Auxerre vs Ajax Preview
Ajax go into the clash with Auxerre hoping to steal a march on AC Milan in the race to qualify along with Real Madrid.The Rossoneri are level with Ajax on four points, both five adrift of leaders Madrid, and Ajax know that if results go their way they could stand second by the end of the night.
The Amsterdam club have a well-placed mole in their ranks ahead of the game too, with midfielder Teemu Tainio having spent eight years with Auxerre before moving to England with Tottenham, Birmingham and Sunderland and then on to Ajax.
"Auxerre are very strong, especially in home games," the 30-year-old said.
"I spent seven-and-a-half years with them and this is the first time I will meet them as an opponent. Furthermore, this is a Champions League game. That makes it doubly special."
Ajax are known worldwide for their ability to develop young players, and Finland international Tainio believes Auxerre deserve credit for their academy too, having witnessed the work they do at close quarters.
"They are the little brother of Ajax," he added. "They put energy into the development of young players they then might sell."
Experienced Ajax striker Mido will miss the clash so Florian Jozefzoon comes into the squad.
Demy de Zeeuw (leg) missed the 4-1 win against Heracles at the weekend and is a fitness concern, while Oleguer has not played since breaking his nose against Auxerre two weeks ago.
Nicolas Lodeiro and Kenneth Vermeer are long-term injury casualties and defender Andre Ooijer is suspended.
Auxerre have yet to win a game in this season's competition and are rooted to the foot of the group without a point to their name.
They have only scored one goal so far too, with Valter Birsa netting a free-kick in the 2-1 defeat to Ajax last time out in Europe.
Dennis Oliech and Jean-Pascal Mignot were both sent off in that defeat and will miss out through suspension, while Anthony Le Tallec (ankle), Steeven Langil (ankle) and Ireneusz Jelen (knee) are injured.