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AZ v Dundalk background

AZ have made it through five of their eight previous UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League group stage campaigns, and will look for a flying start in Group D against Dundalk.

AZ Alkmaar celebrate a goal in qualifying
AZ Alkmaar celebrate a goal in qualifying ©Getty Images

Enjoying the best European season in their history, Dundalk will hope to scale new heights by achieving a positive result against AZ Alkmaar in UEFA Europa League Group D.

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

• AZ's only previous encounters with Irish opposition came in a 1982/83 UEFA Cup first round tie against Limerick, the Dutch side edging through 2-1 on aggregate after a 1-0 second-leg success in Alkmaar.

• Dundalk's record in four matches against Eredivisie teams is W0 D1 L3. Those defeats include a 6-0 loss to PSV Eindhoven in the second leg of a 1976/77 European Cup first round tie.

Form guide
• AZ are unbeaten in four European games this season (W3 D1).

• AZ have made it through five of their eight previous UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League group stage campaigns.

• Dundalk are making their UEFA group stage debut. The only Irish side to have previously graced a UEFA Europa League group stage is Shamrock Rovers, who lost all six of their games in 2011/12.

• Dundalk are without a win in their last four European away matches (D2 L2), but broke a club record by making their way through three rounds of a UEFA competition for the first time this season.

Links and trivia
• The journey from Dundalk to Alkmaar is around 750km.

The coaches
• AZ coach John van den Brom spent the bulk of his playing career as a midfielder for Vitesse, and was capped twice for his country. As a coach, he won the Belgian title with Anderlecht in 2013, taking command in Alkmaar in 2014.

• Dundalk boss Stephen Kenny started his management career with Longford Town, aged 27, and won a league title with Bohemians in 2002/03, aged 32. Hired by Dundalk in 2013, he steered the club to Irish league titles in 2014 and 2015.