Ajax welcome Spanish giants Barcelona to the Amsterdam Arena on Tuesday as they look to keep their Champions League hopes alive.

  • By Michael Bell
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aja barcThe 1-0 win over Celtic in the last round, kept Ajax’s hopes alive, but a win over an injury hit Barcelona side is crucial if Frank de Boer’s side have any chance of making the next round. Currently sitting third, the Eredivisie champions are a point behind AC Milan in 2nd, who travel to Celtic in the groups over tie.

A defeat to Barcelona, and an AC Milan win over Celtic, would see Ajax knocked out of the competition, while a Celtic win, and defeat for Ajax would also see the Amsterdam side bottom of the group.

Barcelona have already qualified for the next round, and are unbeaten in 20 matches so far this season, but travel to Amsterdam with a number of injuries.

Star man Lionel Messi is unavailable, while goalkeeper Victor Valdes, Dani Alves, Adriano, and Jordi Alba will all miss out through injuries, while Alexis Sanchez is suspended.

Barcelona were not hampered by missing their stars at the weekend, as they eased past Granada 4-0 on Saturday, with Anders Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas, Sanchez, and Pedro among the goals.

Ajax also eased to a league win on Saturday as they saw off Heracles 3-0 with Danny Hoesen, Viktor Fischer, and Davy Klaassen scoring the goals.

However coach De Boer also has a number of injury doubts, with striker Kolbeinn Sigthorsson, and captain Siem de Jong out,while on loan Barcelona forward Bojan is back in training, but is not expected to feature.

In the reverse fixture in the Nou Camp, Barcelona ran out 4-0 winners, but Ajax did create problems for the Spanish giants, with Kolbeinn Sigthorsson missing a penalty.

Coach Frank de Boer wants his side to put on a good show for the Amsterdam Arena crowd, and hopes for a good result.

He told a press conference, “I hope we can get the best out of ourselves, play well and get a good result. But for me it is always about the football and if you do that well than you can get a good result. I expect it to be a spectacle tomorrow because both teams like to attack and play forward.”

Potential line-ups:

Ajax: Cillessen, Van Rhijn, Blind, Veltman, Moisander, Poulsen, Serero, Klaassen, Schone, Fischer, Hoesen

Barcelona: Pinto, Montoya, Pique, Mascherano, Puyol, Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta, Cesc, Neymar, Pedro

Barcelona may be missing Messi, but their side is still full of unbelievable talent, and if they play to their best they could be too much for Ajax’s young side. However with the La Liga champions having already qualified for the next round, and Ajax starting to show some decent form in the league, a win for the Eredivisie side is not beyond question.

With a trip to the San Siro still to come, Ajax need a result if they are to reach the final 16, but equaling or bettering Celtic’s score is a must in order to all but confirm a Europa League spot.

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