Real Madrid's quest to claim a fourth consecutive UEFA Champions League title takes them to Amsterdam on Wednesday, where they'll face Ajax in the first leg of their round-of-16 encounter.
Los Blancos topped Group G and have been tasked with beating Group E runners-up Ajax, something Bayern Munich couldn't manage at home or away in the previous round.
This is the first time in 13 years that the Godenzonen have qualified for the last 16, while Real haven't lost a two-legged Champions League knockout fixture since their semi-final clash against Juventus in 2015.
Real coach Santiago Solari has steered Real back on course in recent weeks and will hope to extend their unbeaten run to eight matches in a row, already their best streak since Zinedine Zidane was at the helm.
Date: Wednesday, February 13
Time: 8 p.m. GMT/3 p.m. ET
Venue: Johan Cruyff Arena, Amsterdam, Netherlands
TV Info: BT Sports 3 (UK), Univision Deportes (U.S.)
A 3-1 Madrid derby win over rivals Atletico on Saturday provided Real with the perfect backdrop to stage their Champions League revival, having lost their most recent European outing 3-0 at home to CSKA Moscow.
That December defeat may have been inconsequential as far as the Group G standings were concerned, although it was Real's biggest-ever home loss in Europe.
That was one of two defeats Real suffered in the group stage—Ajax went unbeaten in their six Group E matches—as CSKA also beat Los Blancos 1-0 in the Russian capital.
Nonetheless, Solari's men beat AS Roma home and away—their 3-0 home victory came under his predecessor, Julen Lopetegui—and the club shared some of their European highlights this term:
Vinicius Junior played only 118 minutes of Real's group-stage campaign but has since become a more consistent feature in Solari's lineup and will hope to make his mark in Amsterdam.
His first Champions League appearance came as a substitute against Viktoria Plzen in November, when he assisted Toni Kroos only five minutes after coming on in a 5-0 rout. His profile has only risen since then, but Solari recently called for calm over the 18-year-old, via Omnisport:
Real midfielder Isco has not been favoured by Solari and is still yet to start a league game under the Argentinian. It's doubtful as to whether he'll feature in the Netherlands, either, after Real confirmed Isco's "back and neck pain has been diagnosed as acute dorsalgia & cervicalgia."
Rivals Barcelona recently announced the £65 million signing of Ajax anchor Frenkie de Jong for this summer, but he and full-back Nicolas Tagliafico have been reported as injury concerns for Wednesday, per AS.
If De Jong misses out on the home leg, it means even more pressure falls on the shoulders of Ajax centre-back Matthijs de Ligt, the other of Ajax's talents pegged for genuine superstardom. His statistics in the first half of the campaign stood out to Statman Dave:
Wednesday's European clash against the defending champions will hand the Netherlands star a test unlike many he's faced before, and Ajax are hoping to turn the tide against this opponent in particular.
The Eredivisie giants have beaten Real four times in their 12 meetings overall (one draw). However, Los Blancos have won the last six encounters in succession and hammered Ajax 8-2 across two games in their 2011-12 group campaign.