Ajax need a result ahead of Europa League second leg action

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The Europa League returns on Thursday evening with 44 teams set to battle it out for a place in the competition’s group stage.

While some sides already look like they’re heading through to the next round, others have it all to do on Thursday night.

Here, we take a look at the main talking points ahead of the second leg action…

Could Ajax be going out?

The Dutch giants may have reached the Europa League Final last season, but this time around they’re in danger of going out before the group stage.

Samuel Adegbenro latched onto Nicklas Bendtner’s flick to give Norwegian champions Rosenborg a first-leg advantage.

And it’ll take some effort from Ajax to win in Trondheim.

Rosenborg have only lost twice at home all season and will fancy their chances against a cherry-picked Ajax side.

Manager Marcel Keizer has lost Davy Klaassen and Jairo Riedewald over the summer, with Davinson Sanchez also set to be on his way soon.

We reckon it could be a disappointing exit for the 33-time Eredivisie winners.

Are AC Milan the real deal?

OK, so we know that Milan were playing against Macedonia’s second best team, but they were still hugely impressive.

A brace apiece from Riccardo Montolivo and new signing Andre Silva secured a 6-0 win for the Italian side who clocked up their second biggest victory in Europe in the process.

It’s early days for the Rossoneri but, with new Chinese backers, the early signs look promising.

Can Crvena Zvedza make the group stage?

You may know them as Red Star Belgrade but Crvena Zvedza are probably one of the most famous names in European football.

Under Ljupko Petrovic in 1991 Red Star completed a famous European Cup triumph with a penalty shoot-out victory over Marseille.

Since those days however, success on the continent has been slightly harder to come by.

The 27-time Serbian champions have not reached the group stage of the Europa League since it was the UEFA Cup in 2007.

They still face an uphill battle to make it through to the group stages though, following last week’s 3-2 defeat to Kuban Krasnodar.

Krasnodar will not relish going to the Rajko Mitic Stadium though,  so it could be a tricky tie for the Russians on Thursday night.

Click here for the latest UEFA Europa League odds.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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Nick Murphy

Nick is a graduate of the University of East Anglia where he doubled up as the sports editor of the student newspaper Concrete. He also supports Dagenham & Redbridge and previously edited the matchday programme at Victoria Road. Other passions include darts, cricket, speedway and horse racing.