Two powerhouses of the Netherlands and Greece go H2H at the Johan Cruijff ArenA, as Ajax and AEK Athens meet for the first time since the Champions League (CL) group stage in 1994/95, when Ajax won both fixtures.
Ajax had to endure one more qualifying round than their Greek counterparts given that they failed to win the Eredivisie last term, yet they breezed past their opponents with a plus-nine goal difference across six qualifying games.
Domestically, Ajax have conceded just one goal all season and have won their last four games to nil. AEK have also won their last three league games to nil, although notably the Greek Super League (#14) is ranked lower than the Eredivisie (#11) by UEFA.
AEK haven’t had the best time when visiting the Netherlands, most recently losing at PSV Eindhoven in the 2003/04 CL group stage. On all five of their visits to Dutch sides (Twente, Vitesse, PSV, Ajax) AEK have lost to nil every time.
The visitors also hold a strange CL group stage record, remaining the only team in European history to have drawn every single group stage game (6/6 in 2002/03).
Players to watch: Klaas-Jan Huntelaar equalled Marco van Basten’s Eredivisie record of 127 goals over the weekend – he has seven goals from 13 European appearances for Ajax.
Viktor Klonaridis scored two goals from the bench in just ten minutes over the weekend, he also contributed two important goals in AEK’s qualifying games.
Stat attack: Ajax have scored at least three goals in each of their last four home games (across all competitions).
Both sides boast the best defensive record in their respective leagues.
AEK have received two or more cards in each of their last five competitive away games – they received a red card in two of those.
Will not play
Bande B. H.
Probably will not play
El Azzouzi Z.
de Ligt M.
Referee: Del Cerro C. (Esp)
Venue: Johan Cruijff Arena (Amsterdam)
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