Club Brugge v Ajax
Ajax will look to overcome, bottom of Group H, Club Brugge and qualify for the knock-out stages of the Champions League.
Ajax will need to beat the Belgium club, while also hoping that an under-strength Milan side beat Celta Vigo.
Ajax coach Ronald Koeman said that his young squad can handle the pressure of the Champions League and get the result they need.
“I think it will be a very tough match, but my players have grown in the last two years and I know they can deal with the pressure,’ Koeman said.
‘We have come here for a win, but that doesn’t mean we will attack blindly from the first minute.”
The former Dutch international – who has virtually a fully-fit squad to chose from – joked: “If we had already qualified for the next round then I would have booked a holiday, but I prefer being here.”
Brugge coach Trond Sollied confessed that when the draw was announced that he would settle for a spot in the UEFA Cup.
“When we started our campaign, we said that our main goal was to finish third so we could play in the UEFA Cup in the new year. Now we have a chance to stay in the Champions League and it would be foolish to blow such a chance lightly,” hesaid.
The Belgians lost 2-0 to Ajax in Amsterdam but Sollied thinks that his side can out-muscle the Dutchmen, claiming to “have the edge when it comes to power and endurance.”
They will have to play though without AndrŽs Mendoza, Alin Stoica and Serhiy Serebrennikov who are ruled out through injury.
Milan v Celta Vigo
Milan have already won the Group, but coach Carlo Ancelotti has said that his side will give a “professional and motivated” performance against Celta at the San Siro.
Milan will be without Paolo Maldini, Cafu, Alessandro Nesta, Andriy Shevchenko, Gennaro Gattuso, Andrea Pirlo and Giuseppe Pancaro who have already left for Japan. Filippo Inzaghi could be replaced by Marco Borriello after suffering with a muscle injury.
Ancelotti hit back at claims that his side was weakened.
“To call the team against Celta second-string is unfair, because at least four of them will start against Boca,’ he said. ‘I will be able to field great players who don’t deserve to be second choices.”
For Celta a win is essential in order to qualify, but despite Milan lacking their regulars, coach Miguel Angel Lotina is anticipating a tough test.
“We will face players who want to prove they deserve to play regularly,’ said Lotina.
‘They are all internationals and they will not be thinking about Boca. We cannot think it will be easy because it won’t be like that.”
Celta themselves will be without Aleksandr Mostovoi, Edu and Juan Velasco.