For either Celtic or Ajax to advance out of a tough Champions League group that also includes Barcelona and AC Milan, earning three points in their matchup on Wednesday will be absolutely vital.
Celtic won the first fixture between these teams in Glasgow, 2-1, and are currently third on the table with three points. With a win over Ajax and an AC Milan loss to Barcelona, the Scottish side would vault into third place with two games to go. Advancing would still be a long shot, but they would get to play Milan at home.
For Ajax, anything less than a win in this game will basically ensure elimination. The stakes couldn't be higher, folks—Barca vs. Milan may be the premier Group H matchup on Wednesday, but everything will be on the line for Celtic and Ajax.
When: Wednesday, November 6, at 2:45 p.m. ET (7:45 p.m. GMT)
Where: Amsterdam ArenA, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Celtic have yet to lose in the Scottish Premiership and haven't lost since dropping to Barcelona on October 1, 1-0. But, two of their three losses this year have come on the road, as have two of their draws.
Celtic are always dangerous at home, but how well will they travel against a talented Ajax side?
For Ajax, the season has started off in pretty disappointing fashion. They have yet to win in the Champions League group stage and currently find themselves sixth on the Eredivisie table after 12 matches.
The team will be leaning on forward Kolbeinn Sigthorsson (seven goals in 15 appearances across all competitions) to spark an attack that has managed just two goals in three group-stage games.
And manager Frank de Boer thinks they can earn three points if they match their performance from the last meeting between these teams, via BBC Sport:
We think we will succeed if we play the same as we did in Glasgow. If you look at that match we had chances and a lot of good moments. Celtic didn't create any chances but scored twice and won the game.
They can be confident, they have had some good results in the last year, [beating] Barcelona for example, so they can be confident. But I saw good things from my side in Glasgow so I also have confidence in my team that we can get three points here and then we are one point ahead [of Celtic].
It is a crucial game for us. For them, a draw is maybe enough so they can wait more than they did in Glasgow. We have to force the game but we are in good shape to create chances and get the three points.
Celtic certainly could play for a draw, though their chances of advancing out of the group stage would increase significantly with a win. Expect them to go for the win.
It's been a rough start for Ajax, and it won't get easier against Celtic. The home side probably deserved more than a 2-1 loss in the last match, and Celtic aren't nearly as good on the road, but this one looks like an even, competitive match.
Celtic come in on better form and with less pressure. Ajax will press hard, but in the end this game will end in a 1-1 draw.
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