While their last game went in the favour of Real Madrid, it was far from an easy victory and the Spanish side looked lucky to escape with an advantage. With that in mind, and considering that both stand in relatively similar places in their respective leagues – that is, just below the top spot –, you can make an argument for Ajax being quite underrated here.
That is especially true as the team from the Netherlands are closer to that elusive number one position in the Eredivisie than Real Madrid are in La Liga. Plus, they have arguably had the finer form in recent months. Are commenters, therefore, overlooking their attributes in favour of the home team’s bigger name value. Or are they on the nose with the consensus being a decisive Real Madrid victory? We won’t have to wait long to find out.
Real Madrid vs Ajax Prediction: Real Madrid 2-0 Ajax
While we think Ajax do have the ability to beat Real Madrid – proving every bit their equal in their last encounter –, we don’t think they’ll have enough to topple such a well-rounded team with that goal deficit. This will allow Real Madrid both a psychological and strategic advantage, and we think that they have the skills and the experience to take full advantage of this situation.
That being said though, we doubt Ajax will go down without a fight. With that in mind, we think a cagey and cunning Real Madrid will manage to escape from this clash with a scoreline of 2-0.
Our recommended tip: Real Madrid win
Currently sitting in third place of the La Liga standings, Real Madrid comes into this contest as the clear favourites. The home team have a 59% win probability to Ajax’s 18% – with a draw being more likely than an away win at 23%. This advantage is also clear in the bookmaker odds, with Ladbrokes giving Ajax match odds of 18/5 compared to the much lower risk 8/13 odds on a home victory. Therefore, for your best chance of earning a return on your investment, we recommend that you place a wager on Real Madrid to win.
A key reason for our scoreline prediction and an explanation for the difference in odds – which may initially seem a little unfairly weighted in the favour of Real Madrid – is the teams’ head-to-head history. Ajax have never beaten Real Madrid in the seven times they’ve faced off in this tournament. They lost by 4-1 twice in 2012, fell by 3-0 twice in 2011 and were defeated 4-0 and 2-0 in 2010.
Actually, their most recent 2-1 loss was the closest they’ve come to toppling the Spanish giants. It will be harder now with the added pressure, and with the knowledge that history is not on their side.
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Players to watch: Karim Benzema & Dušan Tadić
Many commenters thought the comfort of a goal advantage mixed with recent dual losses to Barcelona – which knocked them out of the Copa del Rey and mathematically eliminated them from the possibility of winning the La Liga – would leave the team deflated and playing more conservatively. However, that’s simply not Real Madrid’s style. Instead, we hope to see them do what they do best and that’s score goals. Speaking of which, there’s no one better to do just that than Karim Benzema.
If Real Madrid are going to come out all guns blazing, then Ajax will have to fight fire with fire, and Dušan Tadić proved in their last encounter that he is the man for the job. The brilliant goalscorer came inches from making the difference in the first leg – hitting the post – and connected the team beautifully with several key passes. An all-rounder with a killer instinct, he is exactly what Ajax needs.