The 2022–23 season’s first Champions League group-stage encounter will take place on Wednesday night in Amsterdam between Scottish powerhouse Rangers and Eredivisie champions Ajax.
The hosts are aiming to win their sixth straight game overall, and they will be attempting to rebound from a crushing Old Firm derby loss last weekend.
Last Saturday, Devyne Rensch and Mohammed Kudus both scored twice to help the Dutch team defeat Cambuur 4-0 at home. Steven Bergwijn, a recent addition, also scored twice.
Ajax is rarely tested on the domestic front, but Alfred Schreuder’s team will have tougher opposition in Group A of the Champions League, with games against Rangers, Liverpool, and Napoli scheduled both at home and away.
Ajax will be eager to get off to a good start this season in an effort to advance to the knockout stages for the third time in five years. Last season, Ajax won all six of their games during the group round of the competition.
After defeating Union SG and PSV Eindhoven over the course of two legs in the qualification rounds, Rangers will play in the Champions League group stage for the first time in 12 years.
Even though the prospect of playing in Europe’s premier club championship is exciting, the Ibrox team’s morale took a hit last weekend when they lost badly to rivals Celtic on the road in the Old Firm rivalry, 4-0.
The Europa League finalists from last season had won both of their previous two trips to the Netherlands, including the narrow 1-0 second-leg victory over PSV in the playoff round last month. They are now headed to Amsterdam.
Van Bronckhorst, a 2010 World Cup runner-up with 106 caps for the Netherlands, will be playing on familiar ground on Wednesday, albeit his managing record against Ajax leaves little to be desired; during his tenure at Feyenoord, he won only two of his previous 10 matches against them.
Rangers has only made it out of the group stage once in their last ten attempts, which was in the Champions League in 2005-06. A win this week would increase their chances of doing so this season.