AFC Ajax and AJ Auxerre meet at the Amsterdam ArenA on Matchday 3 with each knowing victory is virtually essential if they want to challenge at the top of Group G.
• The pair have just one point between them but, with Real Madrid CF and AC Milan convening in Spain, this is an opportunity for either to close the gap on the top two. Having lost their first game 2-0 at Santiago Bernabéu, Ajax drew 1-1 at home to Milan on Matchday 2. Auxerre are still without a point following defeats in Milan (0-2) and at home to Madrid (0-1) though the visitors' record against Ajax – three wins apiece – suggests they will not be overawed by their trip to Amsterdam.
• Ronald Koeman stepped down as Ajax coach after Auxerre came out on top when the clubs last met in the 2004/05 UEFA Cup round of 32. Ajax won the first leg 1-0 through a Maxwell goal but went down 3-1 at Stade Abbé-Deschamps. Although Ryan Babel cancelled out Bonaventure Kalou's opening strike, Auxerre prevailed through second-half efforts from Benoît Cheyrou and Lionel Mathis.
• Teemu Tainio, now an Ajax player, was in that Auxerre team along with Jean-Pascal Mignot and Stéphane Grichting. Maarten Stekelenburg, Urby Emanuelson and Rasmus Lindgren featured for Ajax.
• Auxerre won the clubs' other two-legged tie in the 1992/93 UEFA Cup quarter-finals. Ajax, the then holders, failed to undo the damage of a 4-2 first-leg loss when they won the return 1-0 in Amsterdam. Jol's assistant coach Danny Blind, whose son Daley is a current squad member, played for Ajax.
• The clubs' only previous UEFA Champions League encounters came in the 1996/97 group stage. Ajax ruined Auxerre's debut appearance in the competition with a 1-0 win in France, but the Ligue 1 outfit gained a 2-1 away victory and finished top of the group with Ajax second.
• Ajax have won just one of their last five home games in UEFA competition.
• Their most recent experience of French opposition was a two-legged defeat by Olympique de Marseille in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup round of 16. After a 2-1 reverse in France, where Luis Suárez converted a penalty, they could only draw 2-2 at home, recovering a two-goal deficit through Eyong Enoh and Miralem Sulejmani.
• The Eredivisie side's overall home record against French clubs is W5 D1 L2. Auxerre's record in the Netherlands is W2 D1 L5.
• Auxerre have lost both of their away games so far in the competition, going down at FC Zenit St. Petersburg in the play-off and at Milan on Matchday 1.
• Tainio was at Auxerre from 1997 to 2005 and made 150 Ligue 1 appearances, scoring 14 goals. Retired Dutch defender Frank Verlaat is another player to have served both Ajax (1986-89, 1999-2000) and Auxerre (1992-95).
• André Ooijer helped PSV Eindhoven earn a 0-0 draw at Auxerre in the 2002/03 UEFA Champions League first group stage. With PSV, Ooijer also faced Olympique Lyonnais in the round of 16 in 2005/06. He played in a 1-0 first-leg home loss but was missing for the 4-0 defeat in France where Benoît Pedretti appeared as a substitute for Lyon.
• Ooijer was in the Netherlands side that beat France 4-1 at UEFA EURO 2008.
• Suárez and Nicolás Lodeiro were in the Uruguay team that held France 0-0 in the group stage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Lodeiro was sent off 17 minutes after coming on as a 63rd-minute substitute having collected two yellow cards.
• Mounir El Hamdaoui and Kamel Chafni are both Moroccan internationals.
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