|Champions League Round of 16 – Ajax v Real Madrid|
|Venue: Johan Cruijff ArenA Date: Wednesday, 13 February|
|Coverage: From 19:00 GMT – Follow build-up and live radio and text commentary on BBC Radio 5 live, the BBC Sport website and mobile app|
Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior is expected to start in Wednesday’s Champions League last-16 first leg tie against Ajax on Wednesday.
The 18-year-old Brazilian has started the last two games, relegating Gareth Bale to the bench.
“His adaptation has been very fast,” manager Santiago Solari said.
“He has adapted to a new country, a new culture, a different type of football. He has shown his talent but we have to take care of him.”
They are without Jesus Vallejo and Luca Zidane who are still sidelined with hamstring problems, while Marcos Llorente is out with a groin injury and Isco has not recovered from a back and neck issue.
Ajax are likely to start with top-scorer Dusan Tadic, who has scored 22 times in all competitions so far this season, with 11 of those goals coming in his last 12 games.
The Dutch side, who are second in the Eredivise, have lost two of their last three league games, including a humiliating 6-2 defeat to Feyenoord.
Matthijs de Ligt, 19, and Barcelona-bound Frenkie de Jong are also fit to play in the club’s fist Champions League knockout game in 13 years.
Following Ajax’s 1-0 loss to Heracles on Saturday, de Ligt said: “We cannot afford to play as we did against Heracles.
“If we do so we will be slaughtered. For Ajax to be outplayed by Heracles is scandalous.”
Milestone for Ramos
Madrid are chasing their fourth consecutive Champions League title, with captain Sergio Ramos playing in all of them.
The 32-year-old Spain defender is expected to lead his side out against Ajax in what will be his 600th appearance, seeing him move just one game behind club legends Fernando Hierro and Paco Gento in the all-time appearance list at Madrid, and fourth behind Manolo Sanchis (710), Iker Casillas (725) and Raul Gonzalez (741).
Ramos, who also skippers his country, has lifted 20 trophies during his 19 years at the Bernabau, after arriving in 2005 for 27 million euros (£23m), which remains a record fee for a Spanish teenager.
Solari said of the centre-back: “He has been and remains a fantastic captain.
“I think it’s brilliant how he carries out his job as leader, which isn’t an easy one.”
Ajax looking for first win over Madrid in seven attempts – the stats
- Ajax have lost their last six games in European competition against Real Madrid, scoring only two goals and conceding 20. Ajax’s last victory against the Merengues dates back to November 1995, a 2-0 Champions League group stage victory at the Bernabeu with goals from Jari Litmanen and Patrick Kluivert.
- Ajax were one of five teams to remain unbeaten in this season’s Champions League group stages, along with Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Lyon and Porto.
- Ten of Ajax’s 11 goals in this season’s Champions League have been scored in the second half (91%). Meanwhile, 80% of goals conceded by the Dutch side have come from a set-piece (4 out of 5).
- Real Madrid have won the Champions League four times in the last five seasons. In fact, Juventus were the last team to eliminate Real in a Champions League knockout phase, back in the 2014/15 semi-finals.
- Real Madrid have reached the Champions League knockout stages for the 22nd consecutive season, a record run in the history of the competition. This includes making it to the semis in each of the last eight campaigns, also a record run.
- Real Madrid had more shots (120) and touches inside the opposition box (237) than any other team in this season’s Champions League group stages.
source BBC Sports