Ajax v Lyon preview

The Amsterdammers open their campaign tomorrow night against Lyon

with De Boer already dismissing the possibility of his side winning

the pool. And with Lyon expected to be Ajax’s closest challengers –

Dinamo Zagreb are the rank outsiders – it is a crucial game for

both sides. De Boer told France Football: “It is very important

because it’s a big match in the race for second place. “I think

Real Madrid will finish on top but if we win tomorrow it means we

will take a step towards second.” Ajax have made a strong start to

the defence of their Eredivisie title and currently lead the way in

Holland once again having taken 13 points from five games. De Boer

has been encouraged by their recent performances and is relishing

the prospect of seeing them compete in Europe. He added: “I cannot

wait to see how my young players will go when faced with a team

which has more experience in this competition. “This is just my

second game as coach in the Champions League and I want to keep my

unbeaten record.” Lyon boss Remi Garde agreed with De Boer in that

the two sides are playing for the runners-up spot behind Jose

Mourinho’s Madrid. “It would be very strange if Madrid did not

finish on top,” he said. “We are competing with Ajax and Dinamo for

second.” Lyon, like Ajax, have made a solid start domestically –

Les Gones lie second having won three and drawn two of their

opening five Ligue 1 fixtures. Full-back Anthony Reveillere admits

a new-look squad, with a new boss in Garde, is enjoying its

football at the moment. Reveillere said: “It was important to get a

good start in the championship. “It has been much better than in

previous seasons. We have a new coach and a new playing staff. “We

write a new page and have many young players in the squad.”