Champions League Preview: Real Madrid - Ajax
Jose Mourinho's men have already booked their place in the last 16 and have secured second place, and face the Eredivisie champion, which is fighting to stay in Europe.
By Martin Macdonald
Ramos, Varane, Pepe, Coentrao
Callejon, Kaka, Ronaldo
Van Rhijn, Alderweireld, Moisander, Blind
Poulsen, Enoh, Eriksen
De Jong, Boerrigter
Jose Mourinho goes into the match knowing that a second place finish in Group D is secured. Due to Madrid's head-to-head results with Borussia Dortmund it cannot win the group, so the Real Madrid coach may opt to freshen up his starting XI.
It is unlikely to be a complete overhaul, but Raphael Varane has been impressive in his rare appearances this season and may be given a starting berth at the back due to Alvaro Arbeloa's suspension. Sergio Ramos could be shifted out to right back.
Xabi Alonso has been playing a lot of soccer recently and may be allowed to sit this one out, with Luka Modric ready to drop back into the deeper role in midfield. Despite resting some faces, Mourinho will still want to end the Group Stage on a high, so expect big hitters Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema to still feature.
Ajax, on the other hand, has plenty to play for. The Eredivisie champion is placed third in the group and find themselves one point ahead of Manchester City, and with a place in the Europa League up for grabs, they will need to put in a good performance at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Ryan Babel is still sidelined with a dislocated shoulder, so there could be a chance in attack for Danny Hoesen, who scored in Ajax's 3-1 victory over PSV at the weekend.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- These two sides have met five times in the past three seasons and Madrid has won each game, most recently a 4-1 victory in Amsterdam in October.
- Real Madrid's seven-game winning streak at home in the Champions League was ended by a 2-2 draw with Dortmund on matchday four.
- Los Blancos' home record against teams from the Netherlands is W9 D1 L2.
- Ajax has failed to win on any of its last five visits to Spain, losing four. Their last success was a 3-2 victory at Atletico Madrid in the 1996-97 season.
- During four years as a Barcelona player between 1999 and 2003, Ajax coach Frank de Boer faced Madrid nine times in the Liga and the Champions League.
- De Boer played under Madrid coach Jose Mourinho at Barcelona. The Portuguese was an assistant to Louis van Gaal in 2000.
Top 3 Predictions
Real Madrid 4-0 Ajax
- 18.63 %
Real Madrid 3-0 Ajax
- 13.31 %
Real Madrid 3-1 Ajax
- 11.31 %
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Dec 4, 2012||Real Madrid 4 - Ajax 1|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Oct 3, 2012||Ajax 1 - Real Madrid 4|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Dec 7, 2011||Ajax 0 - Real Madrid 3|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Sep 27, 2011||Real Madrid 3 - Ajax 0|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Nov 23, 2010||Ajax 0 - Real Madrid 4|
|Dec 10, 2013||Copenhagen 0 - Real Madrid 2||UCL|
|Dec 7, 2013||CD Olímpic de Xàtiva 0 - Real Madrid 0||ESPC|
|Nov 30, 2013||Real Madrid 4 - Valladolid 0||LIGA|
|Nov 27, 2013||Real Madrid 4 - Galatasaray 1||UCL|
|Nov 23, 2013||Almeria 0 - Real Madrid 5||LIGA|
|22||Ángel Di María||Midfielder|
|34||Ricardo van Rhijn||Defender|
|10||Siem de Jong||Midfielder|