The official website for European football

Ajax eager to show class at Madrid

Published: Monday 26 September 2011, 20.57CET
Frank de Boer hopes his AFC Ajax side will not freeze as they return to Real Madrid CF a year on from a 2-0 defeat, noting: "If we are afraid like last year it will be a massacre."
by Marcos Prieto
from Santiago Bernabéu
Ajax eager to show class at Madrid
Frank de Boer wants Ajax to improve on last year's efforts ©Getty Images
Published: Monday 26 September 2011, 20.57CET

Ajax eager to show class at Madrid

Frank de Boer hopes his AFC Ajax side will not freeze as they return to Real Madrid CF a year on from a 2-0 defeat, noting: "If we are afraid like last year it will be a massacre."

Real Madrid CF beat AFC Ajax 2-0 at home and 4-0 away in last season's group stage, but will be without suspended coach José Mourinho as they take on the Dutch champions in Group D. Visiting boss Frank de Boer is eager for his side to show a marked improvement on those last meetings.

Real Madrid
Assistant coach Aitor Karanka
Our supporters always get behind us at the Santiago Bernabéu, especially in the Champions League – we are all pulling in the same direction, aiming at the same target. We have played three matches in a week but the players and technical staff remain united. Everything is always easier when you are united. Ajax are a better team this year than they were last season. They have been working together for years and we are braced for a tough match.

Weekend result
Saturday: Real Madrid 6-2 Rayo Vallecano de Madrid (Ronaldo 39 51pen 84pen, Higuaín 45+1, Varane 67, Benzema 73; Michu 1 55)
Casillas; Ramos, Varane, Albiol, Marcelo; Di María, Diarra (Özil 29), Alonso, Kaká (Khedira 59), Ronaldo; Higuaín (Benzema 59)

• Cristiano Ronaldo, who struck a Liga record 40 goals in 2010/11, registered his second hat-trick this term. He has scored ten in his last eight appearances for club and country. Ángel Di María was sent off just before the hour, with Raphael Varane later scoring his first Madrid goal.

Team news
Pepe (left thigh) and Fábio Coentrão (left calf) will miss the Ajax match through injury. Marcelo, like coach Mourinho, is banned but Ricardo Carvalho, who missed the win over Rayo with concussion, is available. Hamit Altıntop is nearing a return after a back injury that has so far denied him a debut.

Ajax
Coach Frank de Boer
If we play according to our beliefs and lose, I would be satisfied. If we are afraid like last year it will be a massacre. Our philosophy is to dominate and press forward but we are not dumb. We have been playing together for a year and that's important. We have a lot of class and the team has grown up in the last year. We have to keep the ball to get chances.

Mourinho was a friend when I played at Barcelona. I spoke with [FC Barcelona coach Josep] Guardiola about this match because he knows Real Madrid well. Barcelona have an amazing squad – [they are] a team from another world. Real Madrid are improving but Barcelona are still the best team in the world.

Weekend result
Saturday: Ajax 1-1 FC Twente (Sulejmani 10; De Jong 87)
Vermeer; Van der Wiel, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Anita; De Jong, Eriksen, Janssen; Sulejmani (Enoh 63), Sigthórsson (Bulykin 81), Boerrigter

• De Boer's team stretched their unbeaten run to 13 Eredivisie matches, but their ten-game winning streak at home in the Eredivisie ended. Ajax have not kept a clean sheet in domestic competition in 14 outings.

Team news
Nicolai Boilesen is out with a hamstring injury but Miralem Sulejmani (hamstring) and Vurnon Anita (ankle) both returned to action against Twente. Aras Özbiliz (ankle) Mats Rits (ankle) and Bruno Silva (shoulder) are out of contention.

Match fact
Before last season Ajax were the dominant force in encounters between the sides; indeed they still have four wins to Madrid's three, with the other match drawn.

Last updated: 26/09/11 21.50CET

Related information

Team profiles

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2012/matches/round=2000263/match=2007592/prematch/preview/index.html#ajax+eager+show+class+madrid

UEFA.com features

Talents out to shine in UEFA Champions League
  • Talents out to shine in UEFA Champions League
  • Bulgarian keepers' best European displays
  • Jelić soaring after five-star debut for Rad
  • Newcomers Eibar make coach Garitano proud
  • Balzan ambition helping Malta
  • Shaw's Spanish journey aids Perth
  • Bundesliga preview ... are Bayern beatable?
  • Who are  FC Shakhtyor Soligorsk?
  • Kazakh clubs' greatest European nights
  • See your favourite Steaua moments
1 of 10
  • © 1998-2014 UEFA. All rights reserved.
  • The UEFA word, the UEFA logo and all marks related to UEFA competitions, are protected by trade marks and/or copyright of UEFA. No use for commercial purposes may be made of such trade marks. Use of UEFA.com signifies your agreement to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.