Ajax end their Champions League campaign on Wednesday with a home tie against Cypriot side APOEL Nicosia.

aja apoel ddbddThe Eredivisie holders are already out of the competition after failing to win any of their last five ties, but if they avoid defeat on Wednesday they will seal third place in the group and enter the Europa League.

A 5-0 win over Willem II at the weekend sends Ajax into the tie full of confidence, and coach Frank de Boer is determined to earn a place in the Europa League.

De Boer told a press conference, “You should always aim for the best. Great teams also play in the Europa League, the aim is to be better and stronger. Therefore, European games are so important for development.

“The pace is higher. It is much better than only playing in your own league – it is positive to be active for a long time in the Europa League.

“Ultimately, I would have still prefered to have fought for second place. We knew it would be tough in this group but the results are the only facts that matter.”

Ajax will be without striker Kolbeinn Sigthorsson, who will be out until the new year, but his absence gives Richairo Zivkovic a chance to impress. The 18-year-old has netted 12 goals for Jong Ajax in the Eerste Divisie and has been named in the squad to face APOEL. Nicolai Boilesen misses out through injury, but Anwar El Ghazi is fit enough to return after two games out.

Centre back Niklas Moisander will play his final Champions League tie for Ajax, having announced his intention to leave the club in January.

Possible Ajax line-up: Cillessen, Van Rhijn, Moisander, Veltman, Viergever, Serero, Andersen, Klaassen, Schone, Kishna, Milik

Opponents APOEL have only earned one point in the Champions League so far, the 1-1 draw with Ajax in Cyprus, but they go into the tie on the back of two domestic wins which sees them top the table by five points. The Cypriot champions can overhaul Ajax into third place, but they would need to find their first ever away win in the competitions group stage.

Its been a disappointing Champions League campaign for Ajax, but it is crucial for the club and Dutch football that they end it on a high and join PSV and Feyenoord in the Europa League group stages.




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