All the latest team news from both camps as Ajax host Tottenham in the Champions League semi-final, second leg in Amsterdam.
Ajax host Tottenham in the second leg of the Champions League semi-final between the sides at the Johan Cruijff ArenA on Wednesday evening (kick-off at 21:00 CEST) with the tie finely balanced at 1-0 to the Dutch side.
The home side’s form is considerably more encouraging than Spurs’ going into the game: Ajax lifted the KNVB Cup last weekend with a commanding 4-0 victory over Willem II while Tottenham slumped to a 1-0 defeat away at Bournemouth, where they were reduced to 10 men after Son Heung-min and Juan Foyth were both given their marching orders.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side have won just once in their last six games in all competitions and haven’t managed an away victory since beating Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League back in early March. Of equal concern to Pochettino will be his side’s lack of goals, with Spurs only finding the net once in their last five matches. The visitors will need to do so at least once in the 90 in Amsterdam to remain in the tie.
Ajax, meanwhile, are still on for a treble and unbeaten in 10 games across all competitions, their last defeat coming in a 1-0 away defeat at AZ Alkmaar two months ago. In the interim, Erik ten Hag’s side have stuck four past Willem II (twice), four past Vitesse and hit Excelsior for six in between knocking Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus out of the Champions League.
Spurs can look to Liverpool’s sensational 4-0 thrashing of Barcelona for inspiration: Jürgen Klopp’s side were similarly depleted and unrested against the Liga champions, for who the decision to hand key players various levels of down-time before the match at Anfield backfired in spectacular fashion.
Ajax team vs Tottenham (confirmed)
Starting XI: Onana, Mazraoui, Blind, De Ligt, Tagliafico, De Jong, Schöne, Van de Beek, Dolberg, Ziyech, Tadic.
Tottenham team vs Ajax (confirmed)
Starting XI: Lloris, Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose, Sissoko, Wanyama, Eriksen, Alli, Son, Moura.
Ajax vs Tottenham: injuries and suspensions
Ominously for Spurs, Ten Hag has his full complement of players to choose from with only Carel Eitling, who has missed most of the season with a serious knee injury, unavailable. There is just the one change to the XI who ran rings around Tottenham for the opening 30 minutes in London, with Noussair Mazraoui coming in for Joël Veltman at right-back. David Neres was initially included in the Ajax XI, but was replaced at the last minute by Kasper Dolberg.
Pochettino is still without star striker Harry Kane, Serge Aurier and Harry Winks, with Davinson Sánchez joining the list of absentees due to a thigh problem picked up against Bournemouth, adding injury to insult. Jan Vertonghen sat out that game after sustaining a nasty head injury in the opening leg but is able to start in Amsterdam, while Erik Lamela is also available again after a hamstring injury and is on the bench. Son returns from suspension to bolster Spurs' attacking line.
Ajax vs Tottenham: what the managers said
Erik ten Hag: “We’re growing as a team”, continued Blind. “We need to appraoch the game against Tottenham as if it’s 0-0. And we also need to play our own Ajax game. Let’s not take anything for granted. We need to be aggressive. The match isn’t a done deal.”
Mauricio Pochettino: "We are living a dream. Five years ago when we arrived it was to reduce the gap to the top four, and then to have the possibility to play in the Champions League. I think nobody would believe we would be playing in the Champions League three seasons in a row and competing at this stage. You wouldn't believe at the start of the season that Tottenham would be in the last week of the season with the possibility of being in the final of the Champions League and to be in the top four."