First place in Group E is on the line when Ajax and Bayern München, who have both already sealed their places in the UEFA Champions League round of 16, meet in Amsterdam on matchday six.
• The teams drew 1-1 in Munich in the second round of fixtures – Mats Hummels’ fourth-minute goal for Bayern cancelled out by Noussair Mazraoui 18 minutes later – and both have remained unbeaten to see off the challenges of Benfica and AEK Athens for a top-two finish.
• The draw with Ajax is the only game in which Bayern have dropped points in the section. The Munich club’s five-game total of 13 points is two more than Ajax, meaning a draw in the Netherlands – in their 150th UEFA Champions League group encounter – will allow the German side to finish first.
• Ajax will finish top if they win.
• Two of European football’s most famous names, this will be the clubs’ tenth fixture – and home sides have traditionally held the upper hand. Of the nine previous contests, six have ended in a home victory, with the other three matches drawn.
• The most recent encounters before this season came in the 2004/05 UEFA Champions League group stage, Bayern winning 4-0 in Munich – Dutch international striker Roy Makaay contributing a hat-trick – before a 2-2 draw in the Netherlands.
• That, however, is Bayern’s only success in the last six matches between the pair; Ajax have won two in that sequence, most recently a 5-2 semi-final second-leg success in their victorious 1994/95 UEFA Champions League campaign.
• After beating AEK 3-0 in Amsterdam on matchday one and drawing at Bayern, Ajax then took four points off Benfica thanks to a 1-0 home success and 1-1 away draw. Progress was assured by a 2-0 win at AEK on matchday five, Dušan Tadić with both goals – the Serb has scored Ajax’s last three goals in the competition.
• Second in the Eredivisie last season, Ajax are in the UEFA Champions League group stage for the 14th time, but the first since 2014/15. Then their campaign ended in the group stage, for the fifth year in a row; they finished third on each occasion.
• This is the first time Ajax have 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 – a run of 11 matches. Before the group stage they beat 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) before overcoming Dynamo Kyiv 3-1 in the play-offs (3-1 home, 0-0 away).
• The Amsterdammers have lost only one of their last eight home fixtures in the UEFA Champions League group stage (W5 D2).
• Ajax have won 14 of their 16 home games against German clubs, the sole defeat a 4-1 loss against Borussia Dortmund in the 2012/13 UEFA Champions League group stage.
• Having opened Group E with a 2-0 win at Benfica, Bayern followed the draw with Ajax by beating AEK Athens 2-0 away and at home; they claimed their place in the round of 16 by beating Benfica 5-1 in Munich last time out.
• Robert Lewandowski has scored in Bayern’s last three European matches and, with six goals, is the joint top scorer in this season’s UEFA Champions League alongside Lionel Messi.
• Bayern are unbeaten in their last seven away European games (W6 D1); the match at Benfica was their first clean sheet on their UEFA Champions League travels in 15 matches. They followed it with another at AEK.
• Champions of Germany for a record 28th time last season – with a landmark sixth successive Bundesliga title – Bayern are in the group stage for the 22nd time.
• The Munich club have reached the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals or better in each of the last seven seasons. They last failed to progress from the initial group section in 2002/03, although they missed out altogether on the UEFA Champions League in 2007/08.
• For the second year in a row Bayern’s campaign was ended by Real Madrid in 2017/18, via a 4-3 aggregate semi-final defeat.
• Bayern have won four of their ten away games against Dutch clubs (D2 L4), including the most recent – a 2-1 victory at PSV Eindhoven in the 2016/17 group stage. That is their only win, however, in five UEFA Champions League visits (D2 L2).
• The German club are on a six-match unbeaten run against Eredivisie opposition, home and away (W4 D2).
Links and trivia
• Ajax coach Erik ten Hag was coach of Bayern’s B team between 2013 and 2014, winning the Regionalliga Bayern in 2014.
• Klaas-Jan Huntelaar was a Schalke player between 2010 and 2017, scoring 82 goals in 175 Bundesliga appearances.
• Robert Lewandowski scored three times against Ajax for Dortmund in the 2012/13 UEFA Champions League group stage; the German club won 1-0 at home and 4-1 away.
• Has played in the Netherlands:
Arjen Robben (Groningen 2000–02, PSV Eindhoven 2002–04)
• Have played together:
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar & Manuel Neuer (Schalke 2010/11)
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar & Leon Goretzka (Schalke 2013–17)
• International team-mates:
Maximilian Wöber & David Alaba (Austria)
• Arjen Robben, Daley Blind and Huntelaar were all part of the Netherlands squad that finished third at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.