Real Madrid have been drawn in the same group as Ajax in the Champions League for the second year running. Jose Mourinho’s men travel to the Amsterdam Arena for their first away fixture of the competition (7.45pm, Wednesday, October 3).
Real Madrid look dominant, powerful and committed in the important, high-profile games in the season. It’s against the smaller teams where they struggle. However, I’m not labelling Ajax a small team.
Real Madrid picked up their first win in this season’s Champions League against Manchester City in the opening week of the competition. It was a real edge-of-your-seat encounter that highlighted both the positive and negative sides of Real Madrid this season.
They beat Deportivo 5-1 at home on the weekend, a performance that was much more fitting of their title-winning season of last year. It was a game which saw Cristiano Ronaldo bag a hat trick and Angel Di Maria get his first goal of the season. Kaka, Luka Modric and Xabi Alonso also had good performances on Sunday night.
But I don’t expect another big winning margin for Madrid against Ajax this Wednesday. Last season Madrid won there 3-0 with two goals from Jose Callejon and one from Gonzalo Higuain. The Spanish forward was a mainstay in the starting XI for Mourinho during the group stages last season.
Real Madrid are 4/1 to lift the Champions
League trophy, while Ajax are 500/1:
See full Champions League outright betting here
Mourinho also opted to select Raphael Varane on the weekend at centre-back over the much more experienced Sergio Ramos. Ramos meanwhile moved to the right-back spot for the game. If Varane starts on Wednesday night that will be his second consecutive start in the Champions League for Madrid this season.
Madrid’s opponents Ajax have been looking good this season, remaining unbeaten and sitting third in the Dutch league with 15 points. Frank de Boer has really turned things around for the Amsterdam club since he took over two seasons ago.
Ajax beat league leaders FC Twente 1-0 on the weekend at home, with Christian Eriksen getting the only goal. As always, the promising midfielder will be one of Ajax’s key danger men.
Mourinho will surely be opting to maintain a good grip on the midfield with Xabi Alonso back in the starting line-up, partnered by Sami Khedira.
Siem de Jong, the captain of Ajax, is also a very good midfield player. He’ll take up an important role in ensuring the home side see plenty of the ball. The Dutch midfielder has three goals already this season.
Ajax’s main attacking threat, Kolbeinn Sigthorsson, is out until the end of the year with a shoulder injury and is the major loss for de Boer’s team.
Ajax will want to play and certainly won’t fear Real Madrid. But I do expect the Spanish side to be too much for the Dutch champions. Jose Mourinho’s team were outstanding in the group stage last season and they’ll need to pick up three points here as their difficult group doesn’t allow for any major slip-ups.
Ajax v Real Madrid Betting Tips Conclusion
Ajax only managed six goals in the group stages of the competition last year, all of which came against Dinamo Zagreb. I expect Madrid to win but it won’t be easy and they are 4/9 to do so with the likes of Betfred, Blue Square & Ladbrokes.
- Rather than betting the heavy odds-on, perhaps a more sporting wager is to have Real Madrid to win 2-1 on the correct score betting market, which is biggest @ 15/2 with SkyBet, BetVictor and Blue Square.
- Karim Benzema will be back in the line-up for Madrid and I’m backing him to get the first goal in the game @ 11/2 with William Hill.