Fearless Babel relishing Dortmund clash as Cruyff rues Ajax's Champions League demise

Goal.com
Fearless Babel relishing Dortmund clash as Cruyff rues Ajax's Champions League demise
.

View photo

Fearless Babel relishing Dortmund clash as Cruyff rues Ajax's Champions League demise

Ryan Babel has quashed the notion that Ajax has already lost their Champions League opener with Borussia Dortmund.

The German champions are heavily favored to overcome the Eredivisie holders on Tuesday, with the luxury of home advantage playing into the hands of Jurgen Klopp's charges.

Nonetheless, Babel, who returned to Ajax on transfer deadline day in August, is remaining positive about his side's prospects, but insists it must be clinical in its approach.

"Our squad has a lot of experience in the Champions League," the former Liverpool ace told reporters.

"We have not lost in advance. There are opportunities awaiting us and we must exploit them."

However, the Netherlands international's view is not shared by Johan Cruyff, who believes the Amsterdam giants will suffer a disappointing fate in Group D against the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester City, as well as BVB.

"This year, I have mixed feelings in the Champions League," the legendary attacker wrote in his column for De Telegraaf.

"Of course it's nice that Ajax play against the champions of Spain, England and Germany.

"But at the same time, you realise that it is very difficult for the club to qualify for the knockout stages."

Cruyff also reflected on the fall from grace that Ajax has endured since its appearance in the final of the 1996 competition, where it lost to Juventus on penalties.

"This situation is mainly caused because Ajax were placed in the third pot of the draw," he continued. "Over the last 17 years something clearly went wrong.

"How can it happen that a team that won the Champions League in 1995, and in the final again a year later, now find themselves in the third pot?"

Follow Goal.com on Twitter to get the latest soccer news directly. Check out Goal.com's Facebook page; be part of the best soccer fan community in the world!
View Comments (0)
  • Ronaldo scores 2 for Madrid; 1st league victory for Neville

    Ronaldo scores 2 for Madrid; 1st league victory for Neville

    Cristiano Ronaldo scored two goals to lead Real Madrid to a 4-2 win over Athletic Bilbao on Saturday, provisionally lifting it into second place, while Gary Neville finally got his first Spanish league victory in charge of Valencia. Ronaldo opened … More »

    AP - Sports - 28 minutes ago
  • First league win for Neville, Ronaldo lifts Real

    First league win for Neville, Ronaldo lifts Real

    Valencia handed coach Gary Neville his first La Liga win when they beat Espanyol 2-1 on Saturday while Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice in a thrilling 4-2 home victory for Real Madrid over Athletic Bilbao. Hosts Valencia fought their way back from … More »

    Reuters - 29 minutes ago
  • Juventus beats Napoli to lead Serie A, Man U loses again

    Juventus got a late goal to beat Napoli 1-0 and snatch the lead of Italy's Serie A from its southern rival on Saturday. … More »

    AP - Sports - 30 minutes ago
  • Lloyd moves USWNT 1 win from Olympics

    Lloyd moves USWNT 1 win from Olympics

    Carli Lloyd scored off a rebound of her own penalty kick in the 86th minute and the United States beat Mexico 1-0 on Saturday to clinch a spot in the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying semifinals. Lloyd's penalty shot, following a Mexico hand ball in the … More »

    AP - Sports - 37 minutes ago
  • Sporting routs Nacional to reclaim sole lead in Portugal

    LISBON, Portugal (AP) -- Sporting Lisbon got two goals from Islam Slimani in a 4-0 win at Nacional as it reclaimed the sole lead of the Portuguese league from Benfica on Saturday. … More »

    AP - Sports - 46 minutes ago