Two of the world’s most admired clubs – linked by the inimitable Johan Cruyff – face each other for the first time in a competitive fixture when Ajax travel to Catalonia to meet Barcelona and the visitors can stay in touch with their hosts to bank a +3 handicap win at odds of 9/10.
Former Barca defender Frank de Boer will be hoping for a huge shock as his side are 16/1 to escape Camp Nou with a victory, with the home team at 3/25 to take all the points and 31/4 about the draw.
Los Blaugrana sit joint-top of La Liga with four wins out of four games, but they have been less than imperious so far under new manager Gerardo Martino.
Aside from an opening weekend 7-0 hammering of Levante, last year’s beaten semi-finalists haven’t managed anything better than one-goal victories in Spain’s top flight this season.
Sevilla thought they had come back from 2-0 down to snatch a draw at Barca last time out in the league, only for Alexis Sanchez to pop up with a stoppage-time goal to make it 3-2 to the champions.
They could only manage the same scoreline in the previous match against Valencia at the Mestalla and a goal from defender Adriano Correia just before half-time in Malaga was enough to edge past Bernd Schuster’s side at the end of August.
Barca’s home form at this stage of the 2012/13 Champions League followed a similar pattern as none of their Group G opponents were beaten by two goals or more.
Benfica even managed to take a point back to Portugal, although the Catalan club had already been confirmed as group winners by that stage.
Martino’s men face an Ajax side that, while shorn of the talents of defender Toby Alderweireld and playmaker Christian Eriksen following their summer moves, still possess a goalscorer worthy of the term in captain Siem de Jong, who struck 12 times in 34 Eredivisie games last term.
De Boer’s side have recovered from a 3-2 loss against AZ Alkmaar to go unbeaten in their last four games domestically and they can continue that good form by keeping a Barca hammering at bay in this historic match-up.