Semi-finalists last season, Ajax have come through qualifying again to take on a LOSC Lille side featuring for the first time in seven years.
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Last season's surprise semi-finalists Ajax kick off their latest UEFA Champions League group campaign at home to a LOSC Lille side who are making their first appearance in seven seasons.
• The Dutch champions had to negotiate two tight qualifying ties to reach the group stage for a second season running, 2018/19 having marked their first appearance in four years. LOSC, who have never before played Ajax, are looking for a first win against Dutch opponents.
• Ajax went all the way from the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round to the semi-finals in 2018/19, losing on away goals to Tottenham in the last four after conceding six minutes into added time to go down 3-2 at home and bow out after a 3-3 aggregate draw.
• Erik ten Hag's team lost only two of their 18 European matches in 2018/19 (W10 D6), when they became the first side in European Cup history to reach the semi-finals having come through three qualifying rounds and the first Dutch club to get to the UEFA Champions League last four since PSV Eindhoven in 2004/05.
• Champions of the Netherlands for the 34th time in 2018/19 – their first league title since 2014 – Ajax also lifted the Dutch Cup to claim their eighth domestic double, and a first since 2002.
• They kicked off this season's UEFA Champions League in the third qualifying round, seeing off Greek side PAOK 5-4 on aggregate after a 2-2 away draw and a 3-2 home win secured by an 85th-minute Dušan Tadić penalty. The second-leg victory in Amsterdam ended a run of four home European matches without a win (D2 L2).
• A goalless draw at APOEL in the first leg of the play-offs ended Ajax's run of scoring in 14 successive European matches. Their scoring run at home was extended to 11 games in a row, however, thanks to a 2-0 second-leg defeat of APOEL in Amsterdam, Tadić again on target to make it three goals in two European appearances at the Johan Cruijff Arena this season.
• Ajax last faced French opposition in the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round, drawing 2-2 with Nice to bow out on away goals (3-3 aggregate). They nevertheless extended their unbeaten home sequence against Ligue 1 visitors to eight fixtures (W4 D4), since a 2-1 loss against Auxerre in the 1996/97 UEFA Champions League group stage.
• Second in Ligue 1 last term, this is LOSC's sixth appearance in the UEFA Champions League group stage and their first since 2012/13. Only one of those previous five campaigns has extended into the knockout rounds, in 2006/07; seven years ago they finished bottom of a section including Bayern München, Valencia and BATE Borisov.
• The French club won their last away group game, 2-0 at BATE in November 2012; indeed, they have triumphed in two of their last four away games in the UEFA Champions League proper but overall have won only three of their 16 away games in the competition (D4 L9).
• LOSC's most recent foray into continental competition came in 2016/17 and lasted only one tie, Gabala of Azerbaijan running out 2-1 aggregate winners in the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round (1-1 h, 0-1 a).
• That extended Les Dogues' run without a European away win to five matches (D2 L3), since a 2-0 success at Grasshoppers in the 2014/15 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round.
• This is only LOSC's second trip to the Netherlands – they lost 3-1 at PSV Eindhoven in the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League round of 32 second leg – and a third fixture against a Dutch club overall; they had drawn 2-2 at home to PSV in the first leg of that tie.
Links and trivia
• David Neres and Gabriel were team-mates in Brazil's Under-20 side in 2017.
• Dušan Tadić and José Fonte were Southampton team-mates between July 2014 and January 2017.
• Summer transfers
In: Răzvan Marin (Standard Liège), Lisandro Martínez (Defensa y Justicia), Kik Pierie (Heerenveen), Kjell Scherpen (Emmen), Quincy Promes (Sevilla), Bruno Varela (Benfica, loan), Edson Álvarez (Club América), Juan Castillo (Chelsea, loan)
Out: Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona), Maximilian Wöber (Sevilla), Daley Sinkgraven (Bayer Leverkusen), Kostas Lamprou (Vitesse), Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus), Rasmus Kristensen (Salzburg), Lasse Schöne (Genoa), Kasper Dolberg (Nice), Dani de Wit (AZ Alkmaar), Lisandro Magallán (Alavés, loan)
• Ajax picked up the Dutch Super Cup, the Johan Cruijff Trophy, on 27 July when they defeated last season's Eredivisie runners-up PSV Eindhoven 2-0 thanks to goals from Kasper Dolberg and Daley Blind.
• Ajax are undefeated in all competitions so far this season (W7 D3). Their last loss came at home to Tottenham in the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg on 8 May.
• The Dutch champions were 4-1 winners at home to Heerenveen in the Eredivisie on Saturday, Nicolás Tagliafico scoring twice – the defender's first double since he struck twice against AEK Athens on matchday one of last season's UEFA Champions League.
• Joint top scorer in the 2018/19 Eredivisie with 20 goals, Dušan Tadić has scored five in five league games so far this season, and has eight in all competitions with a further five assists.
• Donny van de Beek has not played since the play-off second leg against APOEL on 28 August due to a hamstring injury.
• Tadić set up both Serbia goals in a 4-2 defeat by Portugal in UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying on 7 September, missing the 3-1 win in Luxembourg three days later due to muscle fatigue before returning against Heerenveen.
• Noussair Mazraoui suffered a knee injury when playing for Morocco's Under-23 side against Mali U23s on 7 September.
• Summer transfers
In: Timothy Weah (Paris), Reinildo (Belenenses), Saad Agouzoul (Chabab Mohammedia), Léo Jardim (Rio Ave), Benjamin André (Rennes), Domagoj Bradarić (Hadjuk Split), Virgiliu Postolachi (Paris), Manuel Cafumana Show (CD Primero de Agosto), Victor Osimhen (Charleroi), Yusuf Yazıcı (Trabzonspor), Eric Bocat (Brest), Renato Sanches (Bayern)
Out: Kouadio-Yves Dabila (Cercle Brugge, loan), Imad Faraj (Belenenses, loan), Hakim Ouro-Sama (Belenenses, loan), Hervé Koffi (Belenenses, loan), Jonathan Bumbu (Amiens), Anwar El Ghazi (Aston Villa), Thiago Mendes (Lyon), Youssouf Koné (Lyon), Teddy Okou (Créteil-Lusitanos, loan), Rominique Kouamé (Cercle Brugge, loan), Scotty Sadzoute (Pau, loan), Charles-Andreas Brym (Belenenses, loan), Chahreddine Boukholda (Belenenses, loan), Rafael Leao (AC Milan), Nicolas Pépé (Arsenal), Edgar Ié (Trabzonspor), Alex Flips (AC Ajaccio, loan), Adam Jakubech (Kortrijk, loan)
• LOSC have won their first three home matches of the new Ligue 1 campaign, beating Nantes (2-1), St-Étienne (3-0) and, on Friday, Angers (2-1), but have lost both away matches without scoring, going down at Amiens (0-1) and Reims (0-2).
• Having scored five of LOSC's first seven goals this season, new signing Victor Osimhen is Ligue 1's joint top scorer after five games, scoring twice against both Nantes and St-Étienne and getting one against Angers.
• Osimhen is the first player to score five goals or more in his first 5 Ligue 1 games since Mario Balotelli hit six in September/October 2016.
• Jonathan Ikoné scored eight minutes into his France debut, a 4-1 EURO qualifying win against Albania on 7 September, having come on as a 77th-minute substitute. A starter in the 3-0 win against Andorra three days later, the 21-year-old set up the opening goal for Kingsley Coman.
• Yusuf Yazici scored in Turkey's 4-0 win in Moldova on 10 September, his first international goal.
• Timothy Weah has not played since sustaining a leg injury in training on 25 August. Loïc Rémy (muscular) limped off against St-Etienne on 28 August, although he was an unused substitute on Friday.
• Xeka has not featured this season since suffering a thigh injury against Paris on 14 April.
• LOSC will mark their 75th anniversary on 30 November with a celebration at the Stade Pierre Mauroy when the club's all-time team, voted for by fans, will be unveiled.