Monday, December 6
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Nov 24, 2021 at 5.45pm UK
Ghezzal (22' pen.)
Larin (88')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Haller (54', 69')
Haller (85')

Preview: Besiktas vs. Ajax - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Besiktas vs. Ajax - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Champions League clash between Besiktas and Ajax, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Ajax will be looking to maintain their 100% record in the Champions League when they travel to Istanbul to face Group C's basement club Besiktas for their penultimate group game on Wednesday night.

The hosts, meanwhile, have already been eliminated from the competition and are still seeking their first point in the group stage.

Match preview

Besiktas' miserable run of form continued last weekend as they suffered a 2-0 Super Lig defeat away against Alanyaspor.

Hopes of retaining their top-flight title are slipping away for Sergen Yalcin's side, who are sitting ninth in the table and are now 13 points behind league leaders Trabzonspor.

Since the beginning of October, Besiktas have lost seven of their last 10 matches across all competitions. This run includes heavy 4-1 and 4-0 defeats against Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League.

The Black Eagles are one of only two teams in this year's competition, along with Malmo, who have lost all four group-stage matches and only RB Leipzig (13) have conceded more goals than Yalcin's men (12).

With only pride left to play for in their final two Group C games, Besiktas can play without much pressure, though their fans would argue that form needs to improve drastically if their domestic fortunes are to turn around, so Yalcin will be hoping for a response on Wednesday.

In stark contrast, Ajax are enjoying a hugely-successful campaign so far, accumulating maximum points from their four Group C matches in the Champions League as well as sitting top of the Eredivisie after 13 league games.

Their most recent victory in the Dutch top flight was the 5-0 thrashing of RKC Waalwijk on Sunday, thanks to goals from Sebastian Haller (2), Steven Berghuis (2) and Jurrien Timber.

Since suffering a 4-0 defeat in the Dutch Super Cup to PSV Eindhoven in August, De Godenzonen have lost only one of their last 16 games across all competitions, scoring an impressive 56 goals and conceding just four.

Head coach Erik ten Hag – who has recently been linked with the Manchester United vacancy – remains in charge, for now, of a well-oiled machine that is challenging on all fronts at present and will be difficult to stop if their form at both ends of the pitch continues.

Victory for Ajax on Wednesday would see them become only the second Dutch side to win their opening five games of a European Cup or Champions League campaign, after Feyenoord back in 1971-72.

As De Godenzonen travel to Istanbul unbeaten in 29 away matches across all competitions in 2021, they should be very confident of extending such an exceptional run.

Besiktas Champions League form:
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L

Besiktas form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • L

Ajax Champions League form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Ajax form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • W

Team News

Besiktas midfielder Josef De Souza will serve a one-match suspension following an accumulation of yellow cards, while striker Michy Batshuayi is ruled out with a back injury.

Kenan Karaman, who has failed to score in 16 appearances across all competitions so far this season, is at risk of losing his place in the first XI, with Cyle Larin in contention to start down the middle as opposed to on the left flank.

Experienced midfield duo Miralem Pjanic and Atiba Hutchinson, who were both substituted at half time last weekend, are expected to be handed starts on Wednesday, while the likes of Oguzhan Ozyakup and Gokhan Tore will be hoping they can force their way into the starting lineup.

As for Ajax, they are the only team who are yet to make a single change to their starting lineup in this year's competition; however, Edson Alvarez is suspended so Ten Hag is enforced to make a change in midfield.

With Mohammed Kudus ruled out with a broken rib, Davy Klaassen is the most likely candidate to replace Alvarez in the first XI, partnering Ryan Gravenberch in centre-midfield.

After serving a nine-month ban for violating doping rules, goalkeeper Andre Onana returned to the matchday squad for the first time last weekend, and will be available to play on Wednesday.

With Maarten Stekelenburg ruled out for the rest of the season with a hip injury, the Cameroon international could be handed a start between the sticks, though 38-year-old Remko Pasveer will be hoping he can keep the number one jersey.

Striker Haller – who has scored seven goals in just four Champions League appearances this term – is set to lead the line once again, with support provided in advanced midfield roles by Antony, Berghuis and Dusan Tadic.

Besiktas possible starting lineup:
Destanoglu; Rosier, Welinton, Vida, Yilmaz; Pjanic, Ucan, Hutchinson; Ghezzal, Larin, N'Koudou

Ajax possible starting lineup:
Onana; Mazraoui, Timber, Martinez, Blind; Gravenberch, Klaassen; Antony, Berghuis, Tadic; Haller

We say: Besiktas 0-4 Ajax

Both Besiktas and Ajax head into Wednesday's contest in contrasting form, with everything pointing towards a comfortable away victory.

The visitors have been scoring goals for fun in recent weeks and we can see Ten Hag's men inflicting another heavy defeat on their Turkish opponents.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 2.5:data

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