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AFC Ajax will look to secure a first win against FC Spartak Moskva at the third attempt, with the UEFA Europa League round of 16 tie stirring memories for members of both sides' coaching staffs.
• Ajax coach Frank de Boer and his assistant Danny Blind were starters in both legs of the clubs' only previous competitive tie as Oleg Romantsev's Spartak beat Morten Olsen's Ajax 3-1 away and 1-0 at home to reach the 1997/98 UEFA Cup semi-finals, where they lost out to FC Internazionale Milano.
• The teams for the first leg in Amsterdam on 3 March 1998 were:
Ajax: Van der Sar, Rudy, Blind, Oliseh, Frank de Boer, Ronald de Boer, Gorre (Dani 68), Witschge, Babangida (McCarthy 75), Arveladze, Laudrup.
Spartak: Filimonov, Gorloukovitch, Ananko, Khlestov, Alenichev, Titov, Kechinov, Tikhonov, Buznikin (Tsymbalar 46), Romaschenko, Shirko (Pisarev 78).
• Andrei Tikhonov, who also started both legs, is now one of coach Valeri Karpin's assistants at Spartak.
• Spartak are the only Russian side Ajax have ever faced, but the Russian club have played 13 other games against Dutch opponents, with their overall record reading W9 D4 L2 (W4 D2 L1 in the Netherlands).
• Spartak have not won in their last four games against Dutch teams, recording two draws and two defeats since beating Willem II 3-1 in Tilburg in a UEFA Champions League group stage game on 26 October 1999.
• Ajax have won their last three European games without conceding, while their record at home in UEFA club competition this season reads W3 D2 L1.
• Spartak have lost only one of their last seven games on their travels in Europe, winning five and drawing one; a 4-1 defeat at Chelsea FC on UEFA Champions League Matchday 4 this season blotted their copybook.
• This is the only round of 16 tie to involve two sides that competed in the UEFA Champions League group stage in the autumn.
• Liverpool FC won the UEFA Cup three times (in 1973, 1976 and 2001) and are thus the most successful side left in this season's competition, though PSV Eindhoven (1978), Bayer 04 Leverkusen (1988), Ajax (1992), FC Porto (2003), PFC CSKA Moskva (2005) and FC Zenit St Petersburg (2008) have also won it.
• Spartak's Brazilian striker Ari played in the Netherlands for AZ Alkmaar from 2007 to 2010, and scored in a 2-0 Eredivisie win against Ajax on 23 November 2008. He also put AZ ahead at the Amsterdam ArenA on 13 January 2008, but his side went on to lose that league game 6-1.
• Ajax are three goals shy of conceding their 100th in the UEFA Europa League and UEFA Cup; this is their 105th game in the competition. They have more UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League experience than any other side in the round of 16.
• Spartak's Glasgow-born Republic of Ireland winger Aiden McGeady is one of two Irish players left in the competition along with Manchester City FC's Shay Given, who is currently injured. This season's UEFA Europa League final will be staged in Dublin on 18 May.
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