UCL Group C : Borussia Dortmund v/s Ajax – Preview

The Champion’s League is in its fourth match week and is continuing to entertain the football fans with its usual embellishing and charming display of football between the top teams in Europe. This week also brings brand-new set-of fixtures with more elements of enchantment and engrossment among the viewers. In one of such matches, Dutch Eredivisie giants Ajax are locking horns with Bundesliga giants Dortmund at the Signal Iduna Park on a magical Wednesday evening.

Ajax is one of the most promising and consistent teams in Europe now having lost only one game across all competitions. The young guns of Amsterdam top the Eredivisie league table with a healthy 26 points under their kitty. They are though unbeaten in the UEFA UCL and will certainly be looking forward to carrying on that winning momentum. This Free-scoring Ajax side can defeat any big team on their day with their excellent gameplay. TenHag’s men have already humiliated Dortmund 4-0 in the first leg and will be aiming to do a double over them.

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Dortmund, similarly, has been in great form in the Bundesliga sitting second in the league with 24points, just one behind Bayern.  They have lost only three games across all competitions and it’s quite praiseworthy given that they’re missing their key players. The team has looked quite good under Marco Rose and they have already started to challenge Bayern for the league title. No wonder that their biggest aim will be to proceed further in the UCL knockouts along with winning the Bundesliga. The Black and Yellows of Germany will seek revenge when they welcome the Dutch team in their own backyard today.   

Will the Ajax team continue to recreate their magic of 2019 in UCL this year with this superb team or will Dortmund make a statement and snatch a win to go tabletop? Much will be at stake when these two sides clash tonight.

Ajax vs Dortmund: A game worth watching!

First of all, you certainly don’t need any single reason even to watch a fixture of UCL’s pedigree. The name of the competition is enough to attract viewers, be it a clash between any of Europe’s two teams. And when two of the most consistent sides in the continent are going head-to-head against one another, it becomes a must-watch game. The rich vein of form of both the teams spices up this clash even more. It will be quite interesting to see which of these two teams comes out on top after the juicy clash tonight. The match is scheduled to get kicked off at 1:30 AM IST or 20:00 GMT.

A look at the two teams’ form

Borussia Dortmund

The European giants are coming onto this match on the back of a scrappy win against FC Koln at home. They were inconsistent for most parts of the match and failed to dominate against the minnows of Bundesliga. But they were able to bag the win thanks to some superb display in the attacking third by seasoned stars. Eden Hazard’s younger brother Thorgan put the hosts ahead in the 40th minute courtesy of a superb finishing. Steffen Tigges doubled their lead after coming on as a substitute. Compared to Koln’s 21 shots, Dortmund could take only 8 shots towards the opposition goal.

No wonder that the German outfit has to uplift their gameplay by a huge margin in order to defeat Ajax. Dortmund is on a four-match winning streak in the Bundesliga since losing to Monchengladbach away. They have though performed not much good in the UCL and could pick wins against the minnows by small margins only. It remains to be seen which strategy does Marco Rose employs to defeat the Dutch side at home. The yellow army definitely has the 0-4 drubbing in their mind and will go all out to take sweet revenge.

FORM GUIDE – WLWWW (ALL COMPETITIONS)

LWWWW (BUNDESLIGA) WWL (UCL)

Managers : Ten Hag (Ajax) and Macro Rose (Dortmund)
Managers : Ten Hag (Ajax) and Macro Rose (Dortmund)

Ajax

The de Godenzonens are traveling to Signal Iduna-Park after playing out a disgusting goalless away draw against Heracles last week. It was a frustrating night for the Eredivisie toppers who had each of their goal-scoring attempt negated by some excellent defending. They had controlled the match for most parts of the time with 71% possession and unleashing 18 shots against them. They couldn’t find the back of the net that night and it made them drop points in their campaign. The Amsterdam-based outfit thrashed second-placed giants PSV Eindhoven 5-0 a week earlier with a dominant display on board. The most astonishing fact is that they have conceded only three goals across all competitions in 14 games.

This free-scoring side has also scored 48times in the process rounding off an excellent stat that is just unimaginable. Erik Ten Hag’s men have been superb this year and have already made the fans dream of some big success. Being so dominant in the Eredivisie and UCL requires some hard work and Ajax’s young guns are doing it so well. Undoubtedly, they would be aiming to extend their winning run in the UCL by beating BVB in their own den.

FORM GUIDE – WLWWD (EREDIVISIE) WWW (UCL)

LWWWD (ALL COMPETITIONS)

Teams at a Glance

Borussia Dortmund

BVB has been totally plagued by injuries this year with injuries to many of their key players. The long list of absentees begins with their star striker Erling Haaland being ruled out almost for the rest of the season. Nico Schulz, Mateo Morey, and Raphael Guerreiro are all confirmed to miss this all-important clash. Dan Axel-Zagadou, Mahmoud Dahoud, Giovanni Reyna and Marcel Schmelzer are all doubts for the fixture. Only Schmelzer has returned to training and maybe passed fit before the game. And the other three are expected to sit out of the clash. For the time being, Marco Rose has to choose from whoever he has available right now.  

Dortmund Predicted Lineup
Dortmund Predicted Lineup

AJAX

Like Dortmund, the de Godenzonens are also missing a host of players on account of injuries. They are missing goalkeepers Andre Onana through suspension and Maarten Stekelenburg due to injury. In addition to these, Sean Klaiber, Zakaria Labyad, and Noussair Mazraoui are all more likely to miss this fixture. The latter is though expected to be cleared to play. Apart from these players, Ten Hag has a full-fit starting XI to choose from.   

Ajax Predicted Lineup
Ajax Predicted Lineup

Head-to-Head

The two teams have contested five times to date. Ajax has a slight advantage in the head-to-head encounter with three wins out of the total five. Dortmund has won two games and surprisingly no match has ended in a stalemate.

The most recent faceoff between these two teams saw Ajax cap off a memorable emphatic 4-0 win over them. It was a complete demolition by Ten Hag’s men who ran riot at the Johan Cruyff Arena. The Amsterdam-based outfit got the lead early through Marco Reus’s own goal early in the 11th minute. Daley Blind doubled their advantage in the half-hour mark with a fine strike. Antony and Sebastian Haller then piled more misery on the German club by scoring the third and fourth goals. With 56% of the possession and a whopping 18 shots towards the goal, Ajax completely outplayed Dortmund. This time it would be a battle of pride for the Blacks-and-Yellows who will try to get timely revenge.

Players to watch out for

Dortmund

Marco Reus

The BVB captain has been the best player for Dortmund for quite a number of years and still continuing to perform excellently. He has performed year in and year out for the German giants with some astronomical stats. This season too, he has already accumulated 2 goals and 4 assists for them in 13 appearances. His creativity and inch-perfect passing skills are invaluable assets to the team. No wonder Rose will depend on him to deliver in this kind of big match as he has the experience and skill to do so.

Reus and Bellingham (Dortmund)
Reus and Bellingham (Dortmund)

Jude Bellingham

The England wonder-kid is in a league-of-his-own with some fascinating performances for his team at such a tender age. He is only 18 and has already turned out to be the midfield marshal for BVB. He maintains a swift balance between attack and defense and is one of the many reasons for BVB’s consistent performances. In 15 starts, he has registered 3 goals and 5 assists through being a midfielder. His versatility makes him an undroppable player on the team. He has already shown he can star in the big matches and will be hoping to produce another good one against Ajax.

Ajax

Sebastian Haller

Haller had only been bought by Ajax in the January transfer window from West Ham for a transfer fee of 22.5 M. Many couldn’t have imagined that this man would turn out to be one of the deadliest forwards in Europe. He is by far the most consistent goal scorer in the continent in the 2021/22 season across all competitions. In only 13 starts, he has scored a whopping 13 goals and registered 5 assists. He sees from a different planet and every time his team is in need of him, he scores out of nowhere. His prolific scoring goal-scoring abilities make him one of the key players in this clash and TenHag’s go-to man tonight.

Haller and Tadic (Ajax)
Haller and Tadic (Ajax)

Dusan Tadic

Along with Haller, Dusan Tadic is one of the breakthrough stars for Ajax this season. He is the spearhead of their attacking line and creates the play for others in the best possible way. Being the star of the dream team of Ajax in 2019 which made the semis of UCL, he’s showing his class again. He has found the back of the net 5 times and provided a record 10 assists in only limited appearances. Undoubtedly, TenHag will depend on him once again to provide him with the creativity and goals upfront.

An Entertaining Encounter to Cap off

From all respects, this match is going to produce one of a gem footballing displays in the field. Two of the most promising sides in Europe are going against one another and what can be more delightful to watch!! Expect a fierce and enthralling encounter to occur at the Iduna Park tonight with all elements of enticement present. Will Ten Hag maintain his unbeaten run in the UCL and continue to blow away opponents in style or Marco Rose has other plans to play as the perfect party spoilers? So, what to wait for, pick a comfortable place, and get ready to lighten up your midnight with this mesmerizing clash!!    

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