Ajax v Dnipro preview

"We want to give our opponents the feeling that they don't stand a chance," said Frank de Boer as his AFC Ajax side look to overturn a 1-0 deficit against FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk.

Frank de Boer orchestrates his Ajax squad in training
Frank de Boer orchestrates his Ajax squad in training ©AFP/Getty Images

The only domestic champions left in this season's UEFA Europa League, AFC Ajax must overturn a 1-0 deficit at home against an FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk side bidding to reach the last eight in this competition for the first time.

What they say
Frank de Boer, Ajax coach: "It's going to be a tough job to reach the quarter-finals. The main focus will be scoring the first goal, but we have to beware of our opponents, because they will be waiting for us to make mistakes. We have to be fully focused, keep the ball moving and play our own game. We want to give our opponents the feeling that they don't stand a chance and can't draw breath until the final whistle."

Olexandr Ivanov, Dnipro assistant coach: "It is a very big thing playing against Ajax in a crowded stadium with a great atmosphere. Our opponents will be aggressive and will put us under a lot of pressure because they need a goal. We are fully prepared, although we are missing an important player in each line [defence, midfield and attack]. Other players can prove themselves. We can make history tomorrow!"

*Dnipro coach Myron Markevych is ill and has remained in Ukraine

Previous meetings
Dnipro and Ajax met for the first time in UEFA competition in the first leg, Roman Zozulya's 30th-minute goal the difference between the two sides.

Ajax beat FC Dynamo Kyiv 2-1 in their only previous home game against Ukrainian opponents, a result which would see them eliminated if it is repeated against Dnipro.

Dnipro have yet to lose in three games in the Netherlands (W2 D1), scoring two goals in each game (2-2, 2-1, 2-1).

Form guide
Ajax have won their last two European home games without conceding.

Dnipro have lost twice in their six European away games this season (W1 D3 L2).

Ajax have not made it to the round of 16 since 2010/11, when they lost out to FC Spartak Moskva. The last time they reached the quarter-finals of this competition – in 1997/98 – they also bowed out to Spartak.

Dnipro have reached the round of 16 of this competition for the first time. Their biggest European successes were making it to the quarter-finals of the 1984/85 and 1989/90 European Champion Clubs' Cups.

Trivia and links
• Of the sides left in the competition, Dnipro have committed the most fouls this season: 158 in total. They are also the most fouled side, with 152 infringements against them.

Ajax (1992) are among five former UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League winners in the round of 16 along with SSC Napoli (1989), FC Internazionale Milano (1991, 1994, 1998), holders Sevilla FC (2006, 2007, 2014) and FC Zenit (2008).

Ajax are the only reigning domestic champions in the round of 16. Six others were eliminated in the round of 32: Legia Warszawa (Poland), Aalborg BK (Denmark), FC Salzburg (Austria), Celtic FC (Scotland), Olympiacos FC (Greece) and RSC Anderlecht (Belgium).

Ajax's Arkadiusz Milik is one of six Polish nationals left in the competition who still have the chance of a dramatic homecoming when the UEFA Europa League final takes place in Warsaw on 27 May.

Ajax midfielder Lasse Schöne turns 29 on the day of the UEFA Europa League final.

The coaches
Ajax coach since 2010, Frank de Boer claimed five league titles, the UEFA Cup and the UEFA Champions League as a player with the Amsterdam club, with the defender and his twin brother Ronald then scooping a Spanish championship at Barcelona in 1998/99. He has now steered his old team to four straight Eredivisie crowns.

Dnipro coach since May 2014, Myron Markevych started out as a midfielder with home-town club FC Karpaty Lviv. While his playing career was not a huge success, he served Karpaty in four spells as a coach before a lengthy stint at FC Metalist Kharkiv earned him a reputation for attacking football. He briefly coached Ukraine in 2010.

Penalty shoot-outs
Ajax's record in six UEFA competition penalty shoot-outs is W1 L5 (W0 L0 at home):
3-5 v PFC Levski Sofia (A), 1975/76 UEFA Cup third round
0-3 v Juventus (A), 1977/78 European Champion Clubs' Cup quarter-final
2-4 v Bohemians 1905 (A), 1984/85 UEFA Cup second round
4-3 v Grêmio FBPA (N), 1995 European/South American Cup final
2-4 v Juventus (N), 1995/96 UEFA Champions League final
2-4 v FC Steaua Bucureşti (A), 2012/13 UEFA Europa League round of 32

Dnipro's record in one UEFA competition penalty shoot-out is W0 L1 (W0 L0 away from home):
3-5 v FC Girondins de Bordeaux (H), 1984/85 European Champion Clubs' Cup quarter-final

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