Borussia Dortmund - Ajax Preview: German and Dutch champions clash at Signal Iduna Park
In a group containing Real Madrid and Manchester City, both of these sides will look to commence their campaigns with victory
By Stefan Coerts
Piszczek, Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer
Kuba, Gotze, Reus
Van Rhijn, Alderweireld, Moisander, Blind
De Jong, Eriksen, Poulsen
Sana, Babel, Boerigter
Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp has a full squad to pick from as he does not have any injury worries. Sven Bender has yet to play a minute of football this season after hernia surgery, but has been included in the match squad for Tuesday's encounter.
Star signing Marco Reus started this weekend's 3-0 Bundesliga win over Bayer Leverkusen from the bench as a precautionary measure, but is expected to return to the starting XI for the match versus Ajax.
The Germany international's return could mean that Kevin Grosskreutz is demoted the bench, with Kuba, Mario Gotze and Reus as BVB's creative line behind lone striker Robert Lewandowski.
Meanwhile, Ajax boss Frank de Boer will have to make do without the services of a number of first team regulars as Nicolai Boilesen, Eyong Enoh and Kolbeinn Sigthorsson are all unavailable due to injury.
De Boer is not likely to make many changes to the team that recorded a hard-fought win over RKC on Saturday, with Daley Blind expected to get the nod ahead of Mitchell Dijks once more at left-back.
Nevertheless, attacker Ryan Babel could be in line for his first starting berth since his return, meaning that Siem de Jong would drop back into midfield at the expense of Lasse Schone.
Thulani Serero missed the win over RKC due to suspension, but has been included in the squad for Tuesday's Champions League opener.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Borussia Dortmund collected only four points from six encounters in last year's edition of the Champions League as it crashed out in the group stages.
- BVB and Ajax have met two times before. Both sides locked horns in the Champions League quarter-finals in 1995-96, with the Dutch side winning both away and at home.
- Marco Reus (pictured) will make his Champions League debut on Tuesday.
- Ajax has not survived the Champions League group stage since 2005-06, when it was beaten by Inter in the round of 16.
- Ryan Babel is his side's most experienced player in European club football's elite competition with 32 appearances, scoring seven goals in the process.
- Former Denmark international Christian Poulsen, who joined on a free transfer this summer, is the only player older than 30 in Ajax's young Champions League squad.
Top 3 Predictions
Borussia Dortmund 2-0 Ajax
- 17.27 %
Borussia Dortmund 2-1 Ajax
- 13.57 %
Borussia Dortmund 3-1 Ajax
- 13.11 %
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||22-Nov-2012||Ajax 1 - Borussia Dortmund 4|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||19-Sep-2012||Borussia Dortmund 1 - Ajax 0|
|14-Dec-2013||TSG Hoffenheim 2 - Borussia Dortmund 2||BUN|
|12-Dec-2013||Olympique de Marseille 1 - Borussia Dortmund 2||UCL|
|07-Dec-2013||Borussia Dortmund 0 - Bayer Leverkusen 1||BUN|
|04-Dec-2013||1. FC Saarbruecken 0 - Borussia Dortmund 2||GERC|
|30-Nov-2013||Mainz 1 - Borussia Dortmund 3||BUN|
|34||Ricardo van Rhijn||Defender|
|10||Siem de Jong||Midfielder|