Spanish club Real Madrid will host Dutch team Ajax at the Bernabeu Stadium in a UEFA Champions League Group D showdown on Tuesday December 5. Madrid sits in second place with 11 points, three behind leaders Borussia Dortmund and four ahead of Ajax. This means they will definitely advance to the next stage of the competition no matter what the outcome of this game is. Ajax will be hoping to stay ahead of Manchester City, who they lead by one point, to make sure they qualify for the Europa League.
WilliamHill.com has the latest odds on the match at 1/3 for a Real Madrid win and 8/1 for an Ajax victory with a draw at 4/1.
Ajax manager Frank De Boer knows his team will face a tough battle, bur believes the Dutch champions have the squad to be successful. Ajax always has trouble with Madrid though and Spain has never been to kind to them in general. The last time they won a game in Spain was back in 1996/97 when they beat Atletico Madrid and De Boer was playing for them. They go into the game on a winning note though as they beat PSV Eindhoven 3-1 on the weekend.
The manager will have to go into Madrid without forward Ryan Babel though as he is suffering from a dislocated shoulder which he picked up in early November. Babel won’t return to the team now until sometime early in 2013. We could see Danny Hoesen play in his place.
Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho doesn’t really have too much to worry about as his club is certain to finish in second position in the group. Even if they win the game and finish level on points with Borussia Dortmund they can’t overtake them because of the results in their games against each other in the group stage. Mourinho will be without defender Alvaro Arbeloa as he’s serving a suspension and Raphael Varane may take his place. The manager may also decide to rest some of his key players, so it’s not certain if Karim Benzema, Xabi Alonso, and Cristiano Ronaldo will start.
All of the pressure and motivation falls on Ajax in this game and they could even advance with a loss or a draw, depending on what Man City does in their match against Dortmund. These two teams have played each other a total of five times during the last three years with Madrid winning all five matches. They won the first meeting in this year’s group stage 4-1 in Holland. They also have an eight-game unbeaten streak going with seven wins and a draw.
Ajax has lost four out of their last five contests in Spain and desperately needs a win here. They’ve won four and lost one of their last five games overall while Madrid has three wins, a draw and a loss. Look for Ajax to put in a strong effort here, but probably not good enough to take the three points.