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UEFA Champions League

  • November 6, 2013
  • • 2:45 PM
  • • Amsterdam ArenA, Amsterdam
  • Referee: D. Aytekin
  • • Attendance: 51908

Champions League Preview: Ajax - Celtic

Champions League Preview: Ajax - Celtic

Neil Lennon's side can move above AC Milan into a qualification spot in Group H if it claims all three points in Amsterdam and the Italian side loses to Barcelona at the Camp Nou.

Ajax will be aiming to make amends for its worst start to a Champions League campaign when Celtic visit on Wednesday.

The Dutch champions have amassed one point from their opening three group games, courtesy of a home draw with AC Milan at the start of October.

Never before has Ajax failed to win in its first three fixtures of the competition, although a victory at Amsterdam ArenA against Celtic will lift it above the Scottish club in Group H.

Frank de Boer's side does not head into the match in particularly impressive form, its only win in five outings coming against fourth-tier ASWH in the KNVB Beker.

Celtic defender Efe Ambrose anticipates a tough game in the Netherlands, but he believes all the pressure is on Ajax as the hosts look to move off the bottom of the group and avenge a 2-1 defeat when the two teams met in Glasgow two weeks ago.

"Going to Amsterdam is huge for us," Ambrose said to the Scottish Express. "It'll be a deciding game for us – every one we play from now on is crucial, a cup final, to make the last 16. We know what we're up against and we know we have to get everything right.

"It's important to believe we can do it and we're working hard to achieve our goals. We know we can't write Ajax off though. They played good football against us at home, but they didn't take their chances. We took ours."

Though it is the Scottish team that took chances, Ambrose still respects Ajax as a top opponent.

"They're a good side but the most important thing is for us to keep our heads straight and stay focused because we know if we lose it's all over. We don't want to let that happen," he said. "We're comfortable going there now, even though it won't be easy. But they know they can't lose the game if they have any chance to qualify. The better team will win the game, but I believe we're the better team."

Neil Lennon's side has lost its last two European away matches, in the playoffs at Shakhter Karagandy and against Milan on matchday one, but did emerge 3-1 victors on its last visit to Amsterdam in 2001.

A 1-1 draw at home to Dundee United on Saturday saw Celtic extend its unbeaten start to the league season to 11 matches, its longest streak since 2003-04, while Ajax lost 1-0 to Vitesse Arnhem.

Lennon will be without the services of Adam Matthews (broken collarbone) and Steve Mouyokolo (Achilles), but Georgios Samaras, Kris Commons, Mikael Lustig, Teemu Pukki and Beram Kayal could all return to the starting line-up. Nir Biton is suspended following his red card against Ajax last month.

Bojan Krkic (hamstring), Niklas Moisander (knee) and Lerin Duarte (ankle) are expected to be unavailable for Ajax.


Field Report
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Top 3 Predictions
Head to Head
UEFA Champions League ‎(UCL)‎ Nov 6, 2013 Ajax 1 - Celtic 0
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UEFA Champions League ‎(UCL)‎ Oct 22, 2013 Celtic 2 - Ajax 1
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Club Friendlies ‎(FRC)‎ Jul 21, 2012 Ajax 4 - Celtic 0
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Last Five Matches
May 14, 2014Persib Bandung 1 - Ajax 1FRC
May 11, 2014Persija Jakarta 0 - Ajax 3FRC
May 3, 2014Ajax 2 - NEC 2ERE
Apr 27, 2014Heracles Almelo 1 - Ajax 1ERE
Apr 20, 2014FC Zwolle 5 - Ajax 1NEDC
Dec 11, 2013Barcelona 6 - Celtic 1UCL
Nov 26, 2013Celtic 0 - Milan 3UCL
Nov 6, 2013Ajax 1 - Celtic 0UCL
Oct 22, 2013Celtic 2 - Ajax 1UCL
Oct 1, 2013Celtic 0 - Barcelona 1UCL
Team News
Available Squads
-Jasper CillessenGoalkeeper
34Ricardo van RhijnDefender
-Joël VeltmanDefender
15N. BoilesenDefender
32Stefano DenswilDefender
10Siem de JongMidfielder
17Daley BlindDefender
39Davy KlaassenMidfielder
-Lasse SchöneMidfielder
25Thulani SereroMidfielder
9Kolbeinn SigthórssonStriker
1Kenneth VermeerGoalkeeper
25Niklas MoisanderDefender
-Mike van der HoornDefender
5Christian PoulsenMidfielder
-Lucas AndersenStriker
35Viktor FischerStriker
-Danny HoesenStriker
1Fraser ForsterGoalkeeper
3E. IzaguirreDefender
15E. AmbroseDefender
-Virgil van DijkDefender
21Charles MulgrewDefender
-M. LustigDefender
15Kris CommonsMidfielder
33Beram KayalMidfielder
49James ForrestMidfielder
9Georgios SamarasStriker
10Anthony StokesStriker
24Lukasz ZaluskaGoalkeeper
-Darnell FisherDefender
28Joe LedleyMidfielder
-Tomas RogicMidfielder
-Derk BoerrigterStriker
-Amido BaldéStriker
20Teemu PukkiStriker

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From the web