Both teams have something to play for as Ajax travel to Spain hoping to hold on to a Europa League spot
Unlike the other match in Group D, both Real Madrid and Ajax have something to play for in this final group stage match. Madrid cannot catch Dortmund for the top spot in the group and they can't fall out of second, but pride is on the line and showing their fans they are on track as they head towards the knockout rounds is important.
For Ajax, a win guarantees them a spot in the Europa League. Considering that when this group was drawn together they were universally picked to finish last, that's a big positive. Ajax have been key in Manchester City's UCL failures and if they can defeat Madrid, they'll make sure City finishes last in the group.
Other than that, this game doesn't have much to offer. Jose Mourinho likely won't risk any key starters and I doubt there will be any expectations on him and his team to get a result. Even so, there's a good chance they still will just because they're a good team. Then again, a loss at home against Ajax would further enrage Madrid fans already annoyed at the huge gap between their team and Barcelona in the La Liga table. Success in the Champions League is all but required now, so Madrid very well could go for a big, confidence building win.
If you are a casual neutral in this one, I suggest rooting for Ajax as they try to secure a Europa League spot. It's the warm and fuzzy story.
Real Madrid injuries and suspensions
Out: Alvaro Arbeloa (suspended). In doubt: None.
Ajax injuries and suspensions
Out: Ryan Babel (shoulder), Thulani Serero (groin), Kolbeinn Sigthórsson (shoulder), Nicolai Boilesen, Davy Klaassen. In Doubt: None.
Ryan Babel suffered a setback as he attempts to come back from a dislocated shoulder and will miss out. Alvaro Arebloa is suspended for this match for Madrid.
Match Date/Time: 9:45 p.m. local, 2:45 p.m. ET
Venue: Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid, Spain
TV: DirecTV (U.S.), Sky Sports 1 (U.K.), Sportsnet (Canada)
Online: FOX Soccer 2 Go (U.S.)