7 August 2019
PAOK welcome Ajax to the Toumba Stadium in Thessaloniki for the first leg of their Champions League qualifying-round three tie.
The hosts have enjoyed a purple patch of form this summer after starting their preparations with a narrow 1-0 loss to AZ Alkmaar. They have racked up a seven-game unbeaten run ahead of this clash (W5, D2), with all of those triumphs seeing PAOK beat their rivals by a multiple-goal margin. Also, six of their seven summer friendlies have produced a minimum of three goals, with five of them featuring over 3.5 goals. PAOK’s main strength at the moment is their stubborn defense that has kept a clean sheet in five of the Black-Whites’ last ten outings, restricting their opponents to a maximum of one goal per match in four of the remaining five.
Meanwhile, the visitors go into this encounter off the back of a 2-2 away draw with Vitesse in the first round of the Eredivisie fixtures. It was Ajax’s second consecutive draw following a 1-1 stalemate with Sivasspor in a friendly meeting. Still, the Lancers have managed to live up to expectations in their first competitive match this summer, outplaying arch-rivals PSV Eindhoven 2-0 in the Dutch Super Cup. What’s more, Erik ten Hag’s men are unbeaten away from home in their last eight games across all competitions (W7, D1), netting 2+ match goals five times across those matches. Also, they have allowed over 1.5 match goals just twice in the same span, with four of a total of seven goals they’ve conceded during the period coming in the first half.
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