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Anderlecht and Ajax meet again

Belgium and the Netherlands' most successful clubs go head-to-head in the round of 32 as RSC Anderlecht and AFC Ajax stage a rematch of their 2009/10 UEFA Europa League contest.

Anderlecht coach Ariël Jacobs
Anderlecht coach Ariël Jacobs ©Getty Images

RSC Anderlecht and AFC Ajax have been paired together for the second time in as many seasons, with Belgium and the Netherlands' most successful clubs battling for a place in the UEFA Europa League round of 16.

Previous meetings
• The sides met for the first time in a competitive fixture in last season's UEFA Europa League group stage. Their first meeting in Brussels ended in a 1-1 draw (in which the hosts' Jelle Van Damme was sent off), while Anderlecht won the return 3-1, albeit with Ajax already sure of qualifying for the knockout phase.

• That latter fixture was both clubs' 100th in the UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League.

• The teams for their last meeting in Brussels on 1 October 2009 were:
Anderlecht: Proto*, Deschacht*, Van Damme, Matías Suárez* (Legear* 58), Kanu* (De Sutter* 79), Boussoufa*, Juhász*, Bernárdez, Gillet*, Lukaku* (Kruiswijk 87), Saré.
Ajax: Stekelenburg*, Van der Wiel*, Vertonghen*, Emanuelson, Pantelić, Aissati (Sulejmani* 88), Luis Suárez, Alderweireld*, Enoh*, Bakircioglü (Rommedahl 58), De Zeeuw*.

*still with the club

Match background
• Including those meetings with Ajax, Anderlecht have played ten games against Dutch opposition and boast an impressive record that reads W8 D2 L0 (W4 D1 L0 at home, with Ajax earning that solitary draw).

• Ajax have contested 12 matches against Belgian outfits, including the 1987/88 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final, which they lost 1-0 to KV Mechelen in Strasbourg. Their overall record reads W6 D2 L4 (W2 D2 L2 in Belgium).

• Anderlecht have tasted defeat just once in their last seven European home fixtures, going down 3-1 to FC Zenit St Petersburg in this season's UEFA Europa League group stage.

Team facts
• Anderlecht and Ajax are the football powerhouses of their respective nations, with Anderlecht having won 30 Belgian titles and Ajax buoyed by 29 league successes in the Netherlands.

• Anderlecht will go into the first leg as the most experienced European side left in the competition; this will be their 329th UEFA game. They are two wins short of their 150th from those fixtures.

• Ajax's squad features young Belgian defenders Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld.

• Anderlecht's Amsterdam-born Moroccan international Mbark Boussoufa played in the Ajax youth department from 1996 until 2001, before joining Chelsea FC.

• The overall winners will take on the victors of the tie between FC Basel 1893 and FC Spartak Moskva in the round of 16 on 10 and 17 March, playing the first leg at home.