Schalke 04 – Ajax
Schalke 04 hosts Ajax in an Europa League 1/4-final rematch, but the German team have a really difficult task against the Dutch giants. After losing the first leg in Amsterdam with 0-2, now Schalke must play a perfect game, if they want to overturn the tie.
The first leg at the Amsterdam ArenA didn’t go very well for the Royal Blues. Two goals from Davy Klaassen gave Ajax a comfortable lead before the second leg. Schalke had some chances to score as well, but the German team was unable to do it, so now Ajax have a great result after the first 90 minutes.
While Ajax are still locked up in a fierce battle with Feyenoord for the title in the Eredivisie, the situation for Schalke in the Bundesliga is much different. The Royal Blues are far away from the Top 4 and the Champions League spots, so winning Europa League is their only remaining chance of returning to Europe’s richest and most prestigious competition.
Even with a bad result like this, do not make a mistake – Schalke is still a very good team, which is capable to overturn the tie. Their biggest problem right now is not the quaity of their team, but their lack of confidence, which is a result of their bad season so far. They reached one of Europa League’s laest phases, but in the Bundesliga they are performing in a very mediocre way this season.
There’s a little doubt that Ajax are the big favourites to qualify for the 1/2-finals of the competition, thanks to the great result they managed to achieve in the first leg. It still remains to be seen, how exactly this loss will affect Schalke’s players and their confidence before the rematch. But if they manage to score first, then everything could happen.