Even with the farcical omission of Sebastien Haller and 12-month doping ban handed down to goalkeeper Andre Onana, Ajax managed to take a first-leg advantage back to Amsterdam as they downed Lille 2-1 at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy last week, with Tadic and substitute Bobbey both netting in the final five minutes after Timothy Weah's opener.
Erik ten Hag's side will certainly believe that they are genuine contenders to go all the way in this year's tournament, and even though their last-32 battle with Lille is not done and dusted just yet, Ajax's scintillating form since the turn of the year should help them keep their European dream alive.
Indeed, the Dutch giants have won 10 on the bounce in all competitions and followed up their first-leg triumph over Lille with a 4-2 success over Sparta Rotterdam in the top flight, with Haller announcing his return with a brace while Perr Schuurs and Mohammed Kudus were also on target.
Since a 1-0 defeat to Atalanta in the Champions League on December 9, Ajax have won six out of their last seven on home soil - notching up at least two goals in all but one of those matches - but they are defensively suspect with 10 goals shipped in their last six at the Johan Cruijff ArenA.
The Eredivisie leaders managed to get the better of the Ligue 1 leaders in the first leg, but Ten Hag's side have at least another gruelling 90 minutes ahead of them if they are to progress in the tournament, and Lille also warmed up for this game with a four-goal showing at the weekend.
A minor setback in Lille's Ligue 1 title bid occurred on February 14 with a goalless draw against Brest, but Christophe Galtier proceeded to rally his troops for a trip to an in-form Lorient, and Les Dogues needed no second invitation to cruise to victory at the Stade du Moustoir on Sunday.
Jerome Hergault had initially levelled for Les Merlus after Andreaw Gravillon's own goal, but Lille then struck through Jose Fonte, Jonathan Ikone and Domagoj Bradaric to cement their position atop the Ligue 1 rankings - four points ahead of reigning champions Paris Saint-Germain following their defeat to Monaco.
A resounding win over one of the league's most in-form sides is just what the doctor ordered for Lille as they pack their bags for a daunting trip to Amsterdam, where Galtier's men simply have to expose Ajax's frailties at the back with a gung-ho approach if they are to avoid a swift exit from the competition.
The Dogues faithful have been treated to eight away wins on the bounce from their side, though, with clean sheets to boot in six of those matches, and no team has managed to prevent a travelling Lille team from finding the back of the net on the road this season.
Even with inspirational forward Burak Yilmaz still unable to shake off a calf problem, Galtier ought to have plenty of confidence in the likes of Yusuf Yazici, Jonathan David and Timothy Weah to make the net ripple, but Ajax - with all their European pedigree - are in no position to relinquish their first-leg advantage.
Ajax Europa League form: W
Ajax form (all competitions): WWWWWW
Lille Europa League form: DWDWLL
Lille form (all competitions): WWWDLW
Haller and Onana will play no part in this fixture for Ajax, but Ryan Gravenberch is back from suspension and should reprise his regular role in the engine room.
It remains to be seen if Noussair Mazraoui will be passed fit for the second leg, and on the opposite side of defence, Nicolas Tagliafico also missed out against Sparta through injury and is a major doubt for Thursday.
Ajax possible starting lineup:
Stekelenburg; Rensch, Schuurs, Martinez, Blind; Alvarez, Gravenberch, Klaassen; Antony, Tadic, Neres
Lille possible starting lineup:
Maignan; Celik, Fonte, Botman, Reinildo; Weah, Andre, Sanches, Bamba; David, Yazici
We say: Ajax 2-2 Lille
Lille's away form has been nothing short of sensational since the turn of the year, but Ajax's record in all competitions also makes for pleasant reading for Ten Hag and co. The Eredivisie leaders dominated the first leg and deservedly came up trumps, so in spite of the fact that Les Dogues will prove a force to be reckoned with on the attacking front, we expect an enthralling second leg to end all square and Ajax to progress to the last 16.