AFC Ajax are clinging on to hope in UEFA Europa League Group A while Molde FK are hoping there is another pleasant surprise to come on matchday six.
• Ajax can only progress if they win and Fenerbahçe SK lose to Celtic FC; the Turkish side are two points ahead and have a head-to-head advantage over their Dutch counterparts.
• Molde are through, and will be confirmed as Group A winners if they draw or if Fenerbahçe do not win.
• Ajax held Molde to a 1-1 draw when the sides met for the first time in UEFA competition on matchday two. It was Ajax's 350th UEFA game.
• Ajax's record in nine fixtures against Norwegian teams is W3 D4 L2 (W2 D2 L0 at home). In the most recent of those ties, they beat IK Start 9-2 on aggregate in the 2006/07 UEFA Cup first round.
• Molde are unbeaten in three games against Dutch opponents having beaten sc Heerenveen home and away in the 2012/13 UEFA Europa League play-offs.
• Ajax are unbeaten in three home games this season (W1 D2) but have drawn both of their home matches in Group A.
• Molde have already beaten Fenerbahçe (3-1) and Celtic (2-1) away from home in Group A.
• Ajax have made it through to the round of 32 in all three of their previous UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League group stage campaigns. They have featured at one stage or another in the last nine editions of the competition, meaning they are the only ever-present club in the seven seasons of the UEFA Europa League.
• Molde are making their second appearance in this group stage, having missed out on the knockout phase in their maiden campaign in 2012/13.
Trivia and links
• The journey from Molde to Amsterdam is just over 1,150km.
• Hestad has Dutch league experience, having represented Heerenveen from 2003 to 2005. A club legend, he broke his father Stein Olav Hestad's Molde appearance record, while three of his uncles and his brother have played for the team at various times.
• Molde defender Joona Toivio (AZ Alkmaar 2007/08, SC Telstar 2008–10) and midfielder Harmeet Singh (Feyenoord 2012–14) have also played in the Netherlands.
• Molde are one of ten sides in this season's group stage that qualified for Europe as domestic champions, along with KF Skenderbëu (Albania), Qarabağ FK (Azerbaijan), APOEL FC (Cyprus), FC Viktoria Plzeň (Czech Republic), FC Midtjylland (Denmark), KKS Lech Poznań (Poland), FK Partizan (Serbia), Celtic (Scotland) and FC Basel 1893 (Switzerland).
• Molde lost their Norwegian title to fellow group stage contenders Rosenborg BK, who were confirmed as champions on 25 October.
• Ole Gunnar Solskjær succeeded caretaker boss Erling Moe on the eve of matchday three. The former Manchester United FC forward scored 31 goals in 38 games for Molde before moving to Old Trafford and coached the club from 2011–14, winning two league titles and a national cup.
• Frank de Boer has been in charge of Ajax since 2010, and in 2014 became the first coach to lead the club to four successive Eredivisie titles. The defender won the UEFA Cup and UEFA Champions League as an Ajax player.
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