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AZ v Lyon background

UEFA Cup finalists in 1981, AZ Alkmaar will look to mount a renewed assault on the trophy as they welcome Lyon in their first UEFA Europa League game of 2017.

AZ celebrate making it through the group stage
AZ celebrate making it through the group stage ©AFP/Getty Images

AZ Alkmaar put in a late group stage surge to make it to the UEFA Europa League round of 32 but are up against tough customers in UEFA Champions League dropouts Lyon.

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

• AZ have yet to lose in three games against French sides (W2 D1 – W2 at home).

• Lyon's record in ten matches against Dutch teams is W4 D4 L2 (W2 D2 L1 in France – W2 D2 L1 in the Netherlands).

Form guide
• AZ are unbeaten in three UEFA fixtures (W2 D1); their record in five UEFA home games this season is W2 D2 L1.

Lyon finished third in their UEFA Champions League group
Lyon finished third in their UEFA Champions League group©AFP/Getty Images

• Lyon have not lost in their last three UEFA matches (W1 D2). An average of exactly one goal a game has been scored in their past five European fixtures: a 1-0 win, 0-0 and 1-1 draws and two 1-0 defeats.

• Losing UEFA Cup finalists in 1981, AZ are playing in the spring phase of a UEFA competition for the first time since reaching the 2013/14 UEFA Europa League quarter-finals.

• Lyon were also quarter-finalists in 2013/14. They have yet to participate in a major UEFA final but were UEFA Champions League semi-finalists as recently as 2009/10 and reached the last four in the 1963/64 European Cup Winners' Cup.

Links and trivia
• The journey from Lyon to Alkmaar is around 750km, due north.

Who will win the UEFA Europa League in 2017?

• AZ's Ron Vlaar turns 32 on the day of the first leg; during his time at Aston Villa he faced Lyon right-back Rafael three times (with Manchester United) and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa once (with Newcastle), ending up on the losing side in all four games.

• Lyon's women's team are the reigning European champions.

Suspended: Mattias Johansson (AZ).
Misses next match if booked: Stijn Wuytens (AZ); Sergi Darder, Maxime Gonalons, Rafael (Lyon).

The coaches
• Bruno Génésio took charge at Lyon in December 2015, but his links to the club go back much further. A local boy, he joined OL as a trainee in 1983 and represented Lyon as a midfielder from 1985–95. He later worked as a scout and was assistant coach from 2011–15.

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

UEFA makes new donation of €100,000 to ICRC
UEFA will mark a decade of helping Afghan landmine victims on Wednesday, when Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos presents a cheque for €100,000 to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

"I would like to pay tribute to the ICRC, who have been working relentlessly to help landmine victims, many of whom are children. Their programme in Afghanistan, which has been in place for several years, shows that football can offer real hope in challenging times," said UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin.

"I am glad that UEFA can help this cause, and that the sport we love can have a positive impact on the rehabilitation process of so many people in this troubled region," he added.

The donation supports the ICRC's physical rehabilitation programme for landmine victims and other people with disabilities in Afghanistan – providing artificial limbs, physiotherapy, vocational training and access to the rehabilitation centre's football team. About a third of patients are children.

Sergio Ramos will present the donation before his side's UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match against Napoli at the Santiago Bernabéu in Madrid on 15 February.

"The people benefiting from the ICRC programme in Afghanistan are an inspiration to us, as they set an example of how to approach life in a positive manner despite the problems that they face," the Real Madrid captain said.

Sergio Ramos was chosen to hand over the cheque after receiving the most votes in UEFA.com's Team of the Year, which was published in January, and added that it is "a privilege" to be "a source of motivation" to so many people.

"They don't stop dreaming, and they fight to make their dreams come true. As key figures in this sport, it's a true privilege for us footballers to be a source of motivation in their day-to-day lives, and to help them out," he said.

Over the course of a partnership lasting almost 20 years, UEFA has donated in excess of €3.5m to the ICRC to help disadvantaged people around the globe. Meanwhile, over 7 million votes were cast in selecting the UEFA.com users' Team of the Year 2016. More information on the award is available online at en.toty.uefa.com.