Still, Ajax played a very good game and Solari’s men will need to take a cautious approach if they want to take care of business and advance to the next round.
Sergio Ramos will be suspended for Real Madrid’s Champions League last-16 second leg tie against Ajax on Tuesday as he serves the first of a two-match ban.
The Real Madrid captain picked up the 89th-minute booking in the first leg with suspicions that he had done so deliberately to miss the next game at the Bernabeu.
While Ramos has protested his innocence, UEFA handed him a two-game ban for “clearly receiving a yellow card on purpose”,
although manager Santiago Solari says his side have enough experience to cope without him.
Real Madrid’s failure to replace Cristiano Ronaldo’s goals has contributed to their struggles this season, says midfielder Luka Modric.
Real, chasing a fourth European title in a row, host Ajax in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday having won 2-1 in Amsterdam.
But they come into the game on the back of three consecutive home defeats – including two by Barcelona last week.
They have lost three of their last four games, 2-1 to Girona, 3-0 to Barcelona in the Spanish Cup semi-final second leg and 1-0 to Barca in La Liga to leave them 12 points off top.
Team news of Real Madrid vs Ajax
Aside from Ramos’ suspension, Real Madrid have no other major injury concerns ahead of the game.
For Ajax, center-back Lisandro Magallan and midfielder Carel Eiting are likely to be missing as they were in the first leg.
Gareth Bale is expected to miss out on a starting spot as Real Madrid meet Ajax in the Champions League tonight.
The Welsh winger was booed by fans at the Santiago Bernabeu in Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Barcelona in LaLiga and with the club’s season at stake,
coach Santiago Solari looks likely to opt for either Lucas Vazquez or Marco Asensio in his place.
Luka Modric defended Bale in yesterday’s pre-match press conference, saying his contribution for Real Madrid should not be forgotten.
But the midfielder also said some players have not stepped up since the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo in the summer and Bale is one of those.
While it was hoped the 29-year-old would assume the role of leader in the absence of the Portuguese,
he has spent time out through injury and scored only 13 times in his 33 appearances this season
Real Madrid XI (4-3-3): Courtois; Reguilon, Varane, Nacho, Carvajal; Casemiro, Kroos, Modric; Vinicius Junior, Benzema, Vazquez
Ajax XI (4-3-3): Onana; Tagliafico, Blind, de Ligt, Mazroui; Schone, de Jong, van de Beek; Neres, Tadic, Ziyech
HOW TO WATCH, STREAM CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Time: 21:00 CEST, 03:00pm EST, 12:00pm Pacific.
Venue: Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain.
Available TV: Univision (USA), Movistar Liga Campeones (Spain).
Available Streaming: Univision (USA), Fubo.TV (EVERY Real Madrid game with a high-quality and legal stream.
100 percent of teams to have won 2-1 away from home in the first leg of a Champions League knockout match have progressed to the next round (8 previous cases).
Real Madrid has won their last seven games in all competitions against Ajax (22 goals for, 3 against), the best ever run for the Spanish side against a single opponent in European competition.
Ajax’s last victory against the Merengues was back in November 1995: 2-0 in the Champions League group stages at the Bernabeu with goals from Jari Litmanen and Patrick Kluivert.