Serero could face Dortmund test
Thulani Serero has been included in Ajax Amsterdam’s travelling party for their Uefa Champions League clash with Borussia Dortmund in Germany on Tuesday.
The Bafana Bafana playmaker missed Ajax’s weekend win over Waalwijk through suspension, but coach Frank de Boer has brought him back into the squad for the game against the Bundesliga champions.
Ajax have been drawn in a daunting, yet thrilling, Champions League pool that also includes Spanish champions Real Madrid and last season’s English Premiership winners Manchester City.
It is the only group in the competition in which all four sides were champions of their respective countries and will be a massive learning curve for Serero if he can get minutes on the pitch.
He did make two substitute appearances for Ajax in last year’s competition at Real Madrid and Manchester United, but given his fine start to the season with the Amsterdam club, might be hoping for more than that this time round.
Serero’s absence from the game at the weekend could be a blessing for him because it means that he will be fresh for the Dortmund clash having been allowed to rest following his travels to Brazil and South Africa with Bafana Bafana.
He may face competition in the starting line-up from the vastly more experienced Ryan Babel, with the ex-Dutch international having returned to Ajax after stints with Liverpool and Hoffenheim in recent seasons.
The 25-year-old has yet to start for Ajax yet this season, but with 32 appearances already in European club competition, he the most experienced player in De Boer’s squad.
History is on Serero and Ajax’s side, Dortmund and Ajax last met in the quarterfinals of the 1995/96 Champions League. The Dutch club won both games (3-0 on aggregate).