Ajax vs. Barcelona: Preview and TV schedule

Denis Doyle

Despite a long list of missing players due to injury and suspension, Gerardo Martino and Barcelona can secure a place in the Round of 16 with just a draw against Ajax.

Barcelona will look to tighten their grip on Group H as they travel to face Ajax in Amsterdam on Tuesday. More importantly, the Blaugrana need only a draw from the match to clinch a spot in the Champions League knockout round.

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Given all the injuries that Gerardo Martino has faced of late, securing at least that point would take some pressure off going into the final group stage match against Celtic. Lionel Messi and Victor Valdés lead Barcelona's long injury list going in to the match.

Martino is expected to again play Neymar in Messi's central false nine role, supported on the wings by Pedro and either Sergi Roberto or Andrés Iniesta. With Xavi returning after missing Barca's match over the weekend, it seems more likely that Iniesta will play in an advanced role with Alexis Sanchez suspended after picking up three bookings in his previous group stages appearances.

Ajax were hammered in the first meeting between the two clubs at the Camp Nou in September thanks in large part to Lionel Messi's hat trick. A loss against Barca combined with a win by AC Milan against Celtic would end Ajax's hope of qualifying for the Round of 16.

Ajax injuries and suspensions

Out: Bojan Krkic (hamstring). In doubt: Kolbeinn Sigthorsson (ankle), Siem de Jong (hamstring).

Barcelona injuries and suspensions

Out: Lionel Messi (thigh), Victor Valdés (calf), Dani Alves (calf), Jordi Alba (hamstring), Alexis Sanchez (suspended).

Messi and Valdés are out until after the new year while both Alves and Alba are close to returns, Tuesday will be too soon. Alexis Sanchez is suspended for card accumulation. On-loan Bojan Krkic remains out with a hamstring problem while Kolbeinn Sigthorsson and Siem de Jong both missed Ajax's weekend victory over Heracles.

Projected lineups

Ajax: Jasper Cillessen, Nicolai Boilesen, Niklas Moisander, Joël; Veltman, Ricardo van Rhijn, Thulani Serero, Daley Blind, Davy Klaassen, Viktor Fischer, Danny Hoesen, Lasse Schöne.

Barcelona: José Manuel Pinto, Martin Montoya, Gerard Piqué, Marc Bartra, Adriano, Sergio Busquets, Cesc Fàbregas, Xavi Hernandez, Pedro Rodriguez, Neymar, Andrés Iniesta.

Match Date/Time: 8:45 p.m. local, 2:45 p.m. ET

Venue: Amsterdam ArenA, Amsterdam, Netherlands

TV: Fox Sports Net, Fox Deportes (U.S.), Sky Sports Red Button (U.K.), Sportsnet (Canada)

Online: Fox Soccer 2Go (U.S.), Sportsnet World Online (Canada)

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