Anticipation is high in Amsterdam as Ajax prepare for Wednesday's Round of 16 Champions League game hosting holders Real Madrid.
Anticipation is building in the city of Amsterdam ahead of Wednesday's Champions League Round of 16 match as Ajax welcome Real Madrid. One has to go back to 2006 for the last time the Dutch giants participated in the knockout phase of the Champions League where they were eliminated by Inter Milan. The 53,000 match tickets for Wednesday's game were snapped up in record time and such has been the demand that the club have decided to open the neighbouring 14,000 capacity indoor sports hall, the Ziggo Dome to show the game on a giant screen. "We could have easily filled three Amsterdam Arenas" is the word from the club on the staggering demand for a match day ticket.
The high level of enthusiasm is tempered somewhat by recent performances from the home side. "Ajax were happy with the draw in December" maintain daily paper Het Parool. But in two months much has changed with Barça bound key De Jong dipping in form and Blind, Tadic and Ziyech also delivering disappointing performances in recent games”.
Results too have been erratic with a win, a draw and two defeats coming in the four games since the return from the Eredivise winter break with the recent 6-2 loss away to arch-rivals Feyenoord being a source for much embarrassment for Ajax fans.
Giant screens, Djs and Ajax legends…
The hope is that Wednesday is an opportunity for the club to address recent poor form and what better stage than the UEFA Champions League and current holders Real Madrid as opponents. Wednesday night is set to be a party in Amsterdam with the likes of former Ajax greats such as Van der Vaart, Heitinga, Reiziger and Swart being present at the event at the Ziggo Dome.