Ajax and Dynamo Kyiv are both hoping to return to the UEFA Champions League group stage as they meet in Amsterdam in the first leg of the play-offs.
• Four-time European champions Ajax have not featured in the group stage since 2014/15, their fifth successive appearance; the Dutch club’s last three UEFA Champions League campaigns have all ended in the qualifying rounds. Dynamo, meanwhile, reached the group stage in 2016/17, but also lost out in qualifying last season.
• The teams have met in only one European tie prior to this one – in the 2010/11 UEFA Champions League play-offs. Ajax emerged victorious 3-2 on aggregate, drawing 1-1 away in the first leg before a 2-1 success in Amsterdam.
• Dynamo’s Denys Garmash was sent off in the Kyiv match and is one of four players who was involved in that tie who is still at their respective clubs. Siem De Jong played in both games for Ajax, with Daley Blind an unused Ajax substitute in Amsterdam. Dynamo reserve goalkeeper Denys Boyko was on the bench for both games.
• Second in the Eredivisie last season, the Amsterdammers have made 13 previous appearances in the UEFA Champions League group stage, although they have not progressed from their section since 2005/06.
• Ajax’s 2017/18 European campaign lasted only two ties, losing to Nice in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round before a 4-2 aggregate defeat against Rosenborg (0-1 home, 2-3 away) that extended their winless run in continental competition to six matches (D2 L4).
• However, Ajax are unbeaten in Europe in 2018/19, beating Sturm Graz home (2-0) and away (3-1) in the second qualifying round and Standard Liège 5-2 on aggregate in the third qualifying round (2-2 away, 3-0 home).
• That 2010/11 win against Dynamo is Ajax’s only aggregate victory in a UEFA Champions League play-off. Their sole other appearance at this stage ended in a 5-2 aggregate loss to Russian club Rostov in 2016/17.
• Ajax have won both home matches against Ukrainian clubs, the other a 2-1 extra-time defeat of Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in the 2014/15 UEFA Europa League round of 16 second leg – although they bowed out on away goals having lost 1-0 in Ukraine.
• Ukrainian Premier League runners-up in 2017/18, Dynamo are bidding to play in the UEFA Champions League group stage for the 17th time, and the third in four seasons.
• The Kyiv club lost to Swiss side Young Boys on away goals in last season’s third qualifying round (3-1 home, 0-2 away). They moved into the UEFA Europa League, where they went on to the round of 16 before losing 4-2 on aggregate to Lazio.
• This is Dynamo’s third UEFA Champions League play-off; aside from that 2010 defeat by Ajax, they beat Borussia Mönchengladbach 4-3 on aggregate in 2012/13. They have won all three of their UEFA Europa League play-offs.
• Dynamo overcame Slavia Praha in this season’s third qualifying round (1-1 away, 2-0 home). That extended their run of successive away European draws to three; they are without a win in their last four European away matches (D3 L1).
• The home win against Slavia ended a run of five European matches without a victory, home and away (D4 L1).
• Dynamo have won on their last two visits to the Netherlands, at Feyenoord in the 2012/13 third qualifying round (1-0) and AZ Alkmaar in the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League group stage (2-1).
Links and trivia
• Aleksandr Khatskevich was in charge of Belarus for a 4-1 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying defeat away to the Netherlands.
• Dynamo’s Tamás Kádár played in the Eredivisie for Roda in 2012/13.
• Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scored in the Netherlands’ 3-0 friendly defeat of Ukraine in 2008 in Rotterdam.
• Huntelaar also got two goals as the Netherlands beat Ukraine 3-0 in the 2006 UEFA European Under-21 Championship final in Portugal.