FC Barcelona travel to the Netherlands tonight to take on AFC Ajax in the fifth match of the UEFA Champions League group stage, hoping to extend an impressive record that has seen them progress from Group H with two games to spare. Gerardo Martino knows that all his side needs to do tonight is avoid defeat tonight and they will top the group -- ensuring what should be an easier draw in the Round of 16.
That may not be the case in reality -- at the moment Manchester City, Borussia Dortmund and Juventus are all on course to finish as runners-up in their respective groups, but Barça would at least avoid Bayern Munich (barring a dramatic collapse from Pep Guardiola's juggernaut). Given last season's humbling aggregate defeat against the Bavarians, I think we can all agree that avoiding Pep is probably the most favourable option.
Both of tonight's teams are suffering with something of an injury crisis; Barcelona will be without a raft of key first team players, including Lionel Messi, while Ajax are without four of their first choice offensive options -- including former Barça starlet, Bojan Krkic. It's doubtful that they will miss a striker who hasn't scored a single goal this season, but they certainly will be weaker without Siem de Jong leading the line.
But with their progress almost hinging on getting a result tonight, Ajax will be motivated -- can Barcelona emphasis their superiority with another win despite resting and rotating their squad, or will de Boer mastermind a memorable home victory? Predict the score of tonight's match by commenting with your prediction below. Best of luck!