Tag Archives: UEFA Europa League

AZ Alkmaar narrowly fall to Benfica

Header-EuropaLeagueReport

Thursday 3rd April 2014

AZ-Benfica

AZ ALKMAAR 0-1 BENFICA

AZ resiliently battled Portuguese giants Benfica but lost by the single goal in the first leg clash of their last 8 Europa League tie.

The Dutch began the game as outsiders but the first 45 minutes saw AZ create the greater amount of chances and enjoying the majority of play. Wingers Roy Beerens and Steven Berghuis were the main threats with the former shooting narrowly wide after five minutes. The in-form Berghuis and his powerful long-range shooting called Benfica goalkeeper Artur into action twice but the stopper held firm and kept his clean sheet in tact.

After the goal-less first half, Benfica took the lead three minutes after the restart. AZ’s goalkeeper Esteban Alvarado rushed out to meet the ball at the feet of striker Oscar Cardozo. The Costa Rican diverted the Paraguayan’s effort away but it ended up landing perfectly for Argentine winger Eduardo Salvio to scissor-kick the ball into the net.

As Benfica had the advantage, the Portuguese looked likely to extend the score and but failed to do so. Cardozo was involved again and had an opportunity to bury AZ minutes later but he fluffed his lines and screwed his low drive wide.

AZ would hit on the break and midfielder Viktor Elm had a wonderful chance to level the game up but he headed tamely into Artur’s arms. However, it was end to end stuff as Rodrigo immediately went up the opposite end and in a horrendous miss, the striker stabbed Argentine defender Ezequiel Garay’s header high over the bar from yards out.

Looking tired as the time went on, Dick Advocaat’s side never managed to match the confidence they displayed in the opening half and only a fine double save from Esteban, denying substitute Lima and then André Gomes, prevented the tie to be over.

AZ now require a major upset in Lisbon if their European odyssey is to continue into the final four but holding this Benfica side down to just one goal must give them a slight glimmer of hope.

TEAMS

AZ: Esteban, Johansson, Gouweleeuw, Viergever, Poulsen (Gudmundsson 49), Gudelj (Henriksen 81), Ortiz, Elm, Berghuis, Jóhannsson, Beerens.

SUBS NOT USED: De Winter, Reijnen, Hoedt, Gorter, Avdic.

GOALS: None.

BOOKINGS: Johansson 78.

BENFICA: Artur, Maxi Pereira, Luisao, Garay, Siqueira, Salvio, Rúben Amorim (André Almeida 39), Gaitán, André Gomes, Cardozo, Rodrigo (Markovic 77).

SUBS NOT USED: Oblak, Jardel, Sulejmani, Djuričić, Lima.

GOALS: Salvio 48.

BOOKINGS: Gaitan 61, Siqueria 89, Salvio 90+2, Maxi Pereira 90+5.

Name-WillBurns

Click the name above to follow Will on Twitter.

TotalDutchFootball.com    WorldFootballWeekly.com

AZ hold Anzhi to progress to last eight

Header-EuropaLeagueReport

Thursday 20th March 2014

AnzhiAZ

ANZHI MAKHACHKALA 0-0 AZ ALKMAAR

AZ win 1-0 on aggregate

AZ Alkmaar are in the hat for Friday’s Europa League quarter-final draw after a stalemate in Moscow tonight. Dick Advocaat’s men 1-0 win last week at the AFAS Stadion was enough to send the Dutch side through to last eight.

The Russians produced plenty of clever play but were unable to provide a goal and failed to get a shot on target throughout the ninety minutes. Advocaat obviously instructed his AZ side to protect their 1-0 lead from the first leg as they were happy to sit back and defend.

As Anzhi pressed, AZ grew in stature as the first-half progressed and might have gone in front just before the break when a Nemanja Gudelj free-kick smashed against a post. The in-form Steven Berghuis went close soon after the interval, with Aron Jóhannsson then calling goalkeeper Mikhail Kerzhakov into action.

Anzhi started to fade as the clock ticked down, but they nearly scored an unlikely leveller when Oleksandr Aliyev whistled a 25-metre free-kick narrowly wide.

Anzhi’s night ended on a sour note as Berghuis broke through on goal and with the goal at his mercy, Karlen Mkrtchyan had to commit the foul. As he was the last man he received a straight red.

AZ go into the draw with European giants like Juventus, FC Porto and Benfica but will hope to draw avoid those three to give themselves a great chance of progressing to the semis.

TEAMS

ANZHI: Kerzhakov, Grigalava, Epureanu, Gadzhibekov, Sobolev (Serderov 71), Agalarov (Abdulavov 85), Mkrtchyan, Aliyev, Burmistrov (Eschenko 68), Smolov, Bukharov.

SUBS NOT USED: Pomazan, Dzhenetov, Angbwa.

GOALS: None.

BOOKINGS: Griglava 43, Sobelev 69, Agalarov 81, Aliyev 85.

SENT OFF: Mkrtchyan 90+3.

AZ: Esteban, Johansson, Reijnen, Wuytens, Viergever, Poulsen, Gudelj, Berghuis, Elm; Jóhannsson, Beerens.

SUBS NOT USED: De Winter, Hoedt, Gorter, Ortiz, Henriksen, Gudmundsson, Avdic.

GOALS: None.

BOOKINGS: Wuytens 62.

Name-WillBurns

Click the name above to follow Will on Twitter.

TotalDutchFootball.com    WorldFootballWeekly.com

Advocaat to the stands as AZ take 1-0 win

Header-EuropaLeagueReport

Thursday 13th March 2014

AZ ALKMAAR 1-0 ANZHI MAKHACHKALA

AZ Alkmaar have a 1-0 advantage over Russian Premier League side Anzhi Makhachkala in the race to reach the last eight of the Europa League. The Alkmaar side can thank the heroics of goalkeeper Esteban Alvarado after head coach Dick Advocaat was dismissed after leacing his technical area in an argument with Italian referee Daniele Orsato.

American striker Aron Jóhannsson just managed to convert a first-half penalty past Anzhi stopper Mikhail Kerzhakov to settle the match, but AZ withstood relentless pressure from the Russians. Advocaat’s men relied on a first-rate performance from their keeper Esteban to preserve their unbeaten run in this season’s competition and secure a slender lead to take to Russia next week.

The visitors came close to opening the scoring after an in the area scramble after quarter of an hour. Esteban was left prone after reacting to Aleksandr Bukharov’s blocked shot, and Fedor Smolov headed the rebound firmly back over the Costa Rican goalkeeper. Refusing to be beaten, though, the AZ number one scrambled to his feet, palmed the looping header upwards as he crashed to the ground, then clawed the dropping ball away before it could cross the line. It was an amazing save that lifted the roof of the AFAS Stadion.

The goal came just before the half-hour when Ali Gadzhibekov’s flailing arm cost his side a spot-kick and while Kerzhakov got two hands to Aron Jóhannsson‘s spot-kick, the ball bounced agonisingly over the line.

Alkmaar’s crossbar got some punishment from a free-kick by Olexandr Aliyev from 35 yards out, and Esteban stuck out a palm to deflect Bukharov’s close-range shot as the hosts stole a half-time lead against a desperately frustrated Anzhi.

After the interval, normal play resumed and Anzhi exploded out of the blocks in search of an equaliser with Aliyev worrying Esteban with another long-range free-kick, before substitute Nikita Burmistrov’s downward header tested the keeper’s positioning at the back stick with the keeper coming out on top.

Anzhi’s will wilted as the contest wore on AZ will take the slender lead to take to Russia next week. Meanwhile, Advocaat will not be present on the touchline as he faces a one-match ban by UEFA.

TEAMS

AZ: Esteban, Johansson, Gouweleeuw, Viergever, Poulsen (Wuytens 45), Gudelj, Ortiz, Elm, Berghuis (Gudmundsson 24), Jóhannsson, Beerens.

SUBS NOT USED: De Winter, Reijnen, Henriksen, Gorter, Avdic

GOALS: Jóhannsson 29.

BOOKINGS: Gouweleeuw 34, Wuytens 58.

ANZHI: Kerzhakov, Angbwa, Ewerton (Burmistrov 45), Gadzhibekov, Eschenko, Aliyev (Serderov 71), Mkrtchyan, Epureanu, Ahmedov, Smolov, Bukharov (Abdulavov 86).

SUBS NOT USED: Pomazan, Agalarov, Sobolev.

GOALS: None.

BOOKINGS: Ewerton 20, Ahmedov 66, Epureanu 74. 

Name-WillBurns

Click the name above to follow Will on Twitter.

TotalDutchFootball.com    WorldFootballWeekly.com

Ajax eliminated as AZ progress

Header-EuropaLeagueReport

Ajax are eliminated after tasting another defeat at the hands of Red Bull Salzburg, meanwhile, AZ Alkmaar held Slovan Liberec to a draw to continue on into the Last 16.

Thursday 27th February 2014

Salzburg-Ajax

RED BULL SALZBURG 3-1 AJAX

(Salzburg win 6-1 on agg)

Ajax ended up conceding another three goals to crash out at the expense of a far superior Red Bull Salzburg side over the two legs. The Austrians now go on to face a last 16 tie against Swiss champions FC Basel.

Salzburg turn on style to see off Ajax

Salzburg coach Roger Schmidt named an unchanged side that inflicted a 3-0 defeat onto Frank de Boer’s side last Thursday. As the Ajax coach saw the game as an opportunity to rest some players for Sunday’s De Klassieker. He left usual central defensive pairing Joël Veltman and Niclas Moisander on the bench with Mike van der Hoorn and Stefano Denswil starting.

The hosts dominated the early proceedings and had a golden opportunity to go in front after just 11 minutes in. Brazilian striker Alan lofted a perfect ball over the Ajax defence as Kevin Kampl beat the offside trap with a wonderful run. Bearing down on goal with the ball still bouncing, the Slovenian midfielder defeated the on-rushing Jasper Cillessen with a chip. Unfortunately for Kampl, the ball bounced back up onto the crossbar as Denswil headed the rebound away.

The Austrians kept pressing and in the 17th minute, Alan should have given Salzburg the lead. The Brazilian scored a second-half hat-trick at the weekend against Admira, but after he was put through by a defence-splitting Christoph Leitgeb ball, the striker dragged his shot wide.

Ajax has created their first real chance on 22 minutes after some good work down the right wing from full-back Ricardo van Rhijn. The Dutch international whipped a great ball in for Kolbeinn Sigthórsson at the front post, and after the Icelander got in front of Andre Ramalho, goalkeeper Péter Gulácsi tipped the ball wide.

Salzburg full-back Andreas Ulmer was causing trouble down the left and on 35 minutes, he flashed a shot across the goal from an acute angle after outsprinting Christian Poulsen. Minutes later, at the other end, Lesley de Sa in a similar move, forced a save out of Gulácsi but eventually the teams went in at half-time goal-less.

Ten minutes after the restart, the scoring opened and it was an unfortunate own goal from Mike van der Hoorn. Jonathan Soriano, smashed a low cross into the box and the big defender tried to cut it out but diverted it straight into Cillessen’s path. The Dutch international goalkeeper failed to get a grip of the ball and spilled it into the goal to give Salzburg the 1-0 lead.

The lead was doubled ten minutes later with Sadio Mané latched on yet another Leitgeb through ball and due to Denswil giving the Senegalese striker far too much space, he sprinted on and finished past Cillessen in style. The young defender should have been a lot sharper and tighter to the striker.

In the 77th minute, Jonathan Soriano could not miss after he laid on a plate by Mané. After Ulmer had robbed De Sa of the ball high up the pitch, the left-back played in the Senegalese striker who fired a ball to the back post where the Spaniard could tap home with ease. All too easy for Salzburg.

Davy Klaassen notched a consolation goal for the Amsterdammers but it they were once again swept away by the Austrian Bundesliga leaders. A bad result for Dutch double as their strongest team head of the competition at last 32 stage.

De Boer will now head to Rotterdam on Sunday to face Ronald Koeman’s Feyenoord, who will have seen more weaknesses unveiled by Salzburg to prey on.

TEAMS

SALZBURG: Gulácsi, Schwegler (Klein 89), Ulmer (Svento 79), Hinteregger, Ramalho, Mané, Ilsanker, Leitgeb, Kampl, Soriano, Alan (Zulj 73).

SUBS NOT USED: Walke, Meilinger, Schiemer, Berisha.

GOALS: Van der Hoorn 56OG, Mané 66, Soriano 77.

BOOKINGS: Ramalho 43.

AJAX: Cillessen, Van Rhijn, Van der Hoorn, Denswil, Blind, Poulsen (Riedewald 63), De Jong (Bojan 63), Klaassen, Duarte (Andersen 78), Sigthórsson, De Sa.

SUBS NOT USED: Vermeer, Veltman, Moisander, Kishna.

GOALS: Klaassen 82.

BOOKINGS: Poulsen 27, Denswil 48.

AZ-Liberec

AZ ALKMAAR 1-1 SLOVAN LIBEREC

(AZ win 2-1 on agg)

Dick Advocaat’s AZ Alkmaar had no problem reaching the last 16 with another win over Czech side Slovan Liberec. Alkmaar will now face a two-legged affair with Russian side Anzhi in the next round, as the last remaining Eredivisie side in European competition this season.

Advocaat’s side dominated early proceedings and should have been a goal to the good in the first 15 minutes when Etienne Reijnen emerged down the right but his pass was blasted over the crossbar by US striker Aron Jóhannsson.

The hosts took a 19th minute lead with Nick Viergever, scorer from the first leg, notching again. The defender lost his marker to nod home a Nemanja Gudelj corner to give his side a 2-0 aggregate lead.

Yevhen Budnik scored from close range on 77 minutes to level the game up, but the Czechs were unable to find a late winner to progress onto the last 16.

AZ are still yet to be defeated in the Europa League this season but face a tough trip to Russia to face Anzhi, who has not been performing well in the Russian Premier League this season.

TEAMS

AZ: Esteban, Reijnen, Gouweleeuw, Wuytens, Viergever, Gudelj, Ortiz, Elm, Gudmundsson, Jóhannsson (Lewis 75), Beerens (Poulsen 87).

SUBS NOT USED: De Winter, Johansson, Gorter, Henriksen, Berghuis.

GOALS: Viergever 19.

BOOKINGS: Gouweleeuw 48, Viergever 63, Lewis 79.

LIBEREC: Hrosso, Coufal, Kovac, Rajnoch, Fleisman, Sural, Jarolim (Pimpara 69), Rybalka, Frydek (Dijka 31), Pavelka, Budnik (Kolar 83).

SUBS NOT USED: Kovar, Karisik, Pokorny, Novotny.

GOALS: Budnik 72.

BOOKINGS: Sural 41, Coufal 44, Budnik 68.

Name-WillBurns

Click the name above to follow Will on Twitter.

TotalDutchFootball.com    WorldFootballWeekly.com

EUROPA LEAGUE BETTING TIPS – SALZBURG vs. AJAX & AZ ALKMAAR vs. LIBEREC

Header-EuropaLeaguePreview

Tipster Will Burns takes a look at the upcoming fixtures involving AZ and Ajax in the Europa League Round of 32 first-legs below. Good luck if your having a punt, and please click on one of our sponsors to have a bet to help us pay the bills. All Will’s tips are over EVENS so you can get yourself some value in the markets.

THURSDAY 27TH FEBRUARY 2014

ROUND OF 32 MATCHES – FIRST LEGS

Salzburg-Ajax

AJAX vs. RED BULL SALZBURG (20:05 GMT)

Ajax head to Salzburg on Thursday with nothing to lose – as of now, they are three goals down and out of the competition after last week’s demolition – so Frank de Boer side needs to go for goals and try to win by four clear goals to qualify for the next round.

Can they do it? No. Why? Simply because no team can stop Red Bull Salzburg from scoring on recent form and I really cannot see them conceding four at home either. Die Roten Bullen have now won all of their last eleven matches, scoring a massive 35 goals while now leading the Austrian Bundesliga by 19 points and on Thursday night, I can see them notching at least another two past De Boer’s men.

Last week Salzburg tore Ajax apart with goals from Spaniard Jonathan Soriano (2) and Senegalese winger Sadio Mané and at the weekend, they blasted six past Admira with Brazilian Alan coming on at half-time and notching a hat-trick, as you do…

Lets look for another goal fest and with BetVictor offering a massive 8/5, it’s a price not be ignored especially given the past attacking form of these two sides.

BURNS’ BEST BET: Over 3.5 Goals (8/5 – BetVictor) – Click to take advantage of our deal that will get you £25 free bets for all new customers.

AZ-Liberec

AZ ALKMAAR vs. SLOVAN LIBEREC (20:00 GMT)

AZ Alkmaar will look to ensure coach Dick Advocaat has reason to remember his 100th European competition game as a coach fondly as Slovan Liberec visit the Netherlands on Thursday night.

Advocaat was named AZ coach on 16 October last year, returning to the club where he spent five months in charge at the end of 2009/10. Twice Oranje national coach, he won the 2007/08 UEFA Cup with Zenit, as well as domestic championships titles with PSV Eindhoven, Rangers and the Russians.

Even with a manager with such credentials leading the way, this will be a tough test in more ways than one for AZ. Liberec have been known to dish out some physical punishment while progressing in the Europa League. So far in this year’s competition, The Czech side have committed 142 fouls since the start of the group stage, 23 more than any other side.

Last Thursday, Alkmaar left Liberec with a narrow 1-0 win, thanks to Nick Viergever’s opportunistic late winner. The first leg was a close affair until Viergever’s timely intervention to secure the spoils for the Eredivisie club.

I see the second leg are being tight with the game ending in a draw which has been priced at 10/3 by our partners at Bet365. 

BURNS’ BEST BET: Draw (10/3 – Bet365) – – Click here to bet on this market and get up to £200 in free bets.

Name-WillBurns

Click the name above to follow Will on Twitter.

TotalDutchFootball.com    WorldFootballWeekly.com

AZ win as Salzburg smash Ajax

Header-EuropaLeagueReport

The last two remaining Dutch sides in European football were in action this evening with one of them looking incredibly likely to be heading out, the other held strong and gained a great away win.

Thursday 20th February 2014

SlovanLiberec-AZAlkmaar

SLOVAN LIBEREC 0-1 AZ ALKMAAR

A late Nick Viergever goal gave AZ Alkmaar the advantage in the first leg of their Europa League Round of 32 tie against Czech side Slovan Liberec.

Viergever gives AZ upper hand at Liberec

The Czech side currently sixth in the Gambrinus Liga, were made to pay for an 88th minute mix-up between defence and goalkeeper from a Nemanja Gudelj free-kick and defender Nick Viergever was on hand to prod the ball home into the empty net.

It is a slender lead taken out of a poor match and Dick Advocaat will look to his side to dominate at the AFAS Stadion next Thursday night when the Czechs travel to Alkmaar for the return leg.

TEAMS

LIBEREC: Kovar, Coufal, Kovac, Rajnoch, Fleisman, Sural, Sackey, Rybalka, Frydek, Pavelka, Budnik (Pimpara 86).

SUBS NOT USED: Hrosso, Karisik, Jarolim, Dijka, Kolar, Pokorny.

GOALS: None.

BOOKINGS: Sackey 45+1, Rybalka 88.

AZ: Esteban, Reijnen, Gouweleeuw, Wuytens, Viergever, Gudelj, Ortiz, Elm, Gudmundsson, Johansson, Beerens.

SUBS NOT USED: De Winter, Johansson, Gorter, Poulsen, Henriksen, Berghuis, Avdic.

GOALS: Viergever 88.

BOOKINGS: Reijnen 57, Wuytens 90+2.

Ajax-RedBullSalzburg

AJAX 0-3 RED BULL SALZBURG

Frank de Boer and Ajax were left totally embarrassed by an impressive Red Bull Salzburg who totally deserved their 3-0 win.

Salzburg manager Roger Schmidt declared in yesterday’s press conference that he was coming to Amsterdam to win the game and from the very first whistle you could see the Austrian’s intentions. The far superior Die Roten Bullens stampeded De Boer’s side into the ground and did not let the creators of Total Football play their game.

Before the kick-off, after been previously named in the starting line-up, Danish midfielder Lasse Schöne, the hat-trick hero from the weekend win over Heerenveen, went over on his ankle in the pre-match warm up and was forced to be replaced in the eleven by Icelandic forward Kolbeinn Sigthórsson.

Schmidt’s men fired out of the blocks and should have been in the lead after just three minutes of play. A well worked free-kick from the Austrians gifted the unmarked Brazilian Andre Ramalho at the back post with a golden opportunity to hit home the first goal. However, it was a huge let off for Ajax as the Brazilian sliced his volley well over the bar.

The Amsterdammers were rattled from the off and the defensive frailties showed after 13 minutes when Joël Veltman clumsily gave away a penalty for a foul in the area on Brazilian striker Alan. Spanish striker Jonathan Soriano stepped up and sent Jasper Cillessen the wrong way.

Ajax looked awful giving the ball away under constant pressure from the visitors and on 21 minutes, Salzburg winger Sadio Mané doubled the lead. Bojan lost the ball just his opponents half after a strong challenge from Martin Hinteregger and Kevin Kampl picked up the ball. The Slovenian midfielder spotted Mane’s run through the middle and lobbed the ball over to the Senegal winger. Mane easily outsprinted Moisander to reach the ball and skip past Cillessen to make it 2-0.

De Boer sat on the touchline looking like he wanted to ground to swallow him up but it was only to get worse for the Ajax coach. It was an unbelievable moment on 35 minutes as former Barcelona B striker Soriano notched his second goal with an audacious effort and a serious contender for ‘Goal of the Season’. The Spaniard retrieved the ball from Ricardo van Rhijn and observed Cillessen off his line. The goalkeeper, hoping to be selected as the Oranje number one for the upcoming World Cup, did not do himself any favours in front of Louis van Gaal when Soriano shot from the halfway line. The effort was perfect, Cillessen scurried back and leaped to push the ball away, but the Spaniards shot dipped under the cross bar as the Ajax fans sat in shock.

The second-half did not change for the hosts and the team looked out of ideas as Salzburg pressurized the Eredivisie champions into mistake after mistake but at least one positive to come out was that the goals stopped.

It was a pitiful performance from Ajax and they did not even get their first shot on target until three minutes into stoppage time at the end of the second half. Many of De Boer’s stars failed to turn up, De Jong, Klaassen and Sigthórsson were ineffectual, Lerin Duarte looked a shadow of his performances for Heracles this time last year, defensive duo Niclas Moisander and Veltman looked shaky throughout. This game certainly opened up some problems that the coach may need to face in the coming weeks.

They will need at least a 4-0 win over in Austria next Thursday but from this display you would find it hard to see them defeating AZ Alkmaar in the league on Sunday.

TEAMS

AJAX: Cillessen, Van Rhijn, Veltman, Moisander, Duarte (Poulsen 60), Klaassen (Andersen 81), Blind, De Jong, Sigthórsson (Kishna 60), Bojan, Fischer.

SUBS NOT USED: Vermeer, Denswil, Riedewald.

GOALS: None.

BOOKINGS: Veltman 13, De Jong 27, Blind 77.

SALZBURG: Gulácsi, Schwegler, Ulmer, Hinteregger, Ramalho, Mané, Ilsanke, Leitgeb (Berisha 83), Kampl (Svento 88), Soriano (Zulj 77), Alan.

SUBS NOT USED: Walke, Klien, Meilinger, Schiemer.

GOALS: Soriano 14P, 35, Mané 21.

BOOKINGS: Leitgeb 19, Hinteregger 42.

Name-WillBurns

Click the name above to follow Will on Twitter.

TotalDutchFootball.com    WorldFootballWeekly.com

EUROPA LEAGUE BETTING TIPS – AJAX vs. SALZBURG & LIBEREC vs. AZ ALKMAAR

Header-EuropaLeaguePreview

Tipster Will Burns takes a look at the upcoming fixtures involving AZ and Ajax in the Europa League Round of 32 first-legs below. Good luck if your having a punt, and please click on one of our sponsors to have a bet to help us pay the bills. All Will’s tips are over EVENS so you can get yourself some value in the markets.

THURSDAY 20TH FEBRUARY 2014

ROUND OF 32 MATCHES – FIRST LEGS

Ajax-RedBullSalzburg

AJAX vs. RED BULL SALZBURG (20:05 GMT)

Dutch league leaders Ajax resume their Europa League campaign with huge confidence at home to Red Bull Salzburg on Thursday night as Frank de Boer’s side are now unbeaten in their past 17 competitive matches, dating right back to November last year.

Ahead of hosting the Austrian side to Amsterdam ArenA for the first leg of this round-of-32 tie, the Amsterdammers thrashed Heerenveen by three goals this past weekend. Danish midfielder Lasse Schöne scored a hat-trick in Sunday’s game including two spot-kicks as the defending Eredivisie champions continued their impressive form. With the talents of Davy Klaassen, Kolbeinn Sigþórsson, Schone and Siem de Jong, De Boer has the talent at his disposal to go far in the Europa League.

They face a huge test on Thursday in Salzburg, who are also in impressive form ahead of the first leg. Die Roten Bullen  have won all of their last nine matches, scoring a massive 26 goals while going on to hold a 17 point lead at the top of the Austrian Bundesliga. The profilic strike partnership of Brazilian Alan (18 goals) and Spaniard Jonathan Soriano (17) has been the key to Salzburg’s success this term. The pair each scored a hat-trick in Salzburg’s last home game, a 6-0 win over SV Grödig.

The best bet will be Over 3.5 Goals in this game which Betfair are currently offering at 6/4. I cannot see Ajax losing but the attacking prowess of both sides could see plenty of goals.

BURNS’ BEST BET: Over 3.5 Goals (6/4 – Betfair) – Click here to bet on this market.

SlovanLiberec-AZAlkmaar

SLOVAN LIBEREC vs. AZ ALKMAAR (18:00 GMT)

AZ Alkmaar travel to Liberec to face Slovan who, due to the Czech football winter break, have not played a competitive football match since the 12th of December, a Europa League win away to Estoril. The Czech side are also not in great form with their last league victory being at the end of September.

On a positive note for Liberec, they are undefeated in ten of their last 11 Europa League matches with Dick Advocaat’s AZ are undefeated in their last six in the competition. Sitting seventh in the Eredivisie, AZ have not being convincing since returning from their winter break, with two wins, two defeats and a draw.

I can see the Dutch side coming away with an away goal here but also conceding so I think the draw will be the best and safest bet here. Our friends at Bet Victor are offering a great 5/2 for the teams to be level at full-time.

BURNS’ BEST BET: Draw (5/2 – Bet Victor) – Click here to bet on this market.

Name-WillBurns

Click the name above to follow Will on Twitter.

TotalDutchFootball.com    WorldFootballWeekly.com