Real Madrid get the chance to advance through to the next round of this year’s Champions League with a win over Ajax on Tuesday night. This will be the third match in a row Real have played at the Bernabéu, where they have been clean sheeted both times by Barcelona.
With the disappointment that was last week, including elimination from the Copa del Rey and little to no chance to win LaLiga, Real need something to lift their spirits up. They currently hold a 2-1 lead in the aggregate over Ajax, with two important away goals from the first leg.
Real will be without their captain yet again, with Ramos suspended for this match and likely the first leg of the quarter-final should Real advance. Real did not look that great against Ajax in their first meeting, they were fortunate to escape with the lead.
No doubt, Ajax will be coming all out to try and knock out Real. Needless to say, Real must play better than they did against Barcelona in both previous fixtures.
Real will likely be without Marcos Llorente still, he is due back soon but is still out of the squad for this match.
Ajax remain without Hassane Bande, Carel Eiting, and Lisandro Magallan who all missed the first leg in Amsterdam.
Real have the lone suspension with Ramos missing Tuesday’s match.
Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Nacho, Reguilón; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Bale, Vinicius, Benzema
Reguilón has started the last few matches instead of Marcelo. There’s no suggestion this will change unless Solari wants to try Marcelo again after the last two losses.
The right side still remains a question, Vazquez has been starting but there’s not been much end product from him or the attack. This should be a match to try something else, whether that’s finally starting Bale again or trying Asensio in this spot.
Onana; Mazraoui, de Ligt, Blind, Tagliafico; Schöne, van de Beek, de Jong; Ziyech, Tadic, Dolberg
Real Madrid-Ajax 2-1 (4-2 aggregate)
Ajax are going to be going all out in this match to try and upset Real Madrid at the Bernabéu. They definitely want this win, especially after losing in Amsterdam when they gave Real a lot of trouble.
de Jong is going to be looking to prove himself to his future rivals in Spain and so will the rather potent attack they possess and a good defense led by de Ligt.
This has to be the match Real show up for. With elimination in one competition already, and likely from LaLiga, this is really Real’s last chance to continue actually competing for a title. They can’t play like they did in the first leg and expect lightning to strike twice, especially coming off two straight blank scoresheets.
The scoring has been nonexistent for Real again, they need it here because they can’t rely on blanking Ajax when missing their captain at the back. It’s going to come down to actually being able to put the ball in the net again, they need the reemergence of Vinicius and Benzema that they had against Ajax for the first leg.
Real should be able to get the job done at home, despite their current run of form. They need some scoring help from the right side, whether that comes from continuously trying Vazquez until it pays off or someone else. They have to go into Tuesday and flat out play better, they can’t afford to allow a young, hungry Ajax hang around or get a lead first.
There’s cautious optimism going into this match. They should be able to win, but the expectations are tempered realistically given the current form of Real. Nevertheless, there is still hope in this team moving through at home.