PAOK Thessaloniki vs Ajax for the Champions League qualifying match on Tuesday at Toumba Stadium.
They made history last season in the Champions League a few months ago, but now Ajax has a tough road to the group stage. Ajax should be considered among Europe’s elite once again. However, the Dutch giants are victims of the Eredivisie standings.
The hosts may have won the Greek title last year, but they will need to work hard if they want to have an impact on the match. They enter this game with a horrible record in Europe competitions. They won just one of the Europa League group matches last season, losing five of the six.
This came after a failed attempt to reach the group stage of the Champions League, which prevented them from playing against Benfica and Ajax in the group stage.
Ajax enjoyed a remarkable European race last season while regaining control of the Dutch title. They played in an attractive style that earned them a lot of praise, but that was based on the incredibly talented players who left this summer.
The Dutch side has a real defensive problem, with Ligt a difficult man to replace. Ajax has brought three new players this summer; Edson Alvarez from Mexico, Lisandro Martinez from Argentina, and Kik Pierie, 18 years old. These could be an opportunity for PAOK.
PAOK should fight and try to achieve a good result at home, but they will find an Ajax team that likes to attack and counter-attack and has more than enough arguments to win and beat this opponent. Despite playing away, Ajax is clearly the favourites to win the match and will want to gain an advantage in this round.
My bet is Ajax’s draw.