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Real Madrid v Ajax background

Real Madrid made it seven successive wins against Ajax in the first leg and are closing in on a ninth straight quarter-final.

Karim Benzema and Frenkie de Jong compete in the first leg between Real Madrid and Ajax
Karim Benzema and Frenkie de Jong compete in the first leg between Real Madrid and Ajax ©Getty Images

Real Madrid are well placed to reach a ninth successive UEFA Champions League quarter-final as they welcome Ajax, who are up against it given both the position of the tie and their recent record at the Santiago Bernabéu.

• Goals from Karim Benzema (60) and substitute Marco Asensio (87) either side of Hakim Ziyech's 75th-minute equaliser for the home side gave Real Madrid a 2-1 win at the Johan Crujiff ArenA on 13 February – making it four successive away victories in the UEFA Champions League's knockout rounds, and six in a row outside Spain.

• Madrid have won the last three editions of the UEFA Champions League and have won their last nine two-legged knockout ties in the competition, since defeat by Juventus in the 2014/15 semi-finals.

• The Spanish club have continued their record of appearing in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 every year since its introduction in 2003/04 – and have not lost a tie at this juncture in nine years.

• In contrast, Ajax have reached the round of 16 for the first time since 2005/06 but have never won at this stage of the UEFA Champions League. Furthermore, Ajax have lost their last seven games to Real Madrid, conceding 22 goals while scoring only three.

Highlights: Ajax 1-2 Real Madrid
Highlights: Ajax 1-2 Real Madrid

Previous meetings
• The teams have met 13 times in UEFA competition – all in the European Cup – Real Madrid winning eight and Ajax four with only one draw, 1-1 in the first encounter in Amsterdam in the 1967/68 European Cup first round first leg. Madrid won the second leg 2-1 in Spain to progress.

• Ajax won the next four fixtures between the sides, in the semi-final of their victorious 1972/73 European Cup campaign (2-1 home, 1-0 away) and, as holders, in the 1995/96 UEFA Champions League group stage (1-0 home, 2-0 away), when they went on to reach another final. In the latter campaign, Marc Overmars – now Ajax's director of player affairs – scored the only goal in Amsterdam with Edwin van der Sar (now Ajax's general director) and Danny Blind, father of Daley, playing in both games.

• Madrid have dominated recent contests between the sides, beating Ajax home and away in the group stage in 2010/11, 2011/12 and 2012/13. They have scored nine goals in their last three matches with Ajax at the Santiago Bernabéu, conceding only one.

• Daley Blind played in both the sides' 2012/13 games, Lasse Schöne coming on as a first-half substitute in Madrid's 4-1 home win.

• Karim Benzema was on target in Madrid's win at Ajax in October 2012 having also found the net in a 4-0 success in Amsterdam in November 2010 and in Madrid's 3-0 home victory against Ajax the following September.

Courtois reaction after holders' win at Ajax
Courtois reaction after holders' win at Ajax

Form guide
Real Madrid
• This is Real Madrid's 23rd UEFA Champions League campaign – and the 23rd in which they have reached the knockout phase.

• Madrid are holders and 13-time champions. Semi-finalists or better in each of the last eight seasons, this is their 49th European Cup campaign – more than any other side.

• Madrid are looking to reach the quarter-finals for the ninth successive year. Their round of 16 record is W9 L6; they lost at this stage for six years in a row between 2005 and 2010 but have won their last eight ties.

• In 2017/18, Madrid beat Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 at home and 2-1 away, Marcelo scoring in the first leg and Casemiro in the second.

• This is the Merengues' first knockout tie against Dutch opponents since a 2-0 aggregate win (1-0 away, 1-0 home) against Vitesse in the 1992/93 UEFA Cup third round. That made Madrid's record in two-legged contests with Eredivisie clubs W6 L3; their last aggregate defeat came on away goals against PSV Eindhoven in the 1987/88 European Champion Clubs' Cup semi-final (1-1 home, 0-0 away).

Sergio Ramos: 600 appearances for Real Madrid
Sergio Ramos: 600 appearances for Real Madrid

• Madrid have won their last five home matches against Dutch visitors since their 1995 defeat by Ajax; the Merengues' overall record at home to Eredivisie clubs is W10 D1 L2.

• This season, Madrid finished top of Group G with 12 points despite losing both games against bottom side CSKA Moskva – including a 3-0 reverse at the Bernabéu on matchday six that was the club's heaviest home European defeat.

• Madrid have still lost only six of their last 40 European matches, home and away, winning 27.

• Defeat against CSKA in their last home match made it two losses in Madrid's last five European Bernabéu fixtures – although they have been beaten in only three of their last 45 UEFA Champions League home matches (W36). They went down 4-3 to Schalke in their 2014/15 round of 16 second leg and 3-1 against Juventus in last season's quarter-final second leg, but still won both ties on aggregate.

• Madrid have lost only one of the 34 UEFA competition ties in which they won the first leg away from home, most recently beating Bayern München in last season's semi-finals (2-1 away, 2-2 home). The exception came against Odense in the 1994/95 UEFA Cup third round when a 3-2 away success preceded a 2-0 home reverse.

• Madrid's record in four UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W2 L2:
5-3 v Atlético Madrid, 2015/16 UEFA Champions League final
1-3 v Bayern München, 2011/12 UEFA Champions League semi-final
3-1 v Juventus, 1986/87 European Champion Clubs' Cup second round
5-6 v Crvena zvezda, 1974/75 European Cup Winners' Cup quarter-final

Dolberg: Ajax showed we can play at this level
Dolberg: Ajax showed we can play at this level

• The 2005/06 tie against Internazionale is Ajax's sole previous UEFA Champions League round of 16 contest; the Dutch club drew 2-2 in the home first leg – Klaas-Jan Huntelaar opening the scoring – before a 1-0 defeat in Milan.

• Ajax's last UEFA Champions League quarter-final came in 2002/03, when they were beaten 3-2 at AC Milan having drawn the home first leg 0-0.

• The Dutch club are without a win in their last seven UEFA Champions League knockout phase fixtures (D2 L5), since a 3-2 victory at Atlético Madrid in the 1996/97 quarter-final second leg that completed a 4-3 aggregate success.

• Ajax have lost all three UEFA Champions League away games in the knockout phase since winning at Atlético; they had won the previous three and were unbeaten in five (D2).

• Ajax's last experience of Spanish opposition before the first leg came in the 2016/17 UEFA Europa League group stage, when they drew 2-2 at Celta Vigo before a 3-2 home victory.

• The Amsterdammers have won only two of their last 15 games against Spanish opponents (D1 L12). The 2-2 draw at Celta ended a run of six successive defeats in Spain, where Ajax have not won since that Atlético tie (D2 L7).

• Ajax's record in two-legged knockout ties against Spanish clubs is W7 L2, the most recent a 3-0 aggregate loss (0-1 home, 0-2 away) against Mallorca in the 1999/2000 UEFA Cup third round.

Goalkeepers with 50 #UCL clean sheets
Goalkeepers with 50 #UCL clean sheets

• Ajax were unbeaten in Europe in 2018/19 – a run of 12 matches (W7 D5) – before their first-leg defeat. They won their first away game at Sturm Graz in the second qualifying round (3-1), drawing the next four – including at Bayern München and Benfica in Group E, both 1-1 – before a 2-0 success at AEK Athens on matchday five.

• Ajax are the sole side still involved who came through qualifying. The other 15 participants in the round of 16 all entered the competition at the group stage.

• Ajax are one of only two sides to win a tie in the UEFA Champions League proper having lost the home first leg, against Panathinaikos in the 1995/96 semi-finals (0-1 home, 3-0 away).

• That is one of only two ties in which Ajax have won on aggregate after losing the home first leg; they have lost the other 12 contests. Those aggregate defeats include two in which the first game in Amsterdam finished 1-2, both against Juventus; in the 1996/97 UEFA Champions League semi-final (1-4 away) and the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League round of 32 (0-0 away).

• Ajax's record in six UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W1 L5:
2-4 v Steaua Bucureşti, 2012/13 UEFA Europa League round of 32
2-4 Juventus, 1995/96 UEFA Champions League final
4-3 v Grêmio, 1995 European/South American Cup
2-4 v Bohemians Praha, 1984/85 UEFA Cup second round
0-3 v Juventus, 1977/78 European Champion Clubs' Cup quarter-final
3-5 v Levski Sofia, 1975/76 UEFA Cup third round

VAR explained: the four match-changing situations
VAR explained: the four match-changing situations

Links and trivia
• This is one of only two ties in the round of 16 not featuring a reigning domestic champion, the other being Tottenham-Dortmund.

• Klaas-Jan Huntelaar joined Madrid from Ajax in January 2009, scoring eight goals in 20 appearances before leaving six months later. The Dutch striker faced the Merengues four times with Schalke, scoring three goals including two at the Bernabéu in the German side's 4-3 victory in the 2014/15 UEFA Champions League round of 16 – a tie his club lost 5-4 on aggregate.

• Nicolás Tagliafico spent 2012/13 on loan in Spain with second division side Real Murcia.

• André Onana came through the Barcelona academy but never made a first-team appearance before joining Ajax in 2015.

Latest news

Real Madrid
UEFA Champions League squad changes
In: Brahim Díaz, Diego Altube Suárez, Jaume Grau
Out: Kiko Casilla

• Madrid have lost all three home games since the first leg at Ajax, going down 1-0 to Barcelona in the most recent in the Liga on Saturday night.

• The Merengues were also knocked out of the Copa del Rey by a 0-3 home defeat against Barcelona in the semi-final second leg three days earlier, completing a 1-4 aggregate loss.

• Madrid have suffered six home defeats in all competitions this season, one more than their total for 2017/18.

• Karim Benzema has eight goals in his last 11 appearances.

• Madrid have kept three clean sheets in their last 19 games, and none in the last seven.

• Sergio Ramos, who is suspended for the second leg against Ajax, made his 600th Madrid appearance in Amsterdam and has 11 goals in all competitions this season, his most successful ever, surpassing his 2016/17 total.

• The club lifted their third consecutive FIFA Club World Cup in December, defeating Kashima Antlers 3-1 in the semi-final before beating Al Ain 4-1 in the final.

• Bale's hat-trick against Kashima Antlers means he is now the joint highest scorer in FIFA Club World Cup history with six goals.

• Marcos Llorente came off after 61 minutes of the 1-1 first-leg draw against Barcelona on 6 February with an adductor muscle problem and has not played since.

• Jesús Vallejo, who has been suffering with a hamstring injury, has not played since matchday six while a back injury sidelined Isco from 3 February to his appearance as a second-half subsitute at the weekend.

• Luka Modrić won the Ballon d'Or on 3 December, the first Croatian to collect the prize and the first winner other than Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi since 2007.

• Modrić was voted UEFA Men's Player of the Year for 2017/18 on 30 August. The Croatian also collected the award for UEFA Champions League Midfielder of the Season, with club-mates Keylor Navas and Sergio Ramos picking up the prizes for Goalkeeper and Defender respectively.

UEFA Champions League squad changes
In: Lisandro Magallán, Lassina Traoré, Bruno Varela
Out: Dennis Johnsen, Azor Matusiwa, Luis Orejuela, Kaj Sierhuis, Maximilian Wöber

• Ajax's game against PEC Zwolle, scheduled for 2 March, has been rearranged for 13 March to allow them to prepare for the trip to Real Madrid.

• On 27 February Ajax reached the Dutch Cup final with a 3-0 win at Feyenoord. They will play Willem II in the final, also in Rotterdam, on 5 May.

• The Amsterdammers have won all three games since the first leg against Madrid, scoring 13 goals in the process. In the league, they beat NAC Breda 5-0 on 17 February before a 5-1 success at ADO Den Haag a week later.

• Dušan Tadić has nine goals in his last nine Eredivisie matches and 12 in his last 14 in all competitions.

• Hakim Ziyech has eight goals in his last nine Eredivisie matches.

• Ajax made a slow start to 2019 in the Eredivisie, kicking off the year with a 4-4 draw at home to Heerenveen before a 6-2 loss at Feyenoord – their biggest league reverse since a 4-0 defeat by PSV Eindhoven on 22 September 2013.

• In those two matches, Ajax conceded ten goals – two more than in the 17 league games before that. It also marked only the second time in Eredivisie history – and the first since 1959 – that Ajax had shipped four goals in successive matches.

• Ajax were 6-0 winners against VVV-Venlo on 2 February – the fourth time they had scored six or more goals in a game this season. They have scored five or more on nine occasions.

• The 8-0 victory against De Graafschap on 16 December was Ajax's biggest victory since a 9-0 defeat of Sparta Rotterdam on 18 March 2001.

• Summer signing Hassane Bandé has not played since suffering a calf injury in a friendly against Anderlecht in early July.

• Joël Veltman made his first appearance since 19 April 2018 as a second-half substitute in the victory against NAC after recovering from a cruciate knee ligament injury.