In Review

Champions League: Ajax vs. Tottenham preview, predictions, team news, starting XIs, betting odds, TV

Pochettino drops a bombshell before the second leg in Amsterdam

Ajax vs. Tottenham Hotspur (1-0 on aggregate)
  • What: Uefa Champions League quarter-final second leg 
  • When: Wednesday 8 May 
  • Where: Johan Cruyff Arena, Amsterdam, Netherlands 
  • Kick-off time: 8pm (UK time) 
  • TV channel and live stream: BT Sport 2
  • Referee: Felix Brych (Germany)

Tottenham defender Kieran Trippier has urged his team-mates to play with “no fear” as they aim to overturn a one-goal deficit against Ajax in the Champions League semi-finals.

Thanks to Donny van de Beek’s winner in the first leg last week the Dutch side will be favourites to reach the Champions League final on 1 June. But Trippier says Spurs have nothing to lose on Wednesday in the return fixture at the Johan Cruyff Arena.

The England right-back said: “We’ve the belief in the squad and we’ll go there with nothing to lose and try to score as many goals as we can.

“It’s only 1-0 and okay, they’ve got their away goal, but if you look at the performance, desire and determination we showed against [Manchester] City at their place in the last round, we scored three goals and anything can happen.

“We have to go out there with no fear. We know it’s a difficult place to go, I’ve played at their stadium before so we know what it’s going to be like but we believe in ourselves and believe that we can go there and score goals.”

The winners of the Ajax-Tottenham tie will play Liverpool in the 1 June final in Madrid.

Pochettino may leave if Spurs win the UCL

Speaking at the pre-match press conference Mauricio Pochettino dropped a bombshell by declaring that should Tottenham win the Champions League he could walk away from the club.

The Spurs manager said: “To win in these circumstances this season, maybe I need to think about maybe doing something different in the future.

“It’s not a joke. Winning the Champions League? It should be fantastic, no? Close the five-year chapter and go home.

“We are living a dream. Five years ago when we arrived it was to reduce the gap to the top four, and then to have the possibility to play in the Champions League.

“I think nobody would believe we would be playing in the Champions League three seasons in a row and competing at this stage.”

What the managers say

Erik ten Hag, Ajax

“We need to win this match, that will be our mindset. We have to stick to our own strengths. We’re confident we can do it, we’re fit and eager. A few people who knew this level of success said it would still be possible for a Dutch team to reach the Champions League final; people like Johan Cruyff, Louis van Gaal and [Ajax director] Marc Overmars. It’s up to us to prove them right.”

Mauricio Pochettino, Tottenham

“The negative result in the first leg obviously makes it more difficult, but the tie is still open. We know we need to win and perform to our best. It’s an exciting moment for us. Nobody thought we would have the possibility in the last week of the season to reach the final of the Champions League. Now we need to enjoy this moment and believe.”

Team news and possible starting XIs

Ajax injury news and suspensions

After winning the Dutch cup at the weekend Ajax go into the second leg with only Hassane Bande and Carel Eiting missing from their squad. Bande has a calf injury while Eiting has a knee issue.

Tottenham injury news and suspensions

Spurs are still without England striker Harry Kane because of an injured ankle but Heung-min Son returns to the squad after missing the first leg because of suspension.

Winger Erik Lamela, full-back Serge Aurier and defender Jan Vertonghen have all returned to training this week. However, centre-half Davinson Sanchez is ruled out with a thigh injury.

Midfielder Harry Winks has commenced on-field rehabilitation after groin surgery but will miss the tie in Amsterdam. Striker Vincent Janssen is ineligible to feature in the Champions League.

Possible starting XIs

How the teams could line up at the Johan Cruyff Arena, according to Uefa.com.

  • Ajax possible starting XI (4-3-3): Onana; Mazraoui, Blind, De Ligt, Tagliafico; Van de Beek, De Jong, Schöne; Ziyech, Tadić, Neres 
  • Tottenham possible starting XI (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Sissoko, Wanyama; Alli, Eriksen, Moura; Son

Score predictions

London Evening Standard: Ajax 1 Tottenham 1 (2-1 on aggregate)

“Perhaps unsurprisingly for a team that have played so many matches this season and not made a signing since January 2018, Tottenham are looking weary as the end of the season approaches. However, the fact that they are only trailing by one goal and still well in the tie should give them confidence given how well Ajax started that first leg. Only one of the 17 teams who have lost the home first leg of a semi-final in the Champions League era have gone on to win on aggregate - Ajax themselves in 1995-96.”

90min: Ajax 1 Tottenham 1 (2-1 on aggregate)

“Ajax’s incredible run has seen them overcome the likes of ​Juventus and ​Real Madrid, but they failed to win the home leg in both fixtures. This will give confidence to Tottenham, who themselves are boosted by the return of Son. Despite their spells of control in the first leg, Tottenham were lacking any real goal threat, so the South Korean forward’s return could be pivotal in this fixture. Tottenham could well make a game of it, but Ajax might just have a little too much for the ​Premier League side.”

Sports Mole: Ajax 2 Tottenham 1 (3-1 on aggregate)

“Since the start of 2018, Spurs have won only one of their six Champions League away games - a 1-0 victory at Borussia Dortmund in this season’s round of 16. Ajax may be winless in their last three home games in the competition, but they have the advantage of an away goal and are much fancied to complete the job in front of their fanatic supporters.”

Ajax vs. Tottenham betting odds

As of 7 May, see Oddschecker for the latest prices.

Match betting
  • Ajax to win: 6/5 
  • Draw: 11/4 
  • Tottenham to win: 12/5
To qualify
  • Ajax: 2/7 
  • Tottenham: 13/5
To win the Champions League
  • Liverpool: 4/9
  • Ajax: 3/1 
  • Tottenham: 17/2 

When is the Champions League final?

The 2018-19 Uefa Champions League final will be played at the Estadio Metropolitano in Madrid, Spain, on Saturday 1 June (8pm UK time). Ajax or Tottenham will play Liverpool in the final.

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