2021/22 UEFA Europa League finalists Rangers will begin their journey in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League (UCL) this Wednesday when they travel to Amsterdam to face Eredivisie champions Ajax.
Venue: Johan Cruijff Arena (Amsterdam)
Ajax are unbeaten in seven across their last eight UCL games (W6, D1).
They have won their last five competitive games.
They have kept three consecutive clean sheets coming into this tie.
Ajax scored at least twice in seven of their last eight matches in the UCL
Rangers have won just two of their last 12 away games in European competition (D4, L6).
They have kept just one clean sheet in their last eleven competitive games.
Rangers boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst faced Ajax the most often without ever winning against as a player (D4, L8).
Ajax’s Steven Bergwijn became the first Ajax player since Luis Suárez to net at least six goals after five Eredivisie games.
Head to head
Both sides have met four times in the past, with Ajax winning all four games.
Latest performances in all competitions
After a summer of changes, Ajax will look to begin their UEFA Champions League group stage games with a win when they welcome Rangers to Johan Cruijff Arena.
The three-time consecutive Dutch champions have lost two of their key players Anthony and Lisandro Martinez to former manager Erik ten Hag who has taken over at Manchester United. But in place of the duo, the new manager Alfred Schreuder has made some shrewd signings, including former Rangers’ man Calvin Bassey.
Despite their losses, the hosts have kicked off their league campaign with a perfect start, winning all five games so far and scoring 16 times. De Godenzonen have been fast starters so far this season, leading at all but one interval so far.
And with seven unbeaten games across the last eight in the UCL (W6, D1), Schreuder will hope that his side can continue to turn domestic dominance into strong performances in this competition.
They have been put in the same group as Liverpool and Napoli and will enter into this group with the hope that they can finish in second place. Given their positive overall record against Scottish opponents (W6, D2, L4) they will be confident of getting a good result against Rangers.
Possible Ajax starting line-up
Remko Pasveer; Devyne Rensch, Jurrien Timber, Calvin Bassey, Daley Blind; Dusan Tadic, Edson Álvarez, Davy Klaassen; Steven Berghuis, Brian Brobbey, Steven Bergwijn.
Injured: Owen Wijndal
Rangers will attempt to pick themselves back up when they travel to Amsterdam on Wednesday.
The visitors come into this tie on the back of an embarrassing 4-0 defeat to Scottish Premiership rivals Celtic, leaving their title hopes on the ropes, even at this early stage.
Boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst said the result in the Old Firm Derby “can never happen again, against any opponent”. And so the former Feyenoord man will be hoping that his men can put up a better performance when he takes them to face his old De Klassieker rivals Ajax, the side he faced most often without ever winning against as a player (D4, L8).
Meanwhile, the Glasgow side who are making a first UCL group stage appearance since 2010/11 qualified for this stage of the tournament via the qualifiers stage, beating Royale Union and PSV in the last round despite being on the losing end in both games. In fact, Rangers’ 1-0 away win in Eindhoven saw them score their first goal in four European away games and secure only their second victory in 12 (D4, L6). So they will travel to Amsterdam confident that they can get a result after the experience they have gained in their run to the final of the Europa League last season.
Possible Rangers starting line-up
McLaughlin; James Tavernier, Connor Goldson, James Sands, Borna Barisic; John Lundstram, Steven Davis, Glen Kamara; Malik Tillman, Antonio Colak, Ryan Kent.
Injured: Ben Davies, Tom Lawrence, John Souttar, Ianis Hagi, Filip Helander, Kemar Roofe.
Ajax 2-1 Rangers