Ajax vs Nice predictions for Wednesday’s Champions League clash in the Netherlands. Dutch runners up Ajax host Nice in the Champions League 3rd round qualifiers. Read on for our free predictions and betting tips!
European competition veterans Ajax hold the away goal advantage in the 1-1 aggregate scoreline ahead of this Wednesday’s match at home to Nice. And what can we say five matches into new-coach Marcel Keizer’s leadership? Ajax’s pre-season has been,to be blunt, underwhelming, both on and off the pitch. One win, two draws and two losses from five club friendlies isn’t the best way to kick-off a managerial career and only a handful of signings, such as, former-Schalke striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, have been made in response to a few bigger transfers out, such as that of attacking-midfielder Davy Klaassen to Everton.
Meanwhile, with four wins from five and averaging 2.6 goals scored per match, coach Lucien Favre will no doubt consider Nice’s pre-season a success. The French side have continued to impress, despite losing two key players since the end of last season – both Ricardo Pereira and Younes Belhanda have returned to their clubs after loan spells. Even with the arrival of Pierre Lees Melou from Dijon, it’s clear to say that Nice are another side whose overall quality is lower than last term. Nice also have another huge problem on Wednesday. Star striker Mario Balotelli finds himself sidelined after picking up a hamstring injury during the 1st leg, so they’ll need last season’s 2nd top scorer, Alassane Plea (11 goals), who was benched for the 1st leg, to fill the role left by the Italian.
During their respective pre-seasons, both teams haven’t had much trouble finding the back of the net; Nice have scored two or more in four of their five friendlies, while Ajax have scored nine goals over their four. However, at the other end of the pitch, last season’s defensive instability – something that both Nice and Ajax struggled with – has continued, with both sides failing to keep a clean sheet almost all of their pre-season action. With both teams also getting goals against each other last week, we feel another bet on “both teams to score” is the safest choice for Wednesday.
Regarding a correct score prediction, competitively, Nice were a stubborn team to host last season. Nice have drawn in 7 of their last 14 competitive matches on the road (W5 D7 L2), with both teams scoring in 10 of these. For Ajax, home form was everything in the Eredivisie. However, the Dutchmen have been far less consistent at home in the Champions League – though against stronger teams. Four 1-1 draws over their last eight home outings in the competition means we feel that this fixture has the potential to go to extra time. As such, we feel another 1-1 draw here is a decent shout for this 2nd leg fixture.