Ajax host Italian giants Juventus in the first-leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Wednesday. Kick-off in the Johan Cruyff ArenA is at 8pm.

Ajax knocked out defending champions Real Madrid in the last round and are now looking for another scalp when Serie A giants Juventus visit Amsterdam on Wednesday.

Erik ten Hag’s side are flying at the moment after three massive wins over the last nine days which saw them overtake PSV Eindhoven to top the Eredivisie table with five games left.

Ten Hag told his press conference that his side will need to be at their best to match Juventus on Wednesday but takes inspiration from the matches against Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, “Juventus is such an experienced team with such an experienced, sharpened trainer that they can use different strategies. We must read that carefully and anticipate it. This is another limit that we have to push. You can take it from the games against Bayern and Real that you can reach a very high level. “

Juventus reached the quarter-finals after a 3-0 second leg victory saw them knock out Atletico Madrid. The Italian giants are currently 20 points clear at the top of the Serie A table and are now focused on lifting their first Champions League trophy since 1996 when they controversially defeated Ajax in the final.

Team News

There were some doubts over Frenkie de Jong’s fitness after the victory at Willem II but the midfielder is fit to start. Nasser Mazraoui missed the weekends game through suspension but should come back in at right-back.

Ajax should line-up in their favoured European formation with Dusan Tadic playing through the middle.

Probable Ajax line-up: Onana, Mazraoui, Tagliafico, De Ligt, Blind, Schone, Frenkie, Van de Beek, Neres, Ziyech, Tadic

Juventus were sweating over the fitness of Cristiano Ronaldo after he suffered an injury on international duty, but he is back in the squad for the game in Amsterdam.

Juventus will be without the injured Giorgio Chiellini and Emre Can.

Possible Juventus line-up: Szczesny, De Sciglio, Sandro, Bonucci, Rugani, Bentancur, Matuidi, Pjanic, Bernardeschi, Mandzukic, Ronaldo

Odds

Ajax 12/5 Draw 12/5 Juventus 13/10

Previous Meetings

The two clubs first met in the 1973 European Cup final with Johan Cruyff’s inspired Ajax coming out on top 1-0.

Since then there has been 11 meetings with Ajax only winning one of those and that was back in the 1974/75 season.

Juventus have come out on top six times, most famously in the 1996 Champions League final. The match ended 1-1 but the Italians triumphed on penalties.

The match is a controversial one with a drug scandal looming over the Juventus side that won that night and Ajax fans still feel cheated to this day. A win on Wednesday would be seen as long overdue revenge for the Amsterdam side.

Key battles

Frenkie de Jong v Blaise Matuidi

Who will win the battle of the midfield on Wednesday? Luka Modric struggled with Frenkie and now it will be Matuidi’s job to stop the Dutch international from controlling the game.

Frenkie has been in excellent form recently and Ajax’s play will flow through him once again. He will be key in getting space in behind an organised Juventus midfield as he looks to bring Dusan Tadic into the game.

Matthijs de Ligt v Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo has enjoyed playing against Ajax in Europe in recent years but he has only come up against De Ligt once. Netherlands beat Portugal 3-0 that night.

De Ligt is a sensational centre-back, who always rises to the occasion and he will be relishing another battle with Ronaldo. The Portuguese forward goes into the game as an injury doubt but he has been key to Juventus reaching this stage and loves playing in the Champions League. If Ajax can keep Ronaldo quiet then a good result can definitely be achieved.

Ajax avoiding defeat is key for Dutch football

Austria are currently just ahead of Netherlands in the coefficient list. A draw or victory would see Netherlands overtake Austria into 11th spot which should guarantee a Champions League group stage spot for the winner of the 2019/20 season.

With no Austrian clubs left in Europe, Ajax avoiding defeat over the two legs would be huge for the Eredivise.

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