Anderlect and Ajax, the most successful clubs of their respective nations, will meet in a club friendly at Venue Lotto Park on Friday evening (18:30 UK time).
Historically these sides have only squared off six times with two of those outings being in a friendly setting. Anderlecht ran out 3-1 winners in 2018 before the Amsterdammers gained a semblance of revenge the following year by registering a 5-2 success.
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Where to watch Anderlecht vs Ajax on TV:
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Scoreline prediction: Anderlecht 1-2 Ajax
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Anderlecht vs Ajax build-up & previous line-ups
It was another challenging year for Anderlecht last time out as they finished 18 points behind Club Brugge in the regular Belgian First Division A season before ending bottom of their Play-Off I group meaning they’ll be soon entering the newly-formed Europa Conference League third qualifying round. Pre-season has started on a tentative footing with the Purple & White yet to register a win as their past three matches — against Sint Truidense, Utrecht and AZ — all respectively ended in 1-1 draws.
Preparation for their forthcoming Eredivisie title defence has got off to a good start for Ajax who are unbeaten in their previous three club friendlies before crossing the border. Erik ten Hag is still without his Euro 2020, Copa America and Gold Cup stars but has made good use of those available to him. The Amsterdammers were relentless in their domestic competition last season. En route to claiming a record-extending 35th championship de Godenzonen bagged 102 goals whilst conceding just 23 times meaning they simultaneously boasted the league’s best offence and defence.
- Anderlecht (vs AZ): Van Crombrugge; Sardella, Hoedt, Harwood-Bellis, Gomez; Cullen, Ait El Hadj; Amuzu, Ashimeru, Verschaeren; Kiese Thelin.
- Ajax (vs Paderborn): Gorter; Mazraoui, Schuurs, Magallan, Baas; Kudus, Taylor, Jensen; Neres, Haller, Tadic.
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Player to watch: Mohammed Kudus (Ajax)
Someone who is benefiting from Ajax’s absent international stars is Ghanian box-to-box midfielder Mohammed Kudus who joined last summer but a serious knee injury would curtail his promising start. The 20-year-old returned to action in the backend of last season but couldn’t hold down a regular starting berth with Ten Hag instead utilising him more often than not from the bench. Kudus, though, has been an ever-present in pre-season and is showing glimpses of why the Amsterdammers parted with a reported €9m for him. If he continues putting down these undroppable performances then Ten Hag will have a pleasant headache heading into the new season.