The 1-0 defeat to Borussia Dortmund means that Ajax have no choice but to try and win this game if they want to remain in contention for a place in the knockout stages, whereas Real Madrid are also looking for a victory that would open the door to the next Champions League phase.
Important win over Twente
Boasting arguably the best youth academy in world football, Ajax always find a way to stay competitive despite selling their key players season after season. However, it appears the Amsterdammers haven’t done such a great job in the summer transfer window, even if it may be too early to judge Frank De Boer’s side. The Eredivisie giants stayed without Jan Vertonghen, Gregory van der Wiel, Vurnon Anita, Theo Janssen and few more squad players, with the new signings looking good enough for the domestic stage, but not for the Champions League campaign. As a result, Ajax have done really well in Dutch Eredivise, but were completely outclassed by Borussia Dortmund and were lucky to lose by just one goal. New signings Ryan Babel and Christian Poulsen have added much needed experience to the side, but Ajax still appear to lack both quality and experience to match a side like Real Madrid.
With Miralem Sulejmani the only player sidelined through injury, Frank de Boer is set to field the same line-up that beat Twente at the weekend.
Will Real take the game seriously?
Real Madrid have recovered well from one of the worst starts to the La Liga campaign in history and they are again firing on all cylinders. Los Blancos proved their worth by coming from a goal behind to beat Manchester City in their opening Champions League fixture and now aim to make it two in a row against Ajax. With the El Clasico game against Barcelona scheduled for Sunday, many are wondering whether Jose Mourinho will field a strong line-up in Amsterdam, but I am positive most starters will be on the pitch. The mere fact that the Portuguese coach was in Amsterdam at the weekend to watch Ajax play Twente means he is fully focused on the match, with several important players also back to the side after they were rested at the weekend. Having scored seven goals in last two away matches against the Amsterdammers, Real look a good bet to win at Amsterdam ArenA for the third time in a row.
Xabi Alonso, Alvaro Arbeloa and Karim Benzema should return after they were rested against Deportivo, while Michael Essien could also start.
Even when Ajax were much stronger Real won the same fixture 3-0 last season, so everything suggests they will record another comfortable victory. The hosts are still not a force to be reckoned with in Europe and they should be happy if they manage to avoid a heavy defeat.
Our prediction: Real Madrid with -1.25 Asian handicap
Odds: 2.02 (51/50)