Ajax travel to Madrid to face a Real Madrid side that has already qualified for the knock-out stages of the Champions League in a Group D encounter in the Champions League on December 04, 2012. The match is vital from Ajax's perspective as a win would guarantee them third place in the group, which means a chance to play in the Europa League. Real Madrid recorded a 2-0 win over bitter rivals Atletico Madrid in their last La Liga match and look set to continue their domination of the Dutch side.
Recent form & Possible Squads
Real Madrid have won two matches and lost one match in their last three matches whereas Ajax have a similar recent record, having won two matches and lost one match to Borussia Dortmund, 1-4 in their last Champions League encounter.
For Real Madrid, notable absentees due to injury include Gonzalo Higuain, Raul Albiol while Alvaro Arbeloa is suspended for the match.
For Ajax, the most notable absentee is the former Liverpool wideman Ryan Babel. Babel is suffering from a shoulder injury and it has kept the influential midfielder out of the Ajax side for a while now.
With second place guaranteed for Mourinho's Real Madrid side, he may be tempted to rest a few stars and give a run out to younger players including some Castilla starlets such as Alvaro Morata. Xabi Alonso may be rested providing further valuable match time to former Tottenham star Luka Modric. Up front, Ronaldo and Benzema are expected to star for Los Merengues. The absence of many defensive players means Raphael Varane, the French youngster is getting to play and that should continue against Ajax too.
Ajax would hope their captain, Siem De Jong continues his goal scoring form he showed against Premier League champions Manchester City by scoring 3 goals against them in two fixtures in the Group. The odds are stacked against an Ajax side that has failed to win in their last five visits to Spain in European competitions. The only hope stems from a mixed team selection from Jose Mourinho who would like to rest his stars to revive a La Liga campaign that has flattered to deceive this season.
While any talk of Mouriho's exit from Real Madrid is premature, Real's patchy La Liga form that has seen them fall 11 points behind runway leaders, Barcelona. But Madrid based Spanish newspaper Marca conjectured that he would not continue at Real come end of the 2012-13 season. Mourinho rubbished the said report though. European success has always been craved at the Spanish club and if Mourinho delivers the Champions Leage this season, questions of his exit may be stifled. But until then, the murmers are getting louder.
Real Madrid 3- 1 Ajax
With qualification from Group stages ensured for Mouriho's men, the initiative to win the game is all for Ajax to take, who can ensure they get to play in the Europa League, if they beat Real Madrid. Considering the experimental line-up that Mourinho may field, the match should in favour of Real Madrid 3-1.
Where To Watch Online: Real Madrid v. Ajax