Real Madrid – Ajax SOCCER PICKS
On Tuesday-evening, Ajax hopes to be able to write Champions League history, when the team from Amsterdam will take on Real Madrid in the return of the eighth finals. The Dutch have to score at least two times in the Santiago Bernabeu, because the first three weeks game ended in a 1-2 win for the Spaniards.
Real Madrid has had an absolute disaster week, because in a span of barely four days the Spaniards lost twice for their own audience of arch-rival FC Barcelona. After the 0-3 loss in the Copa del Rey, it went wrong again in the competition with a 0-1 loss last weekend. Since De Koninklijke also went wrong with 1-2 in the previous home game against Girona, the counter now faces three home defeats in a row, something that had not happened in the Santiago Bernabeu for fifteen years.
Real Madrid is therefore vulnerable, although the Spaniards have an excellent reputation in the Champions League. The last three editions of the European champions ball were all a prey for Los Blancos, who in the last eight seasons achieved at least the semi-finals. However, past results do not offer any guarantees for the future. This Real Madrid is by far the worst Real Madrid of the last years, especially in attacking terms the Spaniards since the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo not much more. The last goal from field game is already 335 minutes ago, when Casemiro scored with a header against Girona. In between Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale managed to score against Levante, but both goals came from the penalty spot. Also in the back Real Madrid has problems, because apart from the suspended Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane seems to have missed the return against Ajax due to injuries. Nacho Fernandez and Jesus Vallejo will therefore probably form the central defense duo.
With a draw against SC Heerenveen and defeats against Feyenoord and Heracles Ajax initially did not come out of the winter break, but now the team from Amsterdam have regained their taste. After convincing victories at NAC and ADO Den Haag, Erik ten Hag’s team took revenge on Feyenoord last week by triumphing in the semi-finals of the Dutch Cup with no less than 0-3 in de Kuip.
The self-confidence is thus completely back at Ajax, which last weekend had free because the league match against PEC Zwolle was postponed to next week. Winning in Madrid is of course a very difficult task, but the red-white do not give up the fight yet. Rightly so, because in the group stage against Bayern Munich and Benfica, among others, Ajax already showed that it can compete with the biggest clubs in the world. Even against Real Madrid it had actually earned more than one goal. The tactic with Dusan Tadic as false number nine and David Neres and Hakim Ziyech on the flanks picked up well in the first leg, so I expect Ten Hag to use a similar tactic in Madrid as well. If Ajax manages to open the score, it might be a ghost in the Santiago Bernabeu.