NK Dinamo Zagreb's run of two straight wins at AFC Ajax ended with a 2-1 defeat on Matchday 3, but they will look to get the better of the Amsterdam side once again in the Group A return in Croatia.
Article top media content
NK Dinamo Zagreb's run of two straight wins at AFC Ajax ended with a 2-1 defeat on Matchday 3, but they will look to get the better of the Amsterdam side once again as they meet in Croatia in Group A.
• On 29 October UEFA's Control and Disciplinary Body ruled that Dinamo will have to play their next two UEFA Europa League home matches, including the fixture against Ajax, behind closed doors following serious crowd disturbances at the Matchday 2 game between FC Timişoara and Dinamo Zagreb. The Croatian club have also been deducted three points from their Group A tally. The decision is subject to appeal.
• This will be the clubs' sixth meeting in Europe, with Dinamo yet to beat Ajax on home soil.
• Branko Ivanković's Dinamo knocked Henk ten Cate's Ajax out of the 2007/08 UEFA Cup first round, losing 1-0 in Croatia but prevailing 3-2 after extra time at the Amsterdam ArenA.
• The teams for the game in Zagreb on 20 September 2007 were:-
Dinamo: Koch, Balaban, Čale, Sammir*, Etto*, Drpić, Modrić, Pokrivač, Schildenfeld, Vugrinec (Šokota, 46), Vukojević (Guela, 69).
Ajax: Stekelenburg*, Emanuelson*, Gabri*, Heitinga, Huntelaar (Luque, 83), Maduro, Ogăraru*, Rommedahl* (Suárez*, 77), Stam, Vermaelen, Van der Wiel*.
*eligible to play in this game.
• 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.
• The teams for the goalless draw on 16 September 1998 were:-
Dinamo: Ladić, Tokić, Marić, Jurić, Prosinečki, Viduka (Mikić, 68), Mujčin, Rukavina (Šarić, 57), Dario Šimić, Cvitanović, Jeličić (Šokota, 79).
Ajax: Van der Sar, Tobiasen, Blind, Frank de Boer, Babangida (Kinkladze, 77), Witschge, Litmanen, Dani (Ronald de Boer, 63), Oliseh, McCarthy, Hoekstra (Grønkjær, 71).
• Current coach Krunoslav Jurčić came on at half-time for Dinamo in the second leg, while Danny Blind, now assistant coach, started for Ajax in both matches. His son, Daley Blind, is a member of the modern Ajax squad. Igor Bišćan was an unused substitute in the home match but played in the second game.
• Dinamo's four home games against Dutch opposition – including their two previous ties against Ajax – have ended in a win (against NEC Nijmegen in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup group stage), two draws and a defeat.
• Ajax's four games in Croatia comprise a 1-0 loss, a 1-0 win and two 0-0 draws.
• Dinamo have alternated wins and defeats in their last six UEFA club competition home games, and since they lost 2-0 to RSC Anderlecht in their last home tie are nominally due a victory against Ajax.
• Dinamo trainer Jurčić is also a former international midfielder, having won 21 caps for Croatia. He spent much of his career with Dinamo but also played abroad for Belgian side KSK Beveren, and in Italy for Torino FC and UC Sampdoria.
• Jurčić and experienced Dinamo midfielder Igor Bišćan both featured in Dinamo's 1-0 win at Ajax in 1998 (see above).
• Ajax's coach Martin Jol, a three-times capped former Netherlands midfielder, spent much of his playing career at ADO Den Haag but also represented FC Bayern München, FC Twente, West Bromwich Albion FC and Coventry City FC. He has coached Roda JC, RKC Waalwijk, Tottenham Hotspur FC and, last season, reached the UEFA Cup semi-finals with Hamburger SV.
• Ajax striker Marko Pantelić and Dinamo defender Leandro Cufré were team-mates at Hertha BSC Berlin this spring, with the latter on loan from AS Monaco FC.
• Dinamo defender Robert Kovač played in a 2-2 draw against Ajax with Bayern in the 2004/05 UEFA Champions League group stage.
• Ajax had more shots on goal in than any other side in the first three group-stage games – 47. Luis Suárez has had more shots on goal than any other player in the competition – 15.
• Dinamo visit Anderlecht on Matchday 5, with Ajax travelling to meet Timişoara on the same day, 2 December.