Ajax travels to Portugal on Wednesday for the first leg of their Champions League clash with Benfica. The kick-off in Lisbon is at 20.00.

It has been an excellent Champions League campaign so far for Ajax with Erik ten Hag’s team reaching the knockout stages after breezing through the group stage with six wins out of six.

Standing between Ajax and a place in the last 16 is Portuguese side Benfica, who beat Barcelona to second spot in their group behind Bayern Munich.

Ajax are currently on a 10 game winning streak and they sit top of the Eredivisie with a five-point gap to second-placed PSV Eindhoven. At the weekend they saw off Willem II 1-0 in Tilburg.

Opponents Benfica have had a varied season and they currently sit third in their league behind Porto and Sporting CP, who Ajax defeated home and away in the group stages. Benfica has come into some decent form recently, winning two and drawing one of their last three games.

Team News

Nicolas Tagliafico returns to the selection after missing the win over Willem II while Jurrien Timber has also made the trip despite coming off during the victory.

Brian Brobbey is still out injured while Ryan Gravenberch is likely to start on the bench after losing his place in Ten Hag’s midfield to Davy Klaassen.

Possible Ajax line-up: Pasveer, Mazraoui, Blind, Timber, Martinez, Alvarez, Klaassen, Berghuis, Antony, Tadic, Haller

Former Ajax star Jan Vertonghen is likely to start in the Benfica defence, but Haris Seferovic, Rodrigo Pinho, and Lucas Verissimo are set to miss out through injury.

Possible Benfica line-up: Vlachodimos; Lazaro, Otamendi, Vertonghen, Grimaldo; Silva, Taarabt, Weigl, Everton; Yaremchuk, Nunez

Odds

Benfica 7/2 Draw 14/5 Ajax 3/4

Can Ajax maintain their excellent Champions League form?

Ajax has been unstoppable in the Champions League so far this season with 20 goals scored and only five conceded so far. Sporting was swept aside home and away so Ajax can be confident that they can head to Portugal and go for a win.

Benfica are still finding their rhythm under new head coach Nelson Verissimo and Ajax are in supreme form, meaning the Dutch side start as favourites. Sebastien Haller is the top scorer in the Champions League and will be looking to add to his tally on Wednesday.

At least, Ajax would be content with a draw to take back to Amsterdam for the second leg in two weeks time.




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