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UEFA Europa League

Ajax Amsterdam vs Manchester United: Champions League place on the line

14:08 IST 24/05/2017
Paul Pogba Manchester United Europa League
Stockholm the setting for a throwback final between two of club football's great sides

Ajax won the Champions League in 1995 and were losing finalists the following year, but haven't reached a major European final since. Tonight they will break that drought against José Mourinho's Manchester United who play their 64th match of a grueling season and ultimately the 90 minutes on which their entire campaign will be judged.

Ivorian centre back Eric Bailly won't take any part for the Red Devils through suspension. He'll be joined in the stands by star man Zlatan, who will not enjoy missing out on the limelight in his native Sweden. Nick Viergever is suspended for Ajax and deputy left back Daley Sinkgraven is also out with a knee problem.

Ajax’s form away from the Amsterdam Arena is cause for concern but the team are playing the ‘Ajax Way’ instilled in them by the late, great Johan Cruyff. This style should make for a fascinating contrast with Mourinho’s methodical approach in big games.

It's bound to be an emotional evening for so many reasons when two greats of yesteryear lock horns in a glittering final.     

Team News

Ajax Amsterdam

Ruled out: Sinkgraven

Suspended: Viergever

Likely starting XI (4-3-3): Onana; Veltman, Sánchez, Ligt, Riedewald; Klaassen, Schöne, Ziyech; Traoré, Dolberg, Younes

Manchester United

Ruled out: Ibrahimovic, Rojo, Shaw, Young, Fosu-Mensah

Doubtful: Fellaini, Smalling

Suspended: Bailly

Likely starting XI (4-3-3): De Gea; Valencia, Jones, Blind, Darmian; Carrick, Herrera, Pogba; Lingard, Rashford, Mkhitaryan

Key Men

Danish teenager Kasper Dolberg is being courted by a host of top European clubs and it’s unlikely that Ajax will be able to hold on to their star striker. Ajax’s number 25 has scored 6 times in this season’s Europa League; manager Peter Bosz will be counting on Dolberg to add to that tally tonight in the game that matters most. If anyone has the ability to find the Dane with an accurate killer pass, it’s Moroccan playmaker Hakim Ziyech. The flamboyant leftie has created 4 goals for teammates so far in the Europa league this season.

Manchester United shelled out a world record fee for Paul Pogba. The ex-Juventus man has started to turn out eye-catching displays for Mourinho’s men and there would be no better time for the talented Frenchman to stamp his authority on a game quite like tonight. While Pogba seeks to cause damage in the final third, midfield metronome Michael Carrick will try to dictate the tempo of the game from deep-lying areas. The experienced Englishman will be key if United are to keep hold of the ball and wear Ajax down.

Key Match Stats

Ajax are 1 of only 4 clubs to have won all 3 major European trophies.

Manchester United are undefeated in their last 10 Europa League matches.

This is the third meeting between Dutch and English sides in a major final.

José Mourinho has won all 6 of his meetings with Ajax as a manager.

Ajax’s last success in a European final was in 1995 when Patrick Kluivert lifted the trophy.

Kluivert’s son Justin could feature tonight for Ajax.

Ajax and Manchester United square off in a competitive match tonight for the first time since 2012.

Key Picks

Back Ajax on ClickaBet at 3.98 to win the Europa League Final tonight against Manchester United on what is bound to be an emotional evening in Stockholm.