Madrid to face familiar Ajax
Real Madrid will be looking to continue with their dominance over Ajax Amsterdam when the two sides meet in their Group D Champions League clash at the Amsterdam Arena on Wednesday night.
The two sides have crossed paths in the last two editions of the tournament, with the Spaniards emerging victorious on all occasions.
During the 2010/11 season Madrid won 2-0 at home before thrashing Ajax 4-0 in Amsterdam, while both fixtures ended in 3-0 wins for Jose Mourinho’s side last season.
Madrid have not been at their best in the La Liga this season and are currently in sixth place, but they may be picking in time for their trip to Amsterdam as they managed a 5-1 win against Deportivo La Coruna over the weekend.
The Whites will also be looking for their second win in the Champions League after coming from behind to claim a 3-2 win over Manchester City in their opening fixture.
Ajax have also been inconsistent in their domestic league and currently find themselves in fourth place on the Eredivisie standings, but they do go into this game on the back of an important 1-0 win over rivals Twente.
The Godenzonen will be in search of their first points in the Champions League after kicking off their campaign with a 1-0 loss to Borussia Dortmund.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick for Madrid over the weekend and is expected to torment the Ajax defence together with the likes of Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain.
The hosts on the other side will be looking hoping to catch Madrid through their captain Siem de Jong, who plays as an attacking midfielder, while former Liverpool player Ryan Babel will also be a player to watch alongside Christian Eriksen.
The Ajax captain believes although the pressure will be on their opponents, they have to remain focused throughout the match.
“We have a young group of players, and have to try to play our own football. If we do, we can make it difficult for our opponents,” said De Jong.
“We’ve played against Real Madrid in the last two seasons and haven’t beaten them once.
“So it would be nice to play against someone like Xabi Alonso, and to go on and win that game.
“We have to be careful we don’t find ourselves thinking it’s all going well and suddenly the ball’s in the net at our end.
“We have to stay sharp, because every mistake leads to an immediate counterattack.”
Madrid have a full squad available, while Ajax will be without South African midfielder Thulani Serero, who is out with a groin injury, as well as Kolbeinn Sigthorsson, who has been sidelined by a shoulder injury.