We take a look at a few of the key battles which could decide the Champions League tie between Celtic and Ajax tonight.

  • By Michael Bell
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fischer 1The match at Celtic Park is a must not lose game for both sides, and the following starting XI’s have been named:

Celtic- Forster, Lustig, Ambrose, Van Dijk, Izaguirre, Forrest, Kayal, Mulgrew, Samaras, Stokes, Pukki

Ajax- Cillessen, Van Rhijn, Veltman, Denswil, Blind  De Jong, Poulsen, Serero, Andersen, Sigthórsson, Fischer

Key Match-ups:

Sigthorsson v Van Dijk:

Dutch centre back Virgil van Dijk will be eager to impress the attending Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal by shackling Ajax’s striker Kolbeinn Sigthorsson. For the Eredivisie side to win, Sigthorsson will have to take what chances come his way, and in what is sure to be a tight affair, he may only get one.

Kayal v Poulsen:

Losing Scott Brown in the midfield is a huge blow for Celtic, and Beram Kayal will replace him as the anchor in front of the defence. He will come up against Ajax’s tough tackler Christian Poulsen. Who will win the battle of the midfield?

Samaras v Denswil:

Ex-Heerenveen man Georgios Samaras will be an aerial threat for Celtic tonight, and has proved in former Champions League ties that he can trouble the best defences. Against Ajax he will come up against Stefano Denswil who has impressed since replacing Toby Alderweireld, who left in the summer. The young defender will need to be sharp!

Forrest v Fischer:

Both sides young wing wizards will be key tonight, as they look to exploit any space behind what may be a clogged midfield. Fischer has come under criticism from fans and his manager for some below par performances this season, but at his best he can terrify Celtic’s defence. The same can be said about Forrest, who with bags of pace and tricks will be Celtic’s main creative force.

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