By Berend Scholten
AFC Ajax head to PSV Eindhoven on Sunday in dire need of a first win at the Philips stadium in ten years.
Already seven points behind the Eredivisie leaders, Ajax must show that the performance that brought them a 3-0 midweek win against Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC in the UEFA Champions League was not a one-off. As coach Ronald Koeman put it: "On Sunday we have to start the comeback race in our domestic league. For us, this match is of huge importance."
Ajax's last victory in Eindhoven was almost ten years ago to the day, on 23 October 1994. On that occasion, Ronald de Boer, Edgar Davids, Clarence Seedorf and Peter van Vossen scored in a 4-1 triumph, with Luc Nilis registering PSV's consolation. That season, Ajax went on to win the Champions League under coach Louis van Gaal, who this week left his position as the club's technical director.
Since then, Ajax have travelled to Eindhoven nine times, with PSV winning four and the remaining five matches ending in draws. Meanwhile, in 47 previous games between the clubs, the Eindhoven side have won 24 compared with their Amsterdam rivals' 12 victories.
Ajax's hopes of improving on those statistics will be hampered by the absence of Czech midfielder Tomáš Galásek, who has back problems, although winger Mauro Rosales should be available again. However, Koeman's team come up against a PSV side in terrific form under Guus Hiddink - leading Champions League Group E as well as the Eredivisie after a 2-1 midweek win at Rosenborg BK.
PSV's main concern is their defence. André Ooijer is out with a hamstring injury, Wilfred Bouma had to skip Friday training and Brazilian centre-back Alex is doubtful because of a bruised foot. Peruvian forward Jefferson Farfán may also be absent after taking a blow to his knee against Rosenborg. "We will decide on them on Saturday," said Hiddink.
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