The first legs of the UEFA Champions League playoff round kick off on Tuesday, as Ajax, Club Brugge and Slavia Prague all head on road trips as they hope to clear the final hurdle and reach the group stage.
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It is rather outrageous that Ajax, the reigning Dutch champions who reached the semifinal of the UCL last season, have to qualify for this tournament, but here they are. Dusan Tadic (fresh from signing a new seven-year contract) is once again leading the charge for this young Dutch side who have lost Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt over the summer, and edged past PAOK 5-4 on aggregate in the last round. Ajax head to APOEL Nicosia of Cyprus in the first leg and hope to have a healthy advantage to take back with them to Amsterdam for the second leg next week.
Club Brugge head to LASK Linz from Austria as USMNT goalkeeper Evan Horvath now faces real competition for his starting spot as Belgian national team and former Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet arrived over the summer. LASK shocked FC Basel in the third qualifying round
As for the other game on Tuesday, CFR Cluj host Slavia Prague in Romania in a clash between two teams who have been making waves in Europe over the past few years. Cluj knocked Celtic out in the last round and it will be quite the occasion in Transylvania, as Slavia’s star man is Romanian international Nicolae Stanciu.
Below is the full schedule for Tuesday’s games, with all games kicking off at 3 p.m. ET. Three more UCL playoff games take place on Wednesday.
Click on the link above to follow all of the action live, while we will have you covered with a roundup of the action right here on Pro Soccer Talk.
APOEL Nicosia v. Ajax
CFR Cluj v. Slavia Prague
LASK v. Club Brugge