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Molde v Ajax background

Molde will look to build on a sensational start in UEFA Europa League Group A when they host another big name, Ajax – who are playing their 350th UEFA game.

Molde celebrate a goal in Istanbul on matchday one
Molde celebrate a goal in Istanbul on matchday one ©AFP/Getty Images

Molde FK made a sensational start in their first UEFA Europa League Group A game and will hope to spring another surprise as AFC Ajax make their 350th UEFA competition appearance.

Previous meetings
• The sides are meeting for the first time in UEFA competition.

• Molde have won their only two previous European matches against Dutch opponents, beating sc Heerenveen home and away in the 2012/13 UEFA Europa League play-offs.

• Ajax's record in eight fixtures against Norwegian teams is W3 D3 L2 (W2 D2 L0 at home – W1 D1 L2 in Norway). In the most recent of those ties, they beat IK Start 9-2 on aggregate in the 2006/07 UEFA Cup first round.

Form guide
• Molde are unbeaten at home in Europe this season (W2 D1) and kicked off their Group A campaign with a sensational 3-1 away win against Fenerbahçe SK.

• Eliminated by eventual runners-up FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in last season's round of 16, Ajax are undefeated in three European games (W1 D2), including a 2-2 draw against Celtic FC on matchday one.

• Molde are making their second appearance in this group stage, having missed out on the knockout phase in their maiden campaign in 2012/13.

• 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.

Trivia and links
• The journey from Amsterdam to Molde is just over 1,150km.

• This is Ajax's 350th UEFA club competition game; the previous 349 ended W170 D74 L105.

• The oldest player registered for this season's group stage, Molde's 40-year-old midfield fulcrum Daniel Hestad has Dutch league experience, having represented Heerenveen from 2003 to 2005. Hestad is a Molde legend; he broke his father Stein Olav Hestad's Molde club appearance record while three of his uncles and his brother have played for the club at various times.

• Molde defender Joona Toivio (AZ Alkmaar, SC Telstar) and midfielder Harmeet Singh (Feyenoord 2012–14) have also played in the Netherlands.

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

The coaches
• Erling Moe took over as Molde coach in August, replacing Tor Ole Skullerud, who was dismissed the season after leading the club to a domestic double. Born and raised in Molde, Moe has worked behind the scenes at the club since 2007, as a coach and physical trainer.

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

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