FC Timişoara could pick no better time to win their first European game as AFC Ajax visit in the UEFA Europa League, with anything less than three points spelling the end of their Group A dream.
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FC Timişoara could pick no better time to win their first European game as AFC Ajax come calling in the UEFA Europa League, with anything less than three points spelling the end of the home side's Group A dream.
• Ajax will seal their place in the last 32 with a point in Romania, while Timişoara need to win here and at NK Dinamo Zagreb on Matchday 6 if they are to have a chance of qualifying at Ajax or RSC Anderlecht's expense.
• The teams met for the first time on Matchday 1, drawing 0-0 in Amsterdam in what was Ajax's first game against a Romanian side and Timişoara's maiden meeting with Dutch opponents.
• Timişoara are yet to win in ten matches in UEFA club competition, though they eliminated FC Shakhtar Donetsk from this season's UEFA Champions League third qualifying round on away goals following back-to-back draws.
• Timişoara have not scored in four European home contests this season, with those games yielding two defeats and two 0-0 draws.
• Unbeaten in their last seven continental outings home and away, Ajax's record in their last ten UEFA competition away encounters reads W6 D1 L3.
• 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.
• Jol faced Romanian opposition with two of his former clubs. His Hamburg side eliminated FC Unirea Urziceni in last term's UEFA Cup first round, winning 2-0 away following a 0-0 draw at home. Two seasons previously, Jol's Tottenham Hotspur FC outfit beat FC Dinamo 1948 Bucureşti 3-1 in the group stage of the same competition.
• Capped 52 times by Romania, former midfielder Ioan Ovidiu Sabău is in his first season as Timişoara coach. As a player, he won Romanian titles with Dinamo and FC Rapid Bucureşti and played abroad with Feyenoord (winning two Dutch Cups), Brescia Calcio and AC Reggiana.
• The Timişoara coach played for Ajax's Eredivisie rivals Feyenoord from 1990-92. His three league games against Ajax – who featured Jol's assistants Danny Blind and John van't Schip – all ended in defeat, but his side overcame the Amsterdam club 1-0 in the quarter-finals en route to claiming a second successive Dutch Cup in 1992.
• Ajax boast Romanian talent in the form of defender George Ogăraru, who joined from FC Steaua Bucureşti in 2006 and spent last season back on loan at the club.
• Ajax's Luis Suárez has had more shots on goal than any other player in the UEFA Europa League group stage, with his 20 efforts producing just the one goal prior to Matchday 5. He has also been fouled 15 times, with only Fenerbahçe SK's Emre Belözoğlu subject to more illegal challenges.
• A 3-1 loss to Anderlecht on Matchday 4 was Timişoara's heaviest away defeat in UEFA club competition.
• Ajax host Anderlecht to conclude their Group A campaign on 17 December, with Timişoara visiting Dinamo on the same night.