Match preview Midtjylland – Ajax: a tactical analysis

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On Tuesday evening Ajax faces FC Midtjylland in the UEFA Champions League, a match that has to be won in order to keep hopes of survival in the UCL. What do we know about the Danish club? We wrote a tactical analysis of Midtjylland in our match preview.

Ajax couldn’t win the last match they played in the UEFA Champions League, a 2-2 draw versus Atalanta Bergamo. The Amsterdammers almost need a victory in order to keep dreaming of surviving the group stage of the UCL.

Tactics

FC Midtjylland is a relatively unknown club from Denmark. However, fact that they aren’t a big name doesn’t mean they aren’t dangerous. In the last few years, Midtjylland has become one of the biggest clubs of Denmark after Matthew Benham bought the club in 2014, winning the title twice in the last three years.

Line-up of Midtjylland

The biggest assets of Midtjylland are their set-pieces. Last season they scored an incredible 28 goals out of set pieces in the Danish league, almost half of their total goal tally. The biggest danger is from headers. Corners, indirect free kicks and throw-ins are extremely dangerous when facing this side. Sviatchenko, Scholz and Kaba are heading specialists. There are also three players who have an enormous reach with their throw-ins, easily reaching the 18-yard-box.

The biggest opportunity for Ajax is in the counter-attack. Midtjylland utilises quite an attacking formation, with two wing-backs. The attackers and midfielders don’t always track back and that creates a lot of space for Ajax to launch a rapid attack. Especially on the wings it sometimes lies wide open. The Danes often try to solve this with small fouls, which makes it extra important for Ajax to act fast and look for depth through the flanks.

Trivia

  • Midtjylland and Ajax have never faced each other before, this is the first time Midtjylland faces a Dutch opponent at all.
  • Ajax has faced Copenhagen and Brøndby a total of 8 times: 3W, 2D, 3L.
  • Midtjylland have won only three of their last eight home European matches (D2 L3).

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