Ajax and Real Madrid have won 13 European Cups between them but it’s a sign of the times that only one of these two great football institutions are now even considered to be among the continent’s elite.
Madrid may not have won the Champions League for ten years but it’s been even longer since the last truly great Ajax side was deconstructed following back-to-back finals in 1995 and 1996 and any repeat of those successes looks unlikely in the foreseeable future.
Bwin have the Amsterdam club at a massive 750/1 to scoop a fifth European Cup at Wembley in May in a bet which should only appeal to the clinically insane and even 13/1 for them to progress from Group D is best avoided.
Gone are the days when a trip to face Ajax would have been one of the most perilous pilgrimages in the competition and certainly the Amsterdam Arena holds few ill memories for Madrid.
It was here in 1998 that Pedrag Mijatovic’s goal downed Juventus for Los Blancos’ seventh European Cup triumph and in the last two seasons in the group stages, Mourinho’s men have waltzed off with a pair of victories over Ajax with seven goals scored and none conceded.
Overall in four meetings in the past 24 months it’s four wins to Real at an aggregate score of 12-0 and there isn’t much to suggest the status quo will change tonight.
After a rusty beginning to the campaign, Los Galacticos have sparkled since their late two-goal comeback against Manchester City on matchday one and ten goals in their last three outings suggests the La Liga champions are back to their free-flowing best.
By contrast, it’s been a stodgy start for Frank de Boer’s Eredivisie holders, who have only won four and drawn three of their seven league games and went down 1-0 away to Borussia Dortmund a fortnight ago.
In all truth it’ll be a tough ask for Ajax to get out of Group D with trips to Manchester and Madrid to follow and it’s imperative they pick up points at home if their European excursions are to continue after Christmas.
But this Ajax side do not have the stardust of yore provided by Johan Cruyff, Johan Neeskens or Johnny Rep to call upon and man for man, they pale into insignificance compared to the mighty Madrid.
This meeting of two of Europe’s most decorated club sides has evolved into yet another mismatch between the best and the rest and I reckon this assertion will be brutally hammered home by the end of the evening.
Bwin’s 3way betting market has Madrid as massive 12/25 favourites, with Ajax way adrift at 5/1 and the draw at 17/5, but leave these prices aside for one moment because I have identified ways you can make more bang for your buck from the Real win.
Given that Madrid are 12/25 to pick up the three points you should be looking for ways to get up to at least evens to make your punt worthwhile.
Real to win by two goals or more fits the bill at 23/20 and Real to prevail in a game of under 3.5 goals is surprisingly long at 33/20, suggesting the bwin bookmakers – like me – are expecting goals.
Cristiano Ronaldo and company have definitely got more than one goal in them but where you go with your punt depends on whether you reckon De Boer’s boys can register themselves.
If you do, then the multiple correct score of 2-1, 3-1 or 4-1 to Real Madrid is worth a look at 29/10, but if not, then jump on a 1-0, 2-0 or 3-0 Real triumph and still more than treble your money at 5/2.
For all the value in those selections, I’m going for Real Madrid to win both halves. It is a bet which would have paid off in all four of the Champions League meetings between the sides over the past couple of years and at 11/5, this punt represents great value given the visitors’ supremacy over the former Dutch masters.
Including my pursuits in the £10 to £10k challenge I’ve correctly picked 14 of my last 18 bets for bwin, so you could do worse than following my lead on Ajax-Madrid tonight.
Bwin will give you a free £20 bet when you open an account and sticking that on Real Madrid to win both halves could earn you £64.
Recommended bet: Real Madrid to win both halves @ 21/10
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