Three defeats leave GNK Dinamo Zagreb's Group D hopes hanging by a thread ahead of their trip to AFC Ajax, who climbed second in the section with their matchday three win in Croatia.
Article top media content
Having lost all three Group D games so far, GNK Dinamo Zagreb have little room left for error although the Croatian side will be encouraged by their record at AFC Ajax, where they have gained two victories in three visits.
• The game in Croatia on 18 October ended in a 2-0 victory for the Dutch champions, extending their winning run in Zagreb to three matches.
• While Dinamo are still to record their first point or goals in the section, their matchday three success moved Ajax on to four points, level with Olympique Lyonnais and five points behind section leaders Real Madrid CF.
• The teams crossed paths in the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League group stage when Ajax won 2-1 at home and 2-0 away. Dinamo's goal in Amsterdam came courtesy of Ivan Tomečak in added time.
• The lineups at the Amsterdam ArenA on 22 October 2009 were:
Ajax: Stekelenburg, Van der Wiel, Vertonghen, Emanuelson, Pantelić (Rommedahl 74), Sulejmani (Gabri 79), Suárez (Cvitanich 90+1), Alderweireld, Enoh, Anita, De Zeeuw.
Dinamo: Lončarić, Kovač, Lovren, Etto, Sammir, Badelj, Mandžukić (Kramarić 88), Vrdoljak, Cufré, Morales (Sivonjić 62), Papadopoulos (Tomečak 68).
• 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.
• 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 before Velimir Zajec's Dinamo beat Morten Olsen's Ajax 1-0 in Amsterdam.
• Frank de Boer played in both those games for Ajax as did Danny Blind, now the club's assistant coach. Krunoslav 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.
• Dinamo's only other games with Dutch sides have both come in Zagreb, a win and a draw, while the only other times Ajax have welcomed Croatian opponents, two matches against Dinamo's arch-rivals HNK Hajduk Split, ended in convincing victories. They won 3-0 in the 1994/95 UEFA Champions League quarter-final (3-0 on aggregate) and 6-0 in the previous season's UEFA Cup Winners' Cup first round (6-1 on aggregate).
• Ajax are competing in the UEFA Champions League for the tenth time.
• At the Amsterdam ArenA in last season's group campaign, Ajax drew 1-1 at home to AC Milan, beat AJ Auxerre 2-1 and lost 4-0 against Real Madrid.
• Including qualifying ties, three of Ajax's last four home European games have ended in draws.
• Dinamo are competing in the group stage for the first time in 12 years.
• In each of the last five seasons Dinamo bowed out in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round. This time the Croatian champions had to progress through three ties to reach the group stage.
• They first disposed of Neftçi PFK in the second qualifying round thanks to a 3-0 home win in which Milan Badelj opened the scoring and Ivan Krstanović notched a second-half double. The away leg ended scoreless.
• In the third qualifying round an own goal and Sammir's strike overturned HJK Helsinki's early lead in Finland. Dinamo then secured a 1-0 home win courtesy of Luis Ibáñez's goal in added time.
• In the play-off round Dinamo gained a healthy advantage in the home first leg, beating Malmö FF 4-1. Sammir scored twice with Ante Rukavina and Fatos Beqiraj also on target. It proved just enough of an advantage after Malmö's 2-0 win in Sweden, a game in which Šime Vrsaljko was sent off on 50 minutes.
• 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. Ajax assistant coach Dennis Bergkamp was also in the Dutch team.
• 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.