Standard look to strike early in AZ decider

Needing a victory to have any chance of progressing from Group H, R. Standard de Liège will look to seize the initiative early on against AZ Alkmaar having snatched a point in the away game with a late goal.

Standard look to strike early in AZ decider
Standard look to strike early in AZ decider ©UEFA.com

Needing a victory to have any chance of progressing from Group H, R. Standard de Liège will look to seize the initiative early on against AZ Alkmaar having snatched a point in the away game with a late goal.

• Standard kick off in third position with four points, three adrift of second-placed Olympiacos FC and one above AZ, who parted company with coach Ronald Koeman over the weekend with his former assistant Martin Haar taking temporary charge. The Belgian champions need to beat AZ and hope their Greek counterparts lose at home to section winners Arsenal FC, while AZ can no longer progress but will earn a UEFA Europa League place at the expense of their opponents with a win in Liege.

Previous meetings
• Standard were up against it on Matchday 2 from the 48th minute when Mounir El Hamdaoui shot in. It looked to be enough to give AZ their first UEFA Champions League victory but at the last, substitute Moussa Traore got on the end of a free-kick to earn the visitors a point.

• It was the first time the sides had met in a competitive fixture and they had only previously been involved in two European games against teams from their opponents' country. In each case the results were the same – a win at home and an away defeat.

• AZ progressed in their 1980/81 UEFA Cup quarter-final against KSC Lokeren OV 2-1 on aggregate, losing 1-0 in Belgium, while Standard went down to Feyenoord on away goals in the 1973/74 UEFA Cup third round after a 3-3 aggregate draw despite a 3-1 home success.

Match background
• With a win and a loss, Standard's inconsistent home form in their debut UEFA Champions League campaign is in contrast to their impressive recent European record at Stade Maurice Dufrasne prior to this season. In the last two UEFA Cup editions they remained unbeaten in five games, including qualifying rounds, posting three wins and two draws. Their last home reverse came in the 2006/07 UEFA Cup first round when they lost 1-0 to RC Celta de Vigo.

• AZ are still looking for their first away point of the campaign but previously their recent showings on foreign soil in European competition were creditable, winning four and losing two in the UEFA Cup campaigns of 2006/07 and 2007/08.

Team ties
• Cor van der Hart and Georg Kessler have coached both clubs.

• The departed Koeman and Standard coach László Bölöni were opposing captains in a friendly between the Netherlands and Romania on 1 June 1988 in Amsterdam. The hosts won 2-0 in a game that proved Bölöni's 108th and final cap. A few weeks later Koeman lifted the UEFA European Championship trophy with the Oranje.

• AZ's Sebastien Pocognoli, Maarten Martens, Gill Swerts and Moussa Dembélé and Standard's Igor De Camargo, Axel Witsel and Steven Defour are all team-mates in the Belgian national team.

• AZ defender Ragnar Klavan faced Defour and Witsel when Estonia played Belgium in a FIFA World Cup qualifier at Standard's Stade Maurice Dufrasne home on 6 September 2008. Belgium won 3-2 and Swerts was an unused substitute in the game.