Dutch champions Ajax Amsterdam have the knockout stage in their sights in the Champions League ahead of their final group game in Group D which also has immediate past champions Liverpool, Atalanta and FC Midtjyllandin it. Ajax Amsterdam welcome Italian Serie A team Atalanta to the Johann Cryuff Stadium in Amsterdam on Wednesday night in a matchday six duel knowing that the quest to reach the knockout stage of Europe’s premier club competition is still in their hands.
Ajax Amsterdam stunned European football two seasons ago when a youthful squad battled past more experienced teams like Juventus and Real Madrid to reach the Champions League semi-finals before they were knocked out by Premier League team Tottenham Hotspur. During that campaign, Ajax beat Real Madrid in the last 16 before seeing off Italian Serie A giants Juventus in the quarterfinals.
The Dutch team is yet to taste knockout stage football since that 2018/19 campaign but that could change this season if they get the desired result at home to Atalanta on Wednesday night. Last season, their Champions League campaign was halted at the group stage and the Dutch champions would be keen to avoid this scenario for a second successive season. In a bid to avoid another group stage exit in quick succession, Ajax Amsterdam must beat Atalanta. A win would be more than enough to take Ajax above Atalantainto second place behind confirmed group winners Liverpool in Group D.
Ajax are unbeaten in the last seven games against Italian opponents in UEFA competitions, including the 2-2 draw in the reverse game with Atalanta in Italy on matchday two. Ahead of the Atalanta game, Ajax Amsterdam would be without three important players. The trio of Mohammed Kudus, NoussairMazraoui and Brazilian attacker David Neres will miss the game through various injuries.