Our prediction for this Champions League match:
Johan Cruijff Arena will host Saturday’s football game between Ajax and Groningen. Ajax have been scoring goals for fun at the start of the new Eredivisie campaign and they are certainly brimming with confidence ahead of their Champions League opener. The Amsterdammers proved their worth in the double-header against Dynamo Kiev and seeing that they are on a three-game winning run at home in the elite competition, we are tempted to put our money on the Dutch side. AEK eliminated Celtic in the play-offs, but despite the fact that the Greeks made a fine start to the season, we believe that there is a big value in betting on the hosts. The two teams meet for the first time ever in the Champions League, but we believe that fans will see a very entertaining clash at Johan Cruijff Arena.
Highlighted Player (Matthijs de Ligt):
Matthijs de Ligt is yet another product of famous Ajax football academy. After making 17 appearances for Jong Ajax, Matthijs de Ligt started playing for the senior team in 2016. The talented centre-back, who was born on August 12, 1999 in Leiderdorp (Netherlands) made his debut for the Amsterdammers on September 21, 2016 in a cup game against Willem II. Thanks to this goal Matthijs de Ligt became the second youngest goalscorer ever, behind legendary midfielder Clarence Seedorf.
In March, 2017, the Ajax defender made his debut for the Netherlands national team in a 2-0 loss to Bulgaria in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers. In 2018 he received AFC Ajax Talent of the Year award (Marco Van Basten Award). Mathiijs de Ligt’s main position is centre-back and his preferred foot is right. His contract with the Amsterdammers should expire on June 30, 2021.
In the 2016/2017 season Matthijs de Ligt and his teammates made it to the Europa League final, but Ajax were beaten by Manchester United in the title game.
Highlighted Team (AEK Athens):
Established in 1924, AEK Athens are one of a number of Greek clubs based in Athens. The Enosis (Union) are well known for their passionate fans and Original 21 are considered the club’s main supporters’ group. AEK Athens play their home games in black shirts with yellow stripes and black shorts, while they often wear gray jerseys and yellow shorts when facing their rivals on the road.
Olympic Stadium in Athens is the club’s home ground and the venue can hold up to 69.618 people. AEK share rivalries with fellow capital clubs Panathinaikos and Olympiakos and the rivalry with Olympiakos was inflamed in 1996, when AEK former ace and then-coach joined the Thrylos. AEK have 12 Greek Super League trophies, but it has to be noted that they clinched their last domestic title back in 1994.
Speaking of the Greek Cup, the Enosis won their 15th trophy in the competition in 2016, with the team beating Olympiakos in the title game. In the 1966/1967 season AEK made it to the UEFA Cup semis, but Italian giants Juventus proved to be a big catch for the Greek side.