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Preview: Barcelona v Ajax

AFC Ajax's visit to FC Barcelona is a key fixture according to Blaugrana coach Luis Enrique, while former team-mate Frank de Boer is sure the visitors can pick up points.

Luis Enrique attends Barcelona's press conference
Luis Enrique attends Barcelona's press conference ©AFP/Getty Images

Luis Enrique says the game is "key" to Barcelona qualifying for the last 16
The Blaugrana have three points from two Group F matches
Enrique is mindful of how Ajax "created many problems" for Barça last term
Barcelona defeated Ajax 4-0 at home but lost 2-1 in Amsterdam
 Frank de Boer adamant the visitors can pick up points in Spain

Possible lineups
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Alves, Bartra, Piqué, Alba; Mascherano, Rafinha, Xavi; Pedro, Messi, Neymar.
Out: Adriano (groin), Busquets (hip), Douglas (foot), Mathieu (rested), Roberto (rested), Vermaelen (match fitness)

Ajax: Cillessen; Van Rhijn, Veltman, Moisander, Viergever; Klaassen, Zimling, Andersen; Schöne, Sigthórsson, El Ghazi.
Out: Fischer (hamstring), Serero (hamstring), Boilesen (concussion)

Luis Enrique, Barcelona coach
We will have to produce a complete performance to beat Ajax, a team of many strengths. Ajax are a well-structured side, one that knows how to attack, how to press. Last season they created many problems for Barcelona.

This is our third match. We won one, lost the second and this one is very important. We are at home and it is key to our qualification. Sergio Busquets is at my disposal. Tomorrow morning we will see how he feels and whether he is fit to take part in the game.

We are used to playing every three or four days. At the moment, all of our thoughts are on the Ajax game. The players understand the importance of these three points if we want to progress from the group. Then we will have our training sessions to decide how to approach the Clásico. I will have no doubts about my team at the Santiago Bernabéu, regardless of the result against Ajax.

All three goalkeepers are ready to play. We will see tomorrow morning and decide during the day. Ajax's positional play is very good. They can play short and long passes and they find solutions in all areas. They press in defence − they don't hesitate − and counterattack really well.

Ajax lost at the Camp Nou last term
Ajax lost at the Camp Nou last term©AFP/Getty Images

Frank de Boer, Ajax coach
I want to see much pleasure and joy [tomorrow]. We can get a result in this game. Last year [when Ajax defeated Barcelona in Amsterdam] we saw that we can get something from such a match. But, for that, we have to perform at our maximum level. Barcelona are at a higher level compared to us and have more experience. For every team playing here, it is difficult to collect points, but we will try.

For me, the most important thing is that we play according to our style and with confidence. I believe that we have grown [compared to the last season], and that we are not inferior to big teams. This is our moment; we just have to keep faith in our philosophy. We have to play our football and do it in the best possible way. We have some key players out injured and it is a great pity for the team, but we have others to come in for them.

[Lionel] Messi's quality is such that he can score from any position. I believe he is playing more aggressively now than last season. He always want to play, he never wants to be substituted. It is no accident that he was named the best player in the world on several occasions. It is unbelievable to have set all those records at such a young age. For me, he is the best player in the world. Not just because of his goals − he also has made many assists over the last couple of years. A complete player.

Weekend results
Barcelona 3-0 SD Eibar (Xavi 60, Neymar 72, Messi 74)
FC Twente 1-1 Ajax (Jesús Manuel Corona 17; Sigthórsson 71)

Form guide (all competitions)
Barcelona: WWLWDW

Match facts
• In what year did Luis Enrique and Frank de Boer win a Liga title together? Find out in our extensive match background.

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