Manchester United and AZ Alkmaar are both already through with the winners of Group L to be decided at Old Trafford.
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Manchester United and AZ Alkmaar meet at Old Trafford with their places in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase already pre-booked, though still to be resolved is the issue of which team will progress as Group L winners.
• United ensured their qualification after just four matches, in which they picked up ten points and conceded no goals, before a youthful side were beaten 2-1 at eliminated Astana last time out. AZ, meanwhile, staged a remarkable late comeback on Matchday 5, scoring two late goals through substitute Ferdy Druijf to draw 2-2 at home to Partizan and secure the group's second qualifying place. That result also maintained the Dutch club's unbeaten record in Europe this season, which now stands at 11 matches.
• With United on ten points and AZ on nine, the English side will win the group if they avoid defeat at Old Trafford. If AZ win, they will leapfrog their hosts into first place.
• AZ and United met in UEFA competition for the first time in The Hague on Matchday 2, drawing 0-0.
• United's UEFA Europa League final victory against Ajax in Stockholm three seasons ago was their 17th match against Dutch opposition and their ninth victory. They have won six of their eight home fixtures against visiting teams from the Netherlands (D1 L1), most recently beating Feyenoord 4-0 in the group stage of that 2016/17 UEFA Europa League triumph.
• The Alkmaar club's five previous away fixtures against English clubs have all ended in defeat, including a 0-3 loss at Ipswich Town in the first leg of the 1981 UEFA Cup final and a 1-4 reverse at Arsenal on their most recent visit, in the Dutch club's only UEFA Champions League campaign (2009/10).
• The three-time champions of Europe finished sixth in the 2018/19 Premier League, which meant direct access to the UEFA Europa League. They were quarter-finalists in last season's UEFA Champions League, going out to Barcelona after a remarkable round of 16 second-leg comeback against Paris Saint-Germain (0-2 h, 3-1 a).
• United have appeared in three previous UEFA Europa League campaigns, but this is only their second group stage start, the previous one three seasons ago having ended in outright victory under manager José Mourinho against Ajax in Stockholm. The Manchester giants exited in the round of 16 on their other two participations.
• The Red Devils are unbeaten in their last 11 UEFA Europa League home games (W9 D2), registering five wins out of five at Old Trafford in the group stage including the two this season against Astana (1-0) and Partizan (3-0). They were on a run of 14 matches in the competition without defeat – four shy of the all-time record set last season by domestic rivals Chelsea – until their Matchday 5 reverse in Kazakhstan.
• AZ finished fourth in the 2018/19 Eredivisie at the end of a campaign that started with a shock defeat by Kairat Almaty in the UEFA Europa League second qualifying round – the earliest European exit in the club's history.
• The Alkmaar club's six group stage participations have all required pre-qualification and this season they negotiated more summer preliminary ties than ever before, three in total, knocking out BK Häcken, Mariupol and, after extra time in the play-offs, Antwerp (1-1 h, 4-1 a). They have now progressed to the UEFA Europa League knockout phase on four occasions, previously reaching the quarter-finals in 2011/12 and 2013/14 and the round of 32 in 2016/17.
• The 1980/81 UEFA Cup runners-up are unbeaten in their 11 European games this season (W5 D6), keeping seven clean sheets, but outside the qualifying phase they have posted just two wins on their travels in their last 11 continental fixtures (D4 L5), 1-0 against Dundalk in Dublin three seasons ago and 5-0 in Astana last time out – the club's biggest ever European away win.
Links and trivia
• United's Argentinian international goalkeeper Sergio Romero was an AZ player from 2007–11, winning the 2008/09 Eredivisie title with the club under Louis van Gaal, who would later bring him to United.
• AZ skipper Ron Vlaar has played in the English Premier League (Aston Villa 2012–15) – as has club-mate Jordy Clasie (Southampton 2015–17).
• Norwegian duo Jonas Svensson and Fredrik Midtsjø both had lengthy spells with Rosenborg before joining AZ and were frequent opponents of United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær when he was the head coach of coastal rivals Molde.
• Manchester United are one of three former UEFA Europa League winners in this season's group stage, along with Porto and Sevilla.
• United striker Anthony Martial's next appearance in UEFA club competition will be his 50th. The Frenchman has scored nine European goals, including one in each of his last two appearances, the away and home wins against Partizan.
• AZ have the most prolific attack in this season's UEFA Europa League group stage, 11 of their 15 goals having been scored in the two games against Astana (6-0 h, 5-0 a). Group A winners Sevilla have scored 14.
• United have fielded 32 players in this season's UEFA Europa League group stage – more than any other team – whereas AZ have used only 16, fewer than every other club bar Group J's Wolfsberg (15). Nine AZ players have started all five matches, whereas there are no ever-presents in the United squad.
• This is AZ's 50th game in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final. They are only the second Eredivisie club to reach that landmark.
• Both clubs enjoyed fine away wins in domestic competition last weekend, United claiming a 2-1 victory at local rivals Manchester City to move up to fifth in the Premier League while AZ, second in the Eredivisie, won 3-0 at PEC Zwolle – their sixth successive league win – to reduce the gap on leaders Ajax to three points.
• A former Old Trafford favourite, whose legendary status at the club was confirmed with his added-time winner in the 1999 UEFA Champions League final against Bayern München, Ole Gunnar Solskjær returned to Manchester United as interim manager in December 2018, replacing Mourinho, before securing the position on a permanent basis the following March. A former Norwegian international striker renowned for his predatory goalscoring, he won six Premier League titles as a United player and established his reputation as a coach in his homeland with Molde.
• When John van den Brom ended his five-year stint as AZ's head coach by moving to Utrecht in summer 2019, his job was passed on to assistant Arne Slot, whose first task was to steer the Alkmaar club through three qualifying rounds into the UEFA Europa League group stage. This is his first post as a head coach although he is a well-known former player in the Netherlands having operated in the Eredivisie for NAC Breda, Sparta Rotterdam and PEC Zwolle, where he started both his playing and coaching careers, the latter in charge of the youth side in 2013/14.