Ajax host Fenerbahce on Thursday as they go in search of their first win in the Europa League group stages.

aja jablA poor start to the group stages has left Ajax five points adrift of Group B leaders Molde after three matches and a defeat to Fenerbahce, who beat Ajax 1-0 two weeks ago, on Thursday could all but end the Eredivisie side’s chances of reaching the knockout stages.

Coach Frank de Boer spoke up the importance of a win for Ajax on Thursday, and hopes PSV’s win over Wolfsburg in the Champions League on Tuesday can act as inspiration for his players.

He told a press conference, “We have to win against Fenerbahce, otherwise it will be almost impossible to reach the next round,”

“If everything goes well, we can also get very far in Europe. But first let’s focus on the group stage.

“Fener will play very compact and we have to do that as well. But PSV showed us that a Dutch club can be very successful in Europe.”

Ajax couldn’t have warmed up for the match in better fashion after the 6-0 demolition of Roda JC at the weekend which saw them move three points clear at the top of the Eredivisie.

De Boer has also been boosted by the return of Riechedly Bazoer, who missed the win over Roda JC, and the midfielder should go straight into the starting line-up.

Possible Ajax line-up: Cillessen, Tete, Dijks, Veltman, Riedewald, Bazoer, Gudelj, Klaassen, El Ghazi, Fischer, Milik

Fenerbahce are on a six game unbeaten run and the weekends 1-0 win over Osmanlispor saw them close to within two points of league leaders Galatasaray.

Robin van Persie is set to start his first game since being axed from the Netherlands squad, and De Boer believes Ajax will come up against a highly motivated striker.

He said, “Now he will be extra motivated against us.

“Van Persie is a good and often dangerous player. He can always make the difference so we need to keep him in check.”

Fenerbahce will be without regular starters Abdoulaye Ba, Lazar Markovic and Caner Erkin for the tie in Amsterdam, but Nani should return.

Possible Fenerbahce line-up: Demeril, Gonul, Kaldirim, Kjaer, Bruno Alves, Souza, Topal, Potuk, Nani, Diego, Van Persie

Ajax may be excelling in the Eredivisie, but we are yet to see the best of the Amsterdammers in Europe. Another poor performance on Thursday and Ajax will be facing an early exit from the competition.

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