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Dortmund and Ajax both aim for early flourish

In the same group as Real Madrid CF and Manchester City FC, Borussia Dortmund and AFC Ajax know they cannot afford a false start in their matchday one opener.

Ajax coach Frank de Boer has got the better of Dortmund once before
Ajax coach Frank de Boer has got the better of Dortmund once before ©Getty Images

Borussia Dortmund and AFC Ajax both want to hit the ground running when they meet in their opening fixture in UEFA Champions League Group D. In a section also containing Real Madrid CF and Manchester City FC, these two former European Cup winners will know a false start could prove costly if they are to make up for recent disappointments at this level.

Past meetings
• Ajax coach Frank de Boer played in the team that overcame Ottmar Hitzfeld's Dortmund when these clubs met in the 1995/96 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals. Absent from the 2-0 first-leg success in Germany – where Edgar Davids and Patrick Kluivert scored – De Boer appeared in the second leg as Kiki Musampa struck the only goal for Louis van Gaal's hosts.

• The lineups for the Dortmund encounter on 6 March 1996 were:
Dortmund: Klos, Júlio César, Kohler, Reuter, Schmidt (Herrlich 46), Berger, Freund, Reinhardt, Ricken (Zorc 76), Sammer, Riedle.
Ajax: Van der Sar, Reiziger (Scholten 84), Davids, Blind, Silooy, George, Wooter (Musampa 46), R de Boer, Bogarde, Kanu, Kluivert.

Match background
• Last season Dortmund returned to the UEFA Champions League for the first time since 2002/03 but picked up just one win – at home to Olympiacos FC – and finished bottom of their group.

• Dortmund are seeking a first home victory over Dutch opponents at the fourth attempt. Their overall record against Eredivisie clubs is W1 D3 L3, and includes a 3-2 defeat by Feyenoord in the 2002 UEFA Cup final.

• This is the third successive group stage campaign for Ajax, who are looking to reach the last 16 for the first time since 2005/06. Last season they finished third in their group behind Olympique Lyonnais on goal difference and had mixed fortunes on their travels, winning at GNK Dinamo Zagreb, drawing with Lyon but losing at Real Madrid CF.

• Ajax won 2-1 at Manchester United FC in last season's UEFA Europa League round of 32, but had lost 2-0 at home in the first leg.

• Ajax won on their last visit to Germany, 1-0 at Hamburger SV in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup group stage. Their record away to German sides is W6 D4 L5.

• The Amsterdam club lifted the 1986/87 European Cup Winners' Cup with a 1-0 victory over 1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig.

Team ties
• Besides helping Ajax beat Dortmund in 1995/96, De Boer also won two-legged ties as a player against FC Rot-Weiss Erfurt, 1. FC Kaiserslautern, FC Bayern München and VfL Bochum 1848. Including appearances for FC Barcelona against Hertha BSC Berlin and Bayer 04 Leverkusen, he lost just one match out of 12 against Bundesliga teams.

• De Boer featured in the Netherlands' 3-1 win against Germany at EURO '92, captaining his country in another 3-1 success in a Gelsenkirchen friendly in 2002. Germany's Sebastian Kehl came on at half-time as De Boer departed.

• At UEFA EURO 2012 Mats Hummels appeared in Germany's 2-1 victory over the Netherlands and in their identical win against Denmark, who included Christian Eriksen and substitute Christian Poulsen. Hummels featured for a Germany Under-21 team that beat Lasse Schøne's Denmark 4-0 in 2008.

• Hummels, Mario Götze and Marco Reus came on as substitutes in Germany's 3-0 friendly win against a Netherlands side that included Ryan Babel in Hamburg in November 2011.

• Götze was in the Germany team that beat Dico Koppers and the Netherlands 2-1 to secure the 2009 UEFA European U17 Championship title.

• Kolbeinn Sigthórsson helped Iceland get the better of Germany in their 2011 UEFA European U21 Championship qualifying group. He was on target in both a 2-2 away draw and in Iceland's 4-1 home victory, when he scored twice. Julian Schieber scored in the first match and Kevin Grosskreutz struck in the second, while Hummels and Marcel Schmelzer also played.

• Poulsen did not lose at Dortmund during four years with local rivals FC Schalke 04 between 2002 and 2006, enjoying three wins and one draw.

• Babel played in the Bundesliga for TSG 1899 Hoffenheim between January 2011 and August this year. He lost 3-1 at Dortmund in January.

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