Ajax will face FK Rostov in the UEFA Champions League playoffs. The Russian club is relatively unknown for many, including Ajax coach Peter Bosz.
Bosz followed the draw at home in his garden on his day off. His wife brought him his phone which displayed a number of messages with the name Rostov. “I don’t know this club”, was the Ajax’s coach first reaction soon after the draw. He added quickly: “But we do know that they were second last season in the Russian competition. And they eliminated Anderlecht in the previous round.”
In addition to Rostov, Ajax could also have drawn AS Roma, AS Monaco, Steaua Bucharest or Young Boys. “Rostov is a less compelling team than, for example, AS Monaco or AS Roma, but that doesn’t mean that Rostov isn’t as good. They did really well last season and finished in second place in Russia. That’s quite an achievement in a competition that includes big clubs like Zenit, CSKA and Spartak Moscow.”
As usual, Tonny Bruins Slot will gather all of the information about Rostov for the technical staff. “And we will also be looking at footage of the matches against Anderlecht.” About the long trip for the away match in Russia, Bosz said: “It’s obviously not ideal. But I’m always very practical. This is the draw, and we’re going to focus on it. We have a long trip ahead of us and we’re going to do it on as good a schedule as possible.”
Compared to the previous European duel against PAOK, Bosz can now use new acquisition Davinson Sánchez. The Colombian defender joined a bit later due to a prior commitment in the Copa Libertadores with his former team, and was not yet authorized to play against PAOK. He did, however, travel to Greece in order to get acquainted with his new team mates. The necessary paperwork is now in order and, as of today, he is now available to play in all competitions. Having said that, there is no guarantee that Bosz will call on him immediately. “He still hasn’t trained with us. As such, we don’t really know him yet, and vice versa. We need to get to know each other.”