Union Berlin will entertain Ajax at the Stadion An der Alten Forsterei in the second leg of the UEFA Europa League knockout playoffs on Thursday (February 23). The two teams drew goalless in the first leg at the Amsterdam Arena last week. Berlin then played out another goalless draw in the Bundesliga against Schalke at the weekend.
Berlin failed to make the most of Bayern Munich’s slip and are now tied for 43 points with the Bavarian giants and Borussia Dortmund atop the standings. Ajax, meanwhile, continued their fine form in Eredivisie at the weekend, beating Sparta Rotterdam 4-0 at home. Dusan Tadic bagged a brace to bring up 100 goals for the Amsterdam-based giants.
Union have enjoyed a solid run in 2023. At home, they have seen over 2.5 goals in five of their last six games. They almost bagged the winner in the first leg, which was ruled out by VAR.
Ajax, meanwhile, have seen an uptick in form in recent games but failed to score for the first time in a month in the first leg. They have scored in every away game this term, and the trend should continue.
It could be another closely contested affair just like the first leg, and the tie could be decided on penalties. Union have never qualified for the knockouts of a UEFA competition, which could be their undoing. Ajax could eke out a win on penalties.
Prediction: Union Berlin 1-1 Ajax
This match will start from 1:30 am
This match will take place on 23 February 2023
Union Berlin will be able to recall Christopher Trimmel and Janik Haberer after they sat out the first leg through suspension.
While Trimmel may have to make do with a spot on the substitutes’ bench due to the form of Josip Juranovic, Haberer may get the nod ahead of Morten Thorsby.
With Union Berlin having drawn a blank in the last two matches, Jordan Siebatcheu is in contention for a recall, but Diogo Leite will need to be assessed due to illness.
Although Heitinga is likely to line up with a similar Ajax XI to the one which started last week, Davy Klaassen is an option in central midfield.
Brian Brobbey will also come into the thinking of Heitinga, but he is more likely to remain among the replacements.
Ronnow; Doekhi, Knoche, Leite; Juranovic, Laidouni, Khedira, Haberer, Roussillon; Behrens, Becker
Rulli; Rensch, Timber, Bassey, Wijndal; Alvarez, Taylor; Berghuis, Kudus, Bergwijn; Tadic
We say: Union Berlin 2-1 Ajax
With Ajax scoring goals for fun on the domestic front, they will believe that it can be transferred over to continental action. However, Union Berlin are stronger than any team in the Eredivisie, and we feel that will show as they edge their way through to the last 16.
Tip 1: Result – Draw (Ajax to win on penalties)
Tip 2: Goals – Over/Under 2.5 Goals – Under 2.5
Tip 3: At least a goal to be scored in the first half – Yes
Tip 4: Dusan Tadic to score or assist any time – Yes
Our analysis of all available data, including recent performances and player stats, suggests the most likely outcome of this match is a Ajax win with a probability of 54.36%. A win for Union Berlin has a probability of 23.54% and a draw has a probability of 22.1%.
The most likely scoreline for an Ajax win is 1-2 with a probability of 9.77%. The next most likely scorelines for that outcome are 0-1 (8.42%) and 0-2 (8.13%). The likeliest Union Berlin win is 2-1 (6.08%), while for a drawn scoreline it is 1-1 (10.11%).
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