: Erik ten Hag’s team are in something of a crisis. Since the winter break Ajax have won only once in four league games, a run which includes a 6-2 defeat at arch-rivals Feyenoord. The group stage matches brought out the best in this talented side, so maybe they can rise to the occasion again on Wednesday. If they don’t, they could be in for a testing evening.
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Barcelona-bound Ajax midfielder Frenkie de Jong has been grabbing the headlines recently, but how will he fare against a wily, experienced opponent like the Brazilian international? The Ajax No21 is often the metronome that makes his team tick, yet he is likely to find space an extremely limited commodity on Wednesday. His ability to escape the clutches of his Madrid counterpart and initiate attacks will be crucial to Ajax’s chances of success.
It’s up to us to pick ourselves up. We have to play our own game on Wednesday, because it does not matter who your opponents are – you saw how we did against Bayern Munich [1-1a, 3-3h in the group stage]. We have to focus on our football and enjoy it. This opponent is a challenge. We’re looking forward to it, we’re confident we can take them on.