Ajax won 2-0 when the sides met at the Amsterdam ArenA a fortnight ago, and Thun coach Urs Schönenberger accepts that his team have a difficult task on their hands tonight.
“We were beaten in Amsterdam because we made too many mistakes and we can’t afford to repeat them,” he said. “If your opponent gives you opportunities to score, you must take them.
“Ajax are a very strong side. You only have to look at the players they have to see that. They have so many classy players on the pitch and their bench is full of class players too. Our main priority is to avoid defeat, but we know that if we get three points we will move up to second in the group.”
Thun will again be without captain Andres Gerber as he continues to struggle with an achilles problem, though they welcome back midfielder Tiago Bernardini. Selver Hodzic is doubtful with a knee injury.
Ajax have been struggling to score lately, but coach Danny Blind seems unconcerned.
“Our lack of goals is not a worry because the only worry a coach can have is that his team is not playing good football,” he said. “We have been playing well in the last five or six matches and created a lot of chances. We have just been a bit unlucky.”
Blind is without Hatem Trabelsi and Angelos Charisteas due to hamstring injuries, and he refuses to underestimate tonight’s opponents.
“Some people wrote Thun’s chances off when they qualified for the [UEFA] Champions League, but they do not know Thun,” added Blind. “This is a side that beat FC Dynamo Kyiv in the qualifying stages, so they are a very tough opponent for us.
“It is a home game for Thun, so maybe they will attack a bit more, but I think the organisation of the team will be the same. They are compact and well organised, making them tough to beat. They will have the support of a big crowd who love Thun and will back them 100 per cent. This can be an extra motivation for them.”
Subscribe to World Soccer – The essential football magazine