Gerardo Martino's first UEFA Champions League fixture in charge of FC Barcelona comes against an AFC Ajax side whose own coach, Frank de Boer, is returning to his old club.
Article top media content
There will be a new face and an old face on show when FC Barcelona take on AFC Ajax in their opening Group H fixture. For home coach Gerardo Martino it is a first UEFA Champions League match since taking the Barça helm in the summer, while for his opposite number Frank de Boer this is a return to the club he played for between 1999 and 2003.
• Martino's task will be to continue Barcelona's recent history of success in the competition and his first assignment comes against an Ajax side whose goal is to progress to the knockout rounds for the first time since 2005/06.
• Surprisingly this is the first meeting between two clubs with a long history of European Cup success and a shared connection in the famous figure of Johan Cruyff, who won the trophy three times with Ajax as a player before coaching Barcelona to their first title in 1992.
• Prior to their 3-0 semi-final home loss to FC Bayern München in May, the Blaugrana had gone 21 matches unbeaten at the Camp Nou in the UEFA Champions League, winning 16 of them.
• This is Barcelona's first home fixture against a Dutch team since a 2-2 draw with PSV Eindhoven in 1997/98 during the reign of Louis van Gaal, a UEFA Champions League winner as Ajax coach in 1995. Their last home victory against Dutch visitors was back in 1983/84 and a 2-0 success against NEC Nijmegen in the European Cup Winners' Cup second round. Barcelona's overall home record against Eredivisie opposition is W3 D3 L0.
• In each of the past three UEFA Champions League campaigns, Ajax have met Real Madrid CF in the group stage, and lost both home and away. Last season they went down 4-1 in both meetings.
• Overall Ajax are on an eight-game losing streak against Spanish opposition, their last success 1-0 at home against RC Celta de Vigo in the 2003/04 UEFA Champions League group stage.
• Ajax coach De Boer was playing – his brother Ronald scored – when the Amsterdam side last won in Spain, a 3-2 extra-time success at Club Atlético de Madrid in the 1996/97 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals.
• The Dutch title holders took one point on their travels in last term's group stage and then lost 2-0 at FC Steaua Bucureşti in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 before elimination on penalties.
• As a Barcelona player, De Boer won the Spanish league title in 1999 alongside twin brother Ronald.
• De Boer scored twice against Spain as a Netherlands player, hitting the winner in a 2-1 friendly victory on the night Carles Puyol made his international debut in November 2000. He later got the only goal when the Oranje beat Spain in another friendly in March 2002, with Puyol once more in opposition.
• De Boer was an assistant coach of the Netherlands team beaten 1-0 in the 2010 FIFA World Cup final by a goal from Andrés Iniesta.
• Bojan Krkić scored 26 times in 104 Liga appearances for Barcelona between 2007 and 2011.
• In two seasons with Sevilla FC between 2006 and 2008 Christian Poulsen came up against Barcelona six times, winning once.
• As an Arsenal player, Cesc Fàbregas faced Ajax in the 2005/06 group stage, winning 2-1 in Amsterdam in September 2005 and drawing 0-0 in London three months later. The following season he was in the Arsenal side eliminated on away goals by PSV Eindhoven in the round of 16. Javier Mascherano's Liverpool FC beat PSV in the next round.
• Niklas Moisander captained Finland in their 1-1 draw with Spain in a 2014 World Cup qualifier in Gijon on 22 March this year. Iniesta, Fàbregas, Víctor Valdés, Gerard Piqué, Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba and substitute Pedro Rodríguez all featured for Spain.
• Moisander was also Finland skipper in their 2-0 home defeat by Spain on 6 September, Alba scoring the visitors' first goal in Helsinki. Iniesta, Xavi, Fàbregas and Pedro were also in the Spain lineup.
• Danny Hoesen was in the Netherlands side beaten 3-0 by Spain in the group stage of June's UEFA European Under-21 Championship – a match that Martín Montoya, Marc Bartra and Cristian Tello watched from the bench.