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Ajax v Schalke background

Unbeaten in their last 11 European home games – and on a run of five straight Amsterdam ArenA victories in the UEFA Europa League – Ajax have reason for confidence as they welcome Schalke.

Schalke forward Klaas-Jan Huntelaar pictured in his Ajax days
Schalke forward Klaas-Jan Huntelaar pictured in his Ajax days ©Getty Images

Ajax will welcome back a notable name from their past as they take on Schalke in the first leg of their UEFA Europa League quarter-final, eager to maintain a long unbeaten European home record.

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

• Ajax's 32 games against German sides have ended W20 D5 L7 (W13 D1 L1 in Amsterdam). Those matches include the final of the 1987 European Cup Winners' Cup, when they beat Leipzig 1-0 in Athens.

• Ajax lost 4-1 to Borussia Dortmund in their most recent encounter with German opponents, in the 2012/13 UEFA Champions League group stage – their first home defeat by a German team.

• Schalke's eight games against Dutch sides have ended W3 D1 L4 (W3 D0 L0 at home – W0 D1 L4 in the Netherlands). All three of those home wins were by three-goal margins.

Highlights: Ajax 2-0 København

Form guide
• Ajax are unbeaten in 11 European home games (W6 D5) and have won their last five continental matches at the Amsterdam ArenA.

• Schalke have made it to the quarter-finals despite drawing their last three European games. They are unbeaten in Gelsenkirchen in this season's competition (W3 D2).

• Ajax have appeared in all eight UEFA Europa League campaigns – the only club to do so – but this is the first time they have reached the quarter-finals. In overcoming København 2-0 at home, they became the first Dutch club to win a UEFA Europa League knockout phase tie after losing the first leg.

• Ajax have not reached a major European quarter-final since bowing out to AC Milan in the 2002/03 UEFA Champions League, and last got to a semi-final in the 1996/97 edition of the same competition, succumbing to Juventus.

• Schalke lost 6-4 on aggregate to Athletic Club in their most recent quarter-final, in the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League.

Watch Dahoud's screamer against victorious Schalke

Links and trivia
• The journey from Gelsenkirchen to Amsterdam is around 175km.

• This is a meeting of two former winners – Ajax lifted the trophy in 1991/92, Schalke in 1996/97.

• Schalke striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar spent three years at Ajax (January 2006 to January 2009), scoring more than 100 goals.

• Huntelaar played under Ajax boss Peter Bosz while on loan at De Graafschap in 2003.

• Ajax have a former Schalke man in their ranks: reserve defender Heiko Westermann made 123 appearances in three seasons with the Royal Blues between 2007 and 2010.

• Ajax's German winger Amin Younes spent his formative years at Borussia Mönchengladbach, the side Schalke knocked out in the round of 16.

• The first leg is taking place on the day of Ajax forward Mateo Cassiera's 20th birthday.

The coaches
• A Dutch title winner as a midfielder with Feyenoord, Bosz returned from Israel to take charge of Ajax in May 2016. Bosz has managed Heracles and Vitesse in the Netherlands, also briefly coaching Maccabi Tel-Aviv.

• Schalke coach Markus Weinzierl progressed to last season's UEFA Europa League round of 32 with Augsburg, whom he had led since 2012. His playing career peaked when he spent a season with the first-team squad at Bayern München in 1998/99, though he never played a senior match.