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Ajax v Celtic background

A battle of the giants is scheduled for matchday one in UEFA Europa League Group A, Ajax hosting Celtic in a battle of one-time European champions.

Davy Klaassen of Ajax applauds the club's fans
Davy Klaassen of Ajax applauds the club's fans ©Getty Images

A 2013/14 UEFA Champions League meeting will be in the minds of players on both sides as AFC Ajax kick off UEFA Europa League Group A with a high-profile encounter with Celtic FC.

Previous meetings
• The teams have met eight times in UEFA club competition, Ajax possessing the record W3 D1 L4 (W2 D0 L2 in Amsterdam). The sides have scored ten goals each in those ties.

• Frank de Boer was in charge of Ajax in the sides' most recent meetings, in the 2013/14 UEFA Champions League group stage: Ajax lost 2-1 to Neil Lennon's Hoops in Glasgow, but won the home fixture 1-0.

• The teams for that game at the Amsterdam ArenA on 6 November 2013 were:
Ajax: Cillessen, Van Rhijn, Sigthórsson (Van der Hoorn 90+5), De Jong, Veltman, Boilesen, Blind, Klaassen (Poulsen 83), Schöne, Denswil, Serero (Fischer 72).
Celtic: Forster, Izaguirre, Ambrose, Van Dijk, Samaras, Stokes (Boerrigter 73), Commons (Pukki 81), Mulgrew, Lustig, Kayal (Ledley 77), Forrest.

Form guide
• Ajax have won four of their last five European home games, the exception being a 3-2 loss to SK Rapid Wien in this season's UEFA Champions League third qualifying round.

• Celtic have failed to score in their last two European away games (W1 D1), and have won only two of their last 15 European away fixtures – both of those victories coming in Iceland.

• Ajax have made it through to the round of 32 in all three of their previous UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League group stage campaigns. They have featured at one stage or another in the last nine editions of the competition, meaning they are the only ever-present club in the seven seasons of the UEFA Europa League.

• Celtic made it through to the round of 32 last season. It was their first successful UEFA Cup or UEFA Europa League group stage campaign after missing the cut in 2009/10 and 2011/12.

Trivia and links
• The journey from Glasgow to Amsterdam is just over 700km.

• Celtic are one of ten domestic champions in this season's group stage, along with KF Skenderbëu (Albania), FK Qarabağ (Azerbaijan), APOEL FC (Cyprus), FC Viktoria Plzeň (Czech Republic), FC Midtjylland (Denmark), Molde FK (Norway), KKS Lech Poznań (Poland), FK Partizan (Serbia) and FC Basel 1893 (Switzerland).

• Celtic midfielder Derk Boerrigter turned professional at Ajax, and then won two league titles in a second spell with the Amsterdam club before leaving for Glasgow in 2014.

The coaches
• De Boer has been in charge of Ajax since 2010, and in 2014 became the first coach to lead the club to four successive Dutch titles. The defender won the UEFA Cup and UEFA Champions League as an Ajax player.

• De Boer played alongside his twin brother Ronald at Celtic's city rivals Rangers FC in 2004.

• A defender in his native Norway, Ronny Deila was hired by Celtic in 2014 after a six-year spell in charge of Strømsgodset IF, who he led to a Norwegian Cup in 2010 and a league title in 2013. He won another title in his first season at Parkhead.

• Deila spent time at the Amsterdam ArenA studying Ajax's methods during his time as Strømsgodset boss.

• Deila turns 40 on 21 September, four days after the Ajax game.

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