Ajax look to make return after four years, while new club MOL want to make history
The return of the UEFA Champions League – seen as the greatest club competition on the planet – is almost upon us once again. The group stages of the tournament will kick off in September, with the final places to be decided by play-off this coming week.
First things first
Before you go any further, head on over to the Oddsshark website, look for your favourite betting site and get your account up and running via your credit card. As a new customer and with the UEFA Champions League group stages set to get underway next month, there should be a whole host of promotions and offers available to you.
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Young Boys, who won the Swiss Super League for the first time in over three decades last season, have one more hurdle to clear if they are to reach the lucrative group stages. This coming Wednesday (22 August), they welcome Dinamo Zagreb to Zurich in what looks a mouth-wateringties between two teams who are in excellent form.
The Croatian club include no fewer than 14 players who were part of the national team’s World Cup squad and who made it all the way to the final. However, they have since sold three key players including Ante Coric to Italian giants AS Roma, a move which may well hand Young Boys the advantage for this one.
And looking at the odds, it is very much Young Boys who appear to be in the driving seat. The Swiss club are at just 1.66 to qualify over the course of the two legs, while you could more than double your money by backing Dinamo to progress at 2.10, according to Oddsshark.
And looking at this first leg tie, Young Boys are clear favourites to pick up an advantage ahead of the return reencounter at 1.72, with Dinamo out at 4.50 to pick up an away victory. A 2-0 win for the home side is priced at 9;00, offering close to a ten-fold return on any investment.
Ajax make push for Champions League place
Four-time European champions Ajax have now taken a four-year hiatus from Europe’s premier club competition. However, that could well be about to end as they are set to welcome Ukrainian side Dynamo Kiev to Amsterdam for the first leg of their play-off tie.
And there may well be goals in this one. These two sides last met close to 20 years ago, in the Champions League back in 2000. Both teams scored in each of the two games.
And the Dutch side are also unbeaten in their last five home Champions League games, and are the favourites in this tie as well. Ajax are at just 1.66 to pick up a crucial first leg win, with visitors Dynamo further out at 5.00 to collect an away win – a draw is priced in the middle at 3.80 – comfortable, 2-0 win for Ajax is priced competitively at 7.50.
The odds for which team will qualify over the two legs is closer, however. Ajax remain the favourites, at 1.61, to reach the group stages, but you can more than double your money by backing Dynamo at 2.20.
MOL and AEK meet for the first time
And finally, Hungarian club MOL Vidi welcome Greek league champions AEK Athens to Budapest for the first leg of their play-off tie. Defensively solid and unbeaten in their last 10 matches across all competitions, MOL will fancy their chances of causing an upset, at least on home soil in this first leg clash.
AEK, meanwhile, do not start their title defence until this coming weekend, but they showed very little ring rust as they saw their way past Scottish champions Glasgow Celtic in the previous qualifying round. The Greek champions have not been in the group stages of the Champions League in over a decade, meaning we will have a new face regardless of the winner of this tie.
And it is AEK who are the clear favourites to make it through the two legs. Again, taking a straightforward bet on who will qualify, AEK are at the short price of just 1.22, while MOL fin d themselves out at 4.00 to progress.
And despite being at home in this first leg, MOL continue to be seen as the underdogs. The Hungarian side are out at 3.50 to pick up a win, with AEK again shorter at 2.20 – a draw is at 3.10, while you can back a goalless draw at the price of 6.50.
UEFA Champions League qualifying first leg ties:
(1.66) Ajax x Dynamo Kiev (5.00); draw (3.80)
(3.50) MOL x AEK (2.20); draw (3.10)
(1.72) Young Boys x Dinamo Zagreb (4.50); draw (3.80)