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Dinamo target long-awaited victory against Ajax

After two losses, the visit of AFC Ajax offers GNK Dinamo Zagreb the chance to improve their Group D position, although they have not scored in their three home games against the Dutch side.

Dinamo Zagreb coach Krunoslav Jurčić
Dinamo Zagreb coach Krunoslav Jurčić ©Getty Images

After two Group D defeats, GNK Dinamo Zagreb need points but must overturn the weight of history against AFC Ajax. In three previous home games against the Dutch side, the Croatian champions have neither registered a win nor scored a goal.

• On matchday one Dinamo lost 1-0 at home to Real Madrid CF and two weeks later Krunoslav Jurčić's team conceded two first-half goals in defeat by Olympique Lyonnais.

• Ajax began with a scoreless draw at home to Lyon and were then on the receiving end as Madrid turned on the attacking style in Spain to run out 3-0 winners on matchday two.

Previous meetings
• The teams last crossed paths in the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League group stage when Ajax won 2-1 at home and 2-0 away, their goals in Zagreb coming from Marko Pantelić (13) and Demy De Zeeuw (45+1).

• The lineups in Zagreb on 5 November 2009 were:
Dinamo: Butina, Tomečak, Kovač, Calello, Lovren, Etto, Sammir, Vrdoljak (Chago 46), Sivonjić (Luis Ibáñez 77), Cufré, Morales (Barbarić 42).
Ajax: Stekelenburg, Van der Wiel, Vertonghen (Oleguer 80), Emanuelson (Sulejmani 77), Pantelić, Alderweireld, Enoh (Donald 65), De Jong, Anita, De Zeeuw, Suárez.

• Branko Ivanković's Dinamo had more luck in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup first round, knocking out Henk ten Cate's Ajax. After losing 1-0 at home they prevailed 3-2 after extra time at the Amsterdam ArenA.

• The teams in Zagreb on 20 September 2007 were:
Dinamo: Koch, Čale, Sammir, Etto, Drpić, Modrić, Pokrivač, Schildenfeld, Vugrinec (Šokota 46), Balaban, Vukojević (Guela 69).
Ajax: Stekelenburg, Van der Wiel, Vermaelen, Stam, Heitinga, Emanuelson, Gabri, Maduro, Ogăraru, Rommedahl (Suárez 77), Huntelaar (Luque 83).

• Gregory van der Wiel is the only player remaining from that Ajax team.

• The clubs also met in the 1998/99 UEFA Champions League group stage, drawing 0-0 in Zagreb while Dinamo won 1-0 in Amsterdam. Frank de Boer played in both games for Ajax as did Danny Blind, now the club's assistant coach. Jurčić came on at half-time for Dinamo in the second game while Igor Bišćan was an unused substitute in Zagreb and played in Amsterdam.

Match background
• Dinamo have faced two other Dutch visitors, both in the UEFA Cup group stage. They beat NEC Nijmegen 3-2 in 2008/09 and drew 2-2 with sc Heerenveen in 2004/05.

• Ajax have played at HNK Hajduk Split, drawing 0-0 in the 1994/95 UEFA Champions League quarter-final en route to a 3-0 aggregate success. In the 1993/94 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup first round they lost 1-0 away before a 6-0 home success.

• In each of the last five seasons Dinamo's UEFA Champions League dreams ended in the third qualifying round; this time the Croatian champions came through three rounds to book their group return.

• They first overcame Neftçi PFK thanks to a 3-0 home win, Ivan Krstanović scoring twice. In the third qualifying round an own goal and Sammir's strike overturned HJK Helsinki's early lead in Finland before Luis Ibáñez's added-time goal secured a 1-0 victory in Zagreb.

• In the play-off round Dinamo gained a healthy advantage with a 4-1 first-leg defeat of Malmö FF in which Sammir scored twice. That proved just enough despite a 2-0 defeat in Sweden, a game in which Šime Vrsaljko was sent off on 50 minutes.

• Ajax, who are competing in the UEFA Champions League for the tenth time, followed their defeat at Real Madrid CF in last season's group stage with a 2-1 loss at AJ Auxerre and a 2-0 victory at AC Milan to finish third in the section.

Team ties
• De Boer was the Netherlands' captain when they lost 2-1 to a Croatia side containing Jurčić in the match for third place at the 1998 FIFA World Cup.

• Josip Šimunić and Jerko Leko played in Croatia's 3-0 defeat by the Netherlands in a friendly international in Split on 6 February 2008.

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