Ajax v Chelsea facts
Group H leaders Ajax take on Chelsea for the first time hoping to help erase the memory of their last game against an English club.
• After a memorable campaign, Ajax missed out on last season’s UEFA Champions League final due to a last-gasp Tottenham goal in the second leg of their semi-final. The Dutch club have hit the ground running in 2019/20, however, winning their first two games in the section to establish a three-point cushion – although Chelsea, who recovered from an opening home loss with an impressive away victory last time out, are in hot pursuit.
• Ajax have kicked off Group H in style with a pair of 3-0 wins, Quincy Promes scoring in both matches against LOSC Lille in Amsterdam and Valencia in Spain.
• Ajax went all the way from the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round to the semi-finals in 2018/19, losing on away goals to Tottenham in the last four after conceding six minutes into added time to go down 3-2 at home and bow out after a 3-3 aggregate draw.
• Erik ten Hag’s team lost only two of their 18 European matches in 2018/19 (W10 D6), when they became the first side in European Cup history to reach the semi-finals having come through three qualifying rounds and the first Dutch club to get to the UEFA Champions League last four since PSV Eindhoven in 2004/05.
• Champions of the Netherlands for the 34th time in 2018/19 – their first league title since 2014 – Ajax also lifted the Dutch Cup to claim their eighth domestic double, and a first since 2002.
• They kicked off this season’s UEFA Champions League in the third qualifying round, seeing off Greek side PAOK 5-4 on aggregate after a 2-2 away draw and a 3-2 home win secured by an 85th-minute Dušan Tadić penalty. The second-leg victory in Amsterdam ended a run of four home European matches without a win (D2 L2).
• A goalless draw at APOEL in the first leg of the play-offs ended Ajax’s run of scoring in 14 successive European matches, but a 2-0 home win booked their group return. This season’s results have stretched their unbeaten away run in Europe to 12 matches (W6 D6).
• A 3-1 defeat of Manchester City in the 2012/13 UEFA Champions League group stage is Ajax’s only win in their last six matches at home to English clubs (D1 L4). The Amsterdammers had won four of their first five home games with English clubs, drawing the other.
• Ajax have won only one of their five fixtures at home to London sides (D1 L3) – the first, a 2-1 defeat of Arsenal in the 1971/72 European Cup quarter-final.
• Ross Barkley missed a late penalty on Matchday 1 as Chelsea returned to the UEFA Champions League after a year away with a 1-0 loss to Valencia – their first European reverse at Stamford Bridge in 12 matches (W7 D4).
• Frank Lampard’s side responded with a 2-1 victory at LOSC thanks to goals from Tammy Abraham and Willian. That extended Chelsea’s unbeaten run in European away matches to eight (W6 D2); they have won 11 of their last 20 European away fixtures (D5 L4).
• Chelsea’s last trip to the Johan Cruijff ArenA came on 15 May 2013, Branislav Ivanović heading an added-time winner against Benfica in the UEFA Europa League final. Lampard played 90 minutes and captained the side with usual skipper John Terry sidelined through injury.
• This is only Chelsea’s third game against a Dutch club; they beat Feyenoord 3-1 home and away in the 1999/2000 UEFA Champions League second group stage.
• Third in last season’s Premier League, Chelsea also qualified for the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League group stage as the winners of the UEFA Europa League, and are taking part for the 16th time; only once, as holders in 2012/13, have they failed to reach the knockout stages.
• The Blues were UEFA Europa League winners under Maurizio Sarri in 2018/19, beating Arsenal 4-1 in the competition’s first all-English final since Tottenham overcame Wolves in the 1972 UEFA Cup. Eden Hazard scored twice at the Baku Olympic Stadium, Olivier Giroud and Pedro Rodríguez also finding the net as Chelsea claimed their second UEFA Europa League title having also triumphed in 2013, their only other appearance in the competition.
• The London club have scored three goals or more in five of their last ten European matches. Their tally of 36 goals in last season’s UEFA Europa League was one short of the competition record set by Porto in 2010/11.
• Chelsea were unbeaten in European competition last season, claiming the UEFA Europa League with a record of W12 D3 F36 A10. Before losing to Valencia on Matchday 1, their last continental defeat had come at Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg in March 2018 (0-3), although they did lose on penalties against Liverpool in the UEFA Super Cup in August following a 2-2 draw after 120 minutes in Istanbul.
Links and trivia
• Have played in England:
Dušan Tadić (Southampton 2014–18)
Daley Blind (Manchester United 2014–18)
Siem de Jong (Newcastle 2014–16)
• Blind was in the Manchester United team that beat Ajax 2-0 in the 2017 UEFA Europa League final at the Friends Arena in Solna, Sweden.
• Promes scored the Netherlands’ final goal in a 3-1 extra-time victory against England in the UEFA Nations League semi-final on 6 June. Barkley played 120 minutes for England.
• International team-mates:
Sergiño Dest & Christian Pulišić (United States)
Nicolás Tagliafico & Willy Caballero (Argentina)