on their Champions League qualification in a two-legged affair that is one of the most significant games in recent history for Dutch football.

Last December, on the release of the new UEFA rankings, it was declared that the champions of the Eredivisie would not automatically qualify for the Champions’ League group stages. For at least the next two seasons, the Dutch champions have to go through the preliminary rounds before competing in the group phase. This was a huge blow to the country that has claimed three different European champions – Feyenoord, Ajax and PSV.

The Netherlands are now 14th in the UEFA rankings behind neighbours Belgium and the likes of Austria, Czech Republic and Switzerland who arguably host weaker leagues. Unfortunately, due to the lack of success in previous European competitions, this has what has become of Dutch football now as the Eredivisie has become a significant exporter of young talent to bigger leagues.

The Dutch teams need to act to improve the situation for the future of the league, and there’s certainly one way to start on Tuesday night: PSV to clinch the win away to Belarusian’s BATE Borisov. I predict this will be a hard task for Marc van Bommel’s side as history has proved that BATE are always a tough proposition at the Borisov Arena. In the last ten European ties at home, BATE have been dealt one defeat, a 4-2 Europa League loss to Arsenal last season.

BATE have a lightning quick counter attack that should be spearheaded by Montenegrin international Mirko Ivanić. The 24-year-old attacking midfielder/winger showed off this prowess in the last round at home to Azerbaijani opponents Qarabağ FK in a second leg 1-1 draw. Ivanić capitalised on a wayward pass across the defence and powered a run through onto goal to place the ball confidently in the net.

However, they did look suspect at the back that PSV may find rewarding. Using the counter attack, BATE received a lot of pressure over the two leagues against the Azerbaijan champions, outscored heavily 29-13 over the two legs. One has to think with the quality in the PSV attack (Hirving Lozano, Gaston Pereiro, Steven Bergwijn and Luuk de Jong) this defence can and should be breached and give the Eredivisie champions victory that themselves and Dutch football greatly need.


PSV win

£10 on 2.15 Bet Victor

Current Season Record


Profit – £18.25

Team news

BATE Borisov

The Belarusian Premier League has been on a short summer break throughout August so BATE are fully refreshed with no injuries announced.

PSV Eindhoven

In the 2-1 win away to a physical Fortuna Sittard on Saturday evening, in which Luuk de Jong stated: “We were lucky to snatch a late win”, Marc van Bommel named an unchanged side. It is thought he will do the same against BATE. No first team injury worries.

Key Fact

BATE Borisov have lost just one game in the last ten European home ties – a 2017/18 Europa League group stage fixture vs. Arsenal that finished 4-2.


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Champions League: Back Ajax’s Dusan Tadic to deliver knockout blow to Standard

After securing a healthy profit on the weekend’s Eredivisie games, Will Burns is on hand to try and add to the pot with his selection for the big Champions League qualification game at the Johan Cruijff Arena on tonight.

Dusan Tadic Ajax

Ajax vs. Standard Liege

Tuesday, 19:30

After dropping a 2-0 lead away in Belgium last week, Ajax host Standard Liege with hopes of clinching a slot in the next round of Champions League qualification. The Amsterdammers took a 2-0 half time lead with goals from Klass Jan Huntelaar and new summer signing Dušan Tadić.

However, Standard hit back from a Moroccan striker Mehdi Carcela-González wonder strike but Erik ten Hag’s side looked to be hanging on to take the win back to the Netherlands. Unfortunately for the travelling fans it was not to be, as in the dying seconds of stoppage time, young right-back Noussair Marzaoui was penalised for a soft foul on Moussa Djenepo in the area and Renaud Emond dispatched the resulting penalty.

This past weekend, the Eredivisie season did not get off to a perfect start for Ten Hag as his side were held to a 1-1 draw to Heracles with 19-year-old central defender Matthijs de Ligt heading home an equaliser to save the Amsterdammers’ blushes.

I’m focussing on one player for my pick, Dušan Tadić. I found it a great surprise when I read that the former Southampton winger had signed on the dotted line for Ajax this past summer. Dropping back to the Eredivisie, especially since Tadić was fifth in the Premier League last year for chances created (66) with five assists left me startled.

I rate the Serbian very highly and he’s already made his mark in this tie being involved in both goals last week in Belgium, creating Huntelaar’s opener and then smashing home an edge of the box strike to double Ajax’s lead.

I think he stands a great chance to fire in another goal against Liege who seemed to grant him a lot of space a week ago.

Recommended Bet: Dušan Tadić to score anytime – £10 on at 2.46 to win £24.60 at 888Sport/Unibet



Bets – 3

Wins – 2

Losses -1

Profit – £32.00


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Russian Football News‘s Martin Lowe is here to tell all Ajax’s fans what to expect from Rostov this Tuesday night.

Rostov’s victory in Brussels two weeks ago over Anderlecht ensured European group stage football for the first time in the club’s history, with a tantalising caveat of an opportunity that it could be in the Champions League rather than the Europa League many predicted if they prove successful in the playoff round. While some hoped for a glamour tie against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, the end result could prove the most fruitful in their hopes of progression after being paired with a below-par Ajax side, who’ve been going through a recent rough patch.

Since that high point at the beginning of August however, nothing has gone straight forward for last season’s RFPL surprise package. Days after their historic victory, influential coach Kurban Berdyev quit his role in the dugout, a decision that had been coming for the past 6 months after disputes with the club’s hierarchy, but nonetheless is a hammer blow to the club’s immediate future. This was followed by a substandard home season opener against Ural, which ended goalless, before defeat this weekend just gone away in St. Petersburg to Zenit, where they let go an early 2-0 lead.

Worries going forward concern further exits, with a number of the “Berdyev contingent” set to jump ship to join their coach at his new club Spartak Moscow. Rostov’s player of the night in Brussels Sardar Azmoun alongside Ecuadorian midfielder Christan Noboa, who made similar moves alongside Berdyev from Rubin to Rostov in the last two years are muted to be treading the same path of their Turkmenistani mentor once again.

To say Rostov are a side in transition would be an understatement, given that we’re only three games into the domestic season makes the situation ever more unstable. Former Rostov and national team striker Dmitri Kirichenko has taken over initially in the dugout while the Selmashi consider a full time appointment. A money spinning passage through to the Champions League group stages will do his case of taking over on a permanent basis the world of good. Or at least we thought so. Monday afternoon, Rostov announced that they had brought back Berdyev as an consultant, meaning he’s likely to be on the sideline when the game kicks off.


Aside to the pressure domestically which comes with such a lofty finish last season, Rostov’s cautious tactics have and will work wonders in Europe, where they will again be considered underdogs. Again they’ll aim to soak up possession before looking to hit the opposition on the counter attack, an approach that was fully utilised this weekend in their second goal against Zenit.


Sardar Azmoun – The star man across their qualifying round with Anderlecht, especially in Brussels where he led the line brilliantly on the counter, is a pivotal figure once again but question marks continue to swirl around his future. While interest from Western Europe has cooled for the moment, after his red card against Ural and his subsequent suspension, Berdyev’s exit has generated murmurs that the Iranian striker will follow him to Moscow.

If Azmoun is unfavoured, or sold on in the meantime, Denis Poloz has proved he can comfortably fill in, as he did this last weekend netting an early brace in the capital.

Cesar Navas – Another player loyal to Berdyev in the past, the Spaniard is a key figure in the centre of Rostov’s three man defence. His European pedigree picked up while playing with Rubin Kazan will prove invaluable once more, given the lack of experience in the squad and now dugout.


Heading to Amsterdam for the first leg, it’ll be a much tougher ask for Rostov than it was two weeks ago given the changing landscape at the club. What they do have in their favour however is an opposition out of form and the knowledge they have the home leg still to come.

It won’t be a surprise to see Rostov surrender a large portion of possession to the Dutch side, but if they can keep the deficit down, and look for an away goal on the counter, they’ll be more than confident returning home for the second leg.

Prediction: Ajax 2-1 Rostov


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This article is produced in association with HeaderBlue

Ajax have barely got themselves back into training and they have the challenge of Greek Superleague runners-up PAOK Salonika in the third qualification stage of the Champions League. Looking for real value in the betting markets, Will Burns thinks the Amsterdammers will win, but with a struggle.


Tuesday 26th July 2016 – 19:45BST



Tuesday night sees Peter Bosz first competitive match as Ajax manager as he control the reins that Frank de Boer left behind at the end of the season. A season which the Amsterdam giants saw PSV pip them to the title on the last day of the season, as Ajax failed to overcome De Graafschap while PSV dispatched PEC Zwolle. A result which placed the final nail in De Boer’s coffin as he resigned immediately.

It’s a new beginning in Amsterdam and although the players are virtually the same with only two summer additions, it’s a fresh start for Bosz, who we last saw in Holland managing Vitesse Arnhem. He will have get his players to adapt to his high pressure style of football as soon as possible. In regards to player changes: right-back Ricardo van Rhijn has departed for Club Brugge and fellow defender Mike van der Hoorn joined Swansea City, in return Bosz has added experienced German defender Heiko Westermann to the ranks from Real Betis and Mateo Cassierra, a 19-year-old Colombian striker from Deportivo Cali signed on the dotted line for €5.5m.

For PAOK FC themselves are experiencing the effects of change in management as Vladimir Ivić only took over from Igor Tudor back in March. They head into Tuesday’s game like Ajax, with this being their first competitive game since the end of last season. These two sides have met only twice before, again a two-legged affair in the UEFA Champions League qualifying back in 2010/11 which produced two draws and saw the Greeks prevail on the away goal rule. Coach Ivić, a former player of the club, scored twice in the legs versus the Amsterdammers.

While looking at the betting, Ajax are very short at 1.65 (with Ladbrokes) so I am avoiding this even though I think they are the most likely winners of this match. PAOK will set-up in a tight 4-3-3 formation which Ajax may find tough to break down so they may look to the counter as a weapon. I see this being a cautious game for Bosz’s side with a high defensive line, Ajax will be looking to hold off the Greeks and keep a clean sheet for the return leg next week. However, this is Ajax’s home leg and they need at least a goal, this may open then up at the back and concede as the young and old pairing of Jairo Riedewald (19) and Westermann (32) may need time to gel with each other.

I envisage Ajax scoring with ease as Anwar El Ghazi, Davy Klaassen, Amin Younes and Lasse Schone, all vying to start, are all capable of filling the opponents goal. Ajax to win with Both Teams to Score is our most value tip priced up at 333/100 at William Hill and if this is land then Over 2.5 Goals is worth a bet at 5/4 with BetBright. I would advise to go small on a Ajax 2-1 win also, best priced with Bet365 at 9/1.


Ajax to win with Both Teams to Score (4.33 at William Hill)

Over 2.5 Goals (2.25 at BetBright)

Correct Score: Ajax 2-1 PAOK Salonika (10.00 at Bet365)


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Manchester UnitedPSV Eindhoven are set to venture into the Champions League group stages for the first time since 2009 and their first opponents are one of the most successful clubs in the world. Manchester United have claimed the European Cup silverware three times as well as winning the Cup Winners Cup in 1991 and arrive in Eindhoven on Tuesday to face Philip Cocu’s men.

Memphis Depay, PSV’s record sale of any player in their history, arrives home to face his former side and will look to make an impact which he has failed to do so far in the Premier League. The 21-year-old winger, however did help the Red Devils qualify for the group stages notching twice in part one of the Playoff round against Club Brugge at Old Trafford.


Manchester United defeated bitter rivals Liverpool 3-1 at Old Trafford on Saturday evening however, in all fairness it was a poor game including an atrocious first half. There was no creative spark for Van Gaal’s side, which looked like they lacked energy and passion. Apart from left-back Luke Shaw getting forward there was very little to admire from either side.

In a 4-2-3-1 formation, the powerful big Belgian Marouane Fellaini was used as makeshift centre-forward in the absence of the injured Wayne Rooney but failed to make an impression. Although, United were the home side, they seemed to be restricted by their tactical straitjacket enforced on them without Rooney, but still against a poor Liverpool side, who have only scored three goals all season, they still ran out 3-1 winners.

The second half showed an improvement from the Old Trafford outfit mainly due to new sense of urgency that half-time substitute Ashley Young (replacing Depay) brought on with him. Former Ajax man Daley Blind scored a good goal just after the break, although Brendan Rodgers’ men did not look switched on to close the Dutchman down.

150914 - Man Utd

One thing Van Gaal has constructed in Manchester is a well-organised defence, even though some second-half chances from the Reds made the back four look uncomfortable under pressure. The inexperienced Joe Gomez gave away a penalty to set-up Ander Herrera to make it 2-0 and after Christian Benetke (Liverpool) grabbed a consolation with a perfect overhead kick, a young Frenchman appeared off the bench to send the 75,347 into raptures.

The £58.8 million price tag was deemed as ‘ridiculous’ by Van Gaal prior to Saturday’s game, but 18-year-old Anthony Martial, a window signing from AS Monaco, killed the game off in style and paid off a tiny bit of monstrous fee. With great composure the teenager, making his debut, had veteran defender Martin Skrtel retreating before placing a shot into the Liverpool net.

PSV could trouble United come Tuesday night with their precision passing and speed off the counter. Look for Maxime Lestienne to stress out Darmain in the right-back position and Luuk de Jong should prove to be a handful, especially if the much smaller Daley Blind is sitting in central defence.

Manchester United will be without Rooney through injury and Van Gaal may look to the young Martial to make his first start and gain further confidence after his dream start.


Great tactician. Disciplinarian. Legend. Can all be words to describe former Ajax manager Louis van Gaal, who has one Champions League medal himself with the Amsterdammers. The 64-year-old stepped into the Red Devils’ hot-seat after David Moyes failed to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson, when the famous Scotsman retired in 2013.

The clipboard wielding Dutchman has had little success in his tenure in Manchester so far, but this is indeed a transitional period for the 20-time league title winning side, where Van Gaal is bringing in his own players, own formation and own style of football to the Premier League.

KEY PLAYER: Memphis Depay

If Memphis Depay is going to pick his game up, surely the Philips Stadion is his perfect stage to perform this act. The 21-year-old is physically strong, fast and skilful so has all the credentials to be a top player but looks to having a tough time adjusting in the Premier League. Obviously, PSV head coach Philip Cocu knows the player very well and will look to Colombian right-back Santiago Arias to control Depay and keep him quiet. Arias will find it hard to discover a tougher task in his career, although as he proved in Saturday’s 6-0 win away to SC Cambuur, Depay may have to do some defending of his own.


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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.




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


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.


Ajax DRAW NO BET at 2.37 (BET365)


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