Union Berlin vs Ajax – Analysis, Prediction, Team News
Thursday 23rd February 2023
Stadion An der Alten Forsterei
As part of our Europa League predictions, we Ajax’s visit to Berlin. Following a cagey 0-0 stalemate in which the visitors posed the greater threat, can Union finish the job? Read on with our Union Berlin vs Ajax prediction.
Royale Union SG
Ajax (CL and EL)
Union Berlin vs Ajax Match Preview
Union negotiated Group D (including Union Saint-Gilloise, Braga, and Malmo) with four 1-0 wins and two 1-0 defeats to finish second and be drawn with Ajax. Domestically, Union are doing well. Indeed, they have won five of their last six games, though the draw was at home at the weekend against rock-bottom Schalke. This result could have been better coming into this game. The fact that they travel to Bayern Munich three days after this encounter in a top-of-the-table encounter is unlucky scheduling. Indeed, being level at the top with Bayern and Dortmund on 43 points and in the quarter-finals of the German Cup, Union are challenging on three fronts.
Ajax dropped down from the Champions League after Napoli’s and Liverpool’s destructions of them consigned the Dutchmen to third (finishing there courtesy of two defeats of Rangers). Ajax are doing well under new coach Johnny Heitinga. They have won five and drew one of his games in charge. Domestically, they have won their last four league games by a combined score of 16-2. Their 4-0 win at home against Sparta Rotterdam at the weekend included goals by Tadic (2) and Kudus, and they will look to these key players to get them through this tie. Sitting in second, just three points behind Feyenoord and in the quarter-finals of the Dutch Cup, Ajax have much left to play for this season.
The first leg last week at the Johan Cruyff Arena was a cagey affair. We predicted goals with a 2-2 draw. While we got the outcome right, the game finished goalless. Union had slightly more threat, with 0.92 expected goals compared to Ajax’s 0.5. Union registered three shots on target, whereas the Dutch club could not test Ronnow with a single shot on home soil. Ajax did have the majority of the possession, with 64 per cent, and they completed almost 300 more passes than Union. However, much of it was sterile and unthreatening. Both clubs hope to show much more in attack in the Stadion An der Alten Forsterei.
Injuries and Suspensions
Might Not Play: Shcafer, Busk, Leite
Will Not Play:
Might Not Play: Sanchez
Will Not Play: Baas, Kaplan
Union Berlin vs Ajax (Predicted)
Union Berlin (3-5-2): Ronnow; Baumgartl, Knoche, Doekhi; Roussillon, Thorsby, Khedira, Laidouni, Juranovic; Behrens, Becker
Ajax (4-2-3-1): Rulli; Wijndal, Bassey, Timber, Rensch; Taylor, Alvarez; Bergwijn, Kudus, Berghuis; Tadic
This match is tough to call, as it is between two pretty good teams doing well near the top of their respective leagues and in good form. Union will look to their wing-backs and Behrens and Becker up front to create for them, which is easier said than done against a good Ajax defence.
Ajax will ask their front four to create opportunities, especially the electric Kudus with his excellent dribbling and the technically gifted Tadic. They will be supplemented in the attack by Wijndal and Rensch from full-back. Ajax will likely see more of the ball again (even on German soil), as Union are dangerous in transitions. This pattern may suit Union as they can sit deeper and counter with their pace and guile. The Germans are relatively strong defensively, so Ajax will find them challenging to break down.
Union’s scoring record has been modest recently and they have been winning matches by the odd goal. Ajax, alternatively, have been scoring goals galore. However, we must account for the weaker strength of the Eredivisie compared to the Bundesliga. Ajax have progressed from ten of their last twelve two-legged European ties against German opposition. This statistic, allied to a 60 per cent unbeaten record against German teams on German soil, are good omens. Ajax will feel confident they can progress here or at least take the tie to penalties.
Regardless, we will predict a narrow 2-1 win to Union. We considered predicting 1-1 since Union don’t score or concede many, and this game could very well go all the way to penalties. However, in our opinion, Union can just about edge a tight match, given home advantage and Ajax being a seemingly good tactical fit for them.
Union Berlin 2-1 Ajax
Union Berlin vs Ajax Betting Tip – Union Berlin Odds:
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