Ajax welcome Rangers to Johan Cruyff Arena in Group A of 2022-23 UEFA Champions League.
With Napoli and Liverpool not playing until primetime, victory would see Ajax or Rangers go top of Group A for at least a few hours at minimum.
Owen Wijndal is Ajax’s only injury absentee with an ankle injury.
Rangers have no fresh injury concerns to report following Saturday’s 4-0 defeat at Celtic, as Ben Davies (knock), John Souttar (knock) and Tom Lawrence (knee) are ruled out.
Kemar Roofe, Ianis Hagis and Filip Helander are both ineligible after being left out of Rangers’ Champions League squad, following lengthy injuries.
- Ajax are unbeaten in two previous Champions League meetings against Rangers (W2), winning both clashes in Group Stage of 1996-97 season coincidentally also in Group A.
- Rangers lost 4-1 in their only previous away Champions League match against Ajax in October 1996.
- Ajax have scored five goals and conceded one goal against Rangers in their two previous Champions League meetings.
- Ajax have won four of their last seven Champions League matches played at home (W4, L3).
- Rangers have won just one of their last five ‘away’ matches in all UEFA competitions (W1, D1, L3), excluding penalties in May’s Europa League Final defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt.
Despite losing Lisandro Martinez, Antony and Sebastien Haller amongst several exits this summer, Ajax are currently on a five-match unbeaten run so I do expect them to come out fighting for an early win in this tricky group.
Rangers however are underdogs in a group that also contains Liverpool and Napoli and having beaten PSV in their play-off, I can’t see the Gers holding much fear coming into this match because they proved their resilience in the knockout stage of last season’s Europa League.
My only concern though is that Rangers’ European away form has generally been poor with just two wins since March 2021, so the first goal could be crucial because if Ajax get ahead early then I don’t see Rangers getting anything from this match.
Prediction: Ajax 2-1 Rangers
Result: Ajax 4-0 Rangers