Real Madrid v Ajax preview: all you need to know

Real Madrid look to bounce back from three successive home losses while Ajax must overturn a 2-1 deficit.

Santiago Solari watches Madrid in training on Monday
Santiago Solari watches Madrid in training on Monday ©Getty Images

Reporter's view (Ben Gladwell, UEFA.com): After back-to-back home defeats by Barcelona in the Copa del Rey and Liga, Real Madrid are in need of a tonic as they return to a competition that has been so dear to them in recent years. On Tuesday, they will have been European champions for 1,011 days, and what better way to pick themselves up than by finishing off Ajax? The heat is definitely on, but Madrid invariably respond when that UEFA Champions League anthem plays.

Possible line-ups

First leg: Ajax 1-2 Real Madrid
First leg: Ajax 1-2 Real Madrid

Real Madrid: Courtois; Reguilón, Varane, Nacho, Carvajal; Casemiro, Kroos, Modrić; Vázquez, Benzema, Vinícius
Out: Ramos (suspended), Llorente (adductor)
Misses next game if booked: none

Ajax: Onana; Tagliafico, Blind, De Ligt, Mazraoui; De Jong, Van de Beek, Schöne; Neres, Tadić, Ziyech
Out: Bandé (calf)
Misses next game if booked: Blind, De Ligt, Mazraoui, Tagliafico, Van de Beek, Ziyech

MAKE FANTASY CHANGES

See why Benzema loves facing Ajax
See why Benzema loves facing Ajax

Key battle

Modrić v De Jong: The Dutch press felt UEFA Men's Player of the Year Luka Modrić won his game within a game against Frenkie de Jong on points in the first leg, but the Barcelona-bound youngster has a second chance to get one over on his Croatian counterpart. If De Jong can set the early tone, then his side will follow – and Ajax will have a puncher's chance of overturning the first-leg arrears.

Where to watch

Fans can find their local UEFA Champions League broadcast partner(s) here.

Form guide

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar on his #UCL bow for Ajax
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar on his #UCL bow for Ajax

Real Madrid
Last game: Madrid 0-1 Barcelona (02/03)
Form: LLWLWWDWWW

Ajax
Last game: Feyenoord 0-3 Ajax (27/02, Dutch Cup semi-final)
Form: WWWLLWLWDW

Santiago Solari, Real Madrid coach

The team really want to win and I like this. We're going out to win, as we always do. The team's in good shape and they have a lot of experience and are relaxed about what people are saying.

Ramos, training on Monday, will be absent
Ramos, training on Monday, will be absent©AFP/Getty Images

We're working hard and of course we're not happy when we lose, but we still want to do well in the Liga, and now we've got the Champions League. It's a shame Sergio Ramos won't be playing ... He's a leader, but we have enough players with experience and quality to replace him.

Erik ten Hag, Ajax coach

They [Madrid] know that if they want to win a prize this season, the Champions League is the most realistic left. That will probably give them a special mentality on the pitch. But that does not matter to us. We are still active on three fronts.

Our players are ambitious. We are going into the match to score goals. This Ajax side takes the initiative in every match. Ramos is definitely a loss, both on a tactical and a mental level. [His absence] certainly won't make them stronger.

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