Champions, Ajax-Lille: heavy absences for the Dutch
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The Champions League is back for Ajax, which four months ago could have written another incredible page in European history. Ten Hag's team stopped on the most beautiful, eliminated in the return of the semifinal by a Tottenham goal in the last few seconds of recovery time. 132 days have passed since that night at the Johan Cruijff Arena and today - after a double round of preliminaries - the Dutch team starts again against Lille, who returns to the group stage after 7 years of absence. It is the first day of group H, then completed by Chelsea and Valencia. It will be the first cross in an official competition between these two formations. The designated referee is Serbian Jovanović, the starting whistle scheduled for 9.00 pm.
HOW AJAX COMES - Compared to the game with Tottenham mentioned above, ten Hag cannot count on some jewels such as De Ligt, De Jong and Schone, sold by the club in the summer. The team remained very competitive, as evidenced by the primacy in the league on equal points (13) with PSV and the unbeatenness that has lasted since the beginning of the season (7 wins and 3 draws). In defense there is doubt on the right with Mazraoui not in perfect condition: he shouldn't be able to do it, so Dest is ready. In midfield Alvarez and Martinez will have the task of supporting the 4 offensive men: Ziyech, Promez, Neres and Tadic. Van de Beek is also injured, he won't be there.
HOW LILLE ARRIVES - Like Ajax, Lille also changed a lot in the summer, selling valuable pieces such as Pepé, Leao and Mendes and taking very interesting players such as Renato Sanches, Yazici and Weah. The season in France started with ups and downs and the team is in 5th place with 3 wins and 2 defeats (both away). "We will have to run and suffer to make a result and we will be able to do it," coach Gaultier said yesterday. In 4-2-3-1 there are several ballots. At the center of defense Soumaoro is ahead of Gabriel, as well as in the median Renato Sanches over Soumaré to support André. Iconé, Yazici and Bamba should be the midfielders behind Osimhen. The other unavailable is Weah.