AZ Alkmaar and Utrecht meet in the Eredivisie European playoff final on Thursday, with the second leg scheduled for Sunday.
These two sides have battled all season to be in with a shout of a Europa League qualification spot.
Utrecht finished 13 points ahead of AZ in fourth place, while the latter endured a mixed season following last term’s heroics.
So who will secure Europa League football for next season, and who will come up narrowly short? Let’s check out the final in more detail.
AZ v Utrecht: Head to head form
This is not a fixture for the form geeks. Usual football convention goes out the window when Utrecht and AZ meet. Both sides won their respective away leg against each other this season. In fact, there has been just one home win in the last seven fixtures between them.
Goals are aplenty in these games. This season witnessed eight goals in two games, with both teams scoring. In fact, both teams have scored in each of their last five encounters and a repeat on Thursday in the first leg is priced at 1.53.
There have been 24 goals scored over those five games, just under five per outing. Again, +3.5 goals on Thursday at 2.50 is a strong bet.
AZ v Utrecht: Current form
Utrecht beat Heerenveen 5-2 over two legs to reach this playoff final. In doing so they highlighted their strengths but also their weaknesses. Defensively the team has come untuck in recent weeks and conceded two against AZ back on 14 May in the Eredivisie. Utrecht were equally matched that day but may have lost had AZ ace Jonas Svensson not been sent off in the 33rd minute.
Interestingly, Utrecht have won five games on the bounce and have not drawn in their last 11 outings. They are 3.60 to win this first leg.
As for AZ, they powered past Groningen 8-2 over two legs in their playoff semi-final, ending a two-game losing streak. Both sides have scored in each of AZ’s last eight games, which again suggests goals will be aplenty on Thursday and Sunday.
AZ v Utrecht: Goalscorer betting
Utrecht spread their goalscorers out against Heerenveen, as they have all season. Sebastian Haller remains their top scorer for the campaign, with 13 of their 51 Eredivisie goals. But recently it has been Richairo Zivkovic, on loan from Ajax, who has impressed in front of goal. He boasts five goals since March and Zivkovic is 8.50 to net first.
As for AZ, Wout Weghorst has found his scoring boots again after a winter drought. Six goals since March, including three in the semi-finals against Groningen, has done wonders for the 24-year-old’s confidence. He is the best bet, especially at home, to score first at 5.30.