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In-form Rosenborg can make their mark

Slow-starting Ajax are too short in Amsterdam

Rosenborg striker Nicklas Bendtner (9) is challenged by Celtic’s Jozo Simunovic in a Champions League qualifier last month
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Europa League playoff round first leg
7.45pm, Thursday

Ajax could do with a lift after a few tricky weeks but they may not find Rosenborg obliging guests in the Europa League.

Both of these teams have arrived in Europe's secondary competition courtesy of third-qualifying-round flops in the Champions League. Ajax were beaten on away goals by Nice after a pair of draws while Rosenborg lost 1-0 to Celtic.

Ajax have had a poor summer. Their pre-season results under new boss Marcel Keizer weren't good, Davy Klaassen wandered off to Everton and player of the year, centre-back Davinson Sanchez, is trying to engineer a move to Spurs. He is in the squad to face Rosenborg but midfielder Daley Sinkgraven is injured.

To compound their problems, Ajax kicked off their Eredivisie campaign at the weekend with a stunning 2-1 defeat at Heracles.

Clearly all is not well in Amsterdam and Rosenborg are good enough to make it an awkward night for the team who lost 2-0 to Manchester United in the Europa League final in May.

The Norwegians defended well over two games against Celtic in the Champions League and boast a threat of their own up front with ex-Arsenal ace Nicklas Bendtner enjoying his best scoring season for a decade.

They are the clear leaders in Norway, are deep into their season and playing as a unit, and have won three in a row since the defeat by Celtic. They definitely possess the tools and the quality to run Ajax close.

Recommendation
Rosenborg +1.5 on Asian handicap
2pts 7-8 bet365, 188Bet

All is not well in Amsterdam and Rosenborg are good enough to make it an awkward night for last season's Europa League finalists
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