Our prediction for this Europa League match:
There will be fireworks when AZ Alkmaar and Celtic square off against each other at AFAS Stadion on Thursday evening. AZ were not in action in the Eredivisie at the weekend, meaning that tired legs are unlikely to prove to be a big problem for the home team. Anyhow, we are positive that the Dutch outfit will go all guns blazing at the Hoops in the return leg. AZ boss Pascal Jansen should stick to the 4-3-3 formation, with Vangelis Pavlidis up front as a lone forward.
Celtic, on the other hand, are on a quest to defend their two-goal lead at AFAS Stadion. Considering that the Hoops have been impressive in front of goal in all competitions at the start of the season, we are tempted to put our money on both teams to score. AZ defenders should have David Turnbull at bay as he scored a hat-trick in the crushing of St. Mirren at the weekend. All Dembele, Johnston, and Jullien are likely to miss the game with injuries.
Highlighted Player (Jordy Clasie):
Jordy Clasie is a product of the Feyenoord youth academy who plays for AZ Alkmaar as a midfielder. His main position is defensive midfield, but he is capable of producing fine displays as both central midfielder and centre-back as well.
Clasie played for the likes of Feyenoord, Excelsior (loan), Southampton, and Club Brugge (loan) before returning to Rotterdam. After ending his second spell with Feyenoord, the Dutch footballer joined AZ Alkmaar in the summer of 2019. He made his AZ debut in the Eredivisie on August 4, 2019 in a 4-0 win over Fortuna Sittard.
Jordie Clasie has 12 caps with the Netherlands U21 team, and he made his senior debut in a 1-1 draw with Italy on February 6, 2013. Thanks to his elegant style of play, Clasie has earned the nickname of “Dutch Xavi”. The AZ Alkmaar midfielder was born in Haarlem, Netherlands on June 27, 1991.
Highlighted Team (Celtic):
The Celtic Football Club boasts a proud over 100-year long history which has made The Bhoys a global brand thanks to their unprecedented social awareness that dates to the very beginnings of this Scottish club. Celtic was founded in 1887 with the purpose of alleviating poverty in the immigrant Irish population in the East End of Glasgow by raising money to help their fellow citizens.
The charity legacy continues to this day with Celtic still preserving their charitable traditions through the Celtic FC Foundation. The Celts play their home matches at Celtic Park in front of 60,000 people. One of the two most successful football clubs in Scotland with 47 Scottish League Championship titles to their name, Celtic have a long-standing fierce rivalry with Rangers, with the clubs known as the Old Firm.
European Cup winners from season 1966-67 and runners-up two years later, Celtic have been regular in European competitions since their first appearance in 1962-63. Their other most standout results have been runners-up in the EUFA Cup in 2003 and Intercontinental Cup in 1967.