Schalke vs Ajax preview

April 19, 2017
By: Nemanja Lazarevic

Schalke face a difficult task in an attempt to reach the Europa League semi-finals following the 2-0 loss at Amsterdam ArenA, but the Miners are not ready to give up just yet.

Ajax, on the other hand, head into the return leg searching for sixth successive triumph on all fronts and there are no doubts they are the favourites to go through.

This has been a largely disappointing season for one of Germany’s top sides although much will depend on the season finale.

Namely, while they are still in with a chance of lifting the Europa League trophy, Schalke find themselves four points behind European positions in the Bundesliga.

However, the Miners are also just five points above the relegation places, meaning the team need to be 100% focused during the next few weeks if they want to end the campaign on a high.

Schalke go into the second leg against Ajax low on confidence having also lost to Darmstadt at the weekend, meaning they desperately need a morale-boosting win.

The hosts will have to make do without defender Thilo Kehrer due to suspension, but Franco Di Santo has returned into action.

Probable starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Fahrmann – Howedes, Badstuber, Nastasic, Aogo – Goretzka, Bentaleb – Schopf, Meyer, Caligiuri – Burgstaller.

Unlike their next opponents, Ajax have been pretty impressive this season, with their youthful side doing much better than expected.

The Amsterdammers are locked in the battle for Eredivisie title with arch rivals Feyenoord, who are one point clear with three games to go, but it is their Europa League campaign that has been making the headlines.

Ajax eliminated Legia Warsaw and FC Kobenhavn to reach the quarter-finals before recording a 2-0 victory over Schalke thanks to goals from Davy Klaassen.

Bernard Traore did well deputising for Kasper Dolberg, but the talented forward should now return to the starting line-up.

Lasse Schone is back after missing the first leg through suspension, while Daley Sinkgraven returns to the squad as well.

Probable starting line-up (4-3-3): Onana – Veltman, Sanchez, Viergever, Sinkgraven – Klaassen, Schone, Ziyech – Neres, Dolberg, Kluivert.

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