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Celta v Ajax background

Celta are unbeaten after two Group G games but can expect their toughest test since returning to Europe after a ten-year absence when Ajax revisit the Balaídos Stadium.

Zlatan Ibrahimović in training ahead of Ajax's 2003 UEFA Champions League group stage game at Celta Vigo
Zlatan Ibrahimović in training ahead of Ajax's 2003 UEFA Champions League group stage game at Celta Vigo ©Getty Images

Celta will not have to cope with Zlatan Ibrahimović this time as they prepare for a second visit from Ajax, the sides vying for top spot in UEFA Europa League Group G.

Previous meetings
• Celta and Ajax's only previous meetings came in the 2003/04 UEFA Champions League group stage; Ronald Koeman's Ajax won 1-0 at home (Ibrahimović scoring the goal) but lost 3-2 to Miguel Ángel Lotina's men in Vigo. That was Celta's first victory at that stage of the elite competition.

• The line-ups for that latter meeting on 4 November 2003 were:
Celta: Pinto, Sylvinho, Cáceres, Vagner (Contreras 86), Ángel López, Milošević, Mostovoi (Oubiña 90+2), Juanfran, Jesuli (Gustavo López 82), Luccin, Fernández.
Ajax: Lobonţ, Escudé, Galásek (Wamberto 79), Ibrahimović (Litmanen 70), Van der Vaart, Maxwell, De Jong, Sonck, Yakubu (Heitinga 65), Grygera, Mitea.

• Those remain Celta's only encounters with Dutch opposition, but Ajax have played Spanish teams 35 times in total with the record W14 D5 L16 (W5 D2 L10 in Spain).

• Ajax have lost their last five matches in Spain by margins of two goals or more.

Form guide
• Celta have taken four points from their two Group G games, but Ajax top the section following back-to-back victories.

• This is Celta's first European campaign since they got through the group stage and into the round of 16 of the 2006/07 UEFA Cup.

• After three successful attempts to negotiate their UEFA Cup or UEFA Europa League groups, Ajax failed to qualify for the first time in the 2015/16 group stage.

Links and trivia
• The journey from Amsterdam to Vigo is around 1,500km.

• Celta forward John Guidetti spent the 2011/12 campaign on loan with Feyenoord, notably hitting a hat-trick in a 4-2 triumph against Ajax in the Dutch Eredivisie.

• Ajax's German defender Heiko Westermann played in Spain last season with Real Betis; in his only match against Celta, his side drew 1-1 at home.

• Former team-mates:
Giuseppe Rossi (Celta) & Tim Krul (Ajax) – Newcastle, 2006

The coaches
• Eduardo Berizzo played in the UEFA Champions League for both Marseille and Celta, the former Argentina centre-back returning to Europe in 2014 to take charge of the Galician club. He led them back into Europe with a sixth-placed finish last term.

• A Dutch title-winning midfielder with Feyenoord, Peter Bosz returned from Israel to accept the Ajax reins in May 2016. Bosz has also coached Heracles and Vitesse in the Netherlands, and had a brief tenure at Maccabi Tel-Aviv in 2016.