After a disappointing start to the European season which has seen them pick up just one point from their opening two matches, Ajax are hoping to kick-start their Champions League campaign against FC Thun on Tuesday.
The Dutch side know that anything but three points at the Amsterdam ArenA could prove terminal to their qualification hopes.
“I am no mathematician, but it is clear we need to win this game,” said coach Danny Blind.
“Seven points would be good for us – this means we have to win our two remaining home games and we already have one away point.”
“We are playing quite well and creating lots of chances, but making the most of those chances is the one quality we are missing,” he added.
“One of the issues is that the team becomes unsettled when we don’t score, so we need an early goal. And to score goals we need players who are cold-blooded, determined and have a professional approach – I would call it players who can smell blood.”
Blind has not been helped by a run of injuries, but tonight he welcomes back midfield trio Steven Pienaar, Hedwiges Maduro and Juanfran.
“The absentees are Maxwell, [Nicolae] Mitea, [Angelos] Charisteas, [Edgar] Manucharyan and [Bogdan] Lobont,” he said.
Blind is expected to persist with a three-man attack of Ryan Babel, Nourdin Boukhari and Markus Rosenberg.
Meanwhile, Thun coach Urs Schönenberger regards Ajax as formidable opponents.
“They are a strong outfit, playing very fast football and a good passing game. They had a lot of chances, so we have to play a very good game to have a chance. Our players need to keep their self-confidence and be aggressive in turning from defence to attack.”
Thun are expected to be without Schönenberger Adriano Pimenta and Selver Hodzic tonight.