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Real Madrid scored six goals without reply when they faced Ajax Amsterdam  in last season’s UEFA Champions League group stage and will be looking for a similar show of strength when the teams reunite at Santiago Bernabéu.

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The Spanish side opened Group D with a 1-0 win at GNK Dinamo Zagreb, Ángel Di María scoring the only goal and Madrid holding on despite Marcelo’s red card. The same night Ajax were held 0-0 by Olympique Lyonnais in Amsterdam.

Real Madrid launched their campaign 12 months ago with a 2-0 home win against Ajax, a Vurnon Anita own goal and Gonzalo Higuaín securing the points. The lineups in Madrid on 15 September 2010 were: Real Madrid: Casillas, Carvalho, Pepe, Marcelo, Arbeloa, Alonso (L Diarra 83), Di María (León 80), Özil (Canales 88), Khedira, Ronaldo, Higuaín:  Ajax: Stekelenburg, Van der Wiel, Alderweireld, Anita, Ooijer, Enoh, De Jong, Emanuelson, De Zeeuw (Tainio 69), Sulejmani (Eriksen 85), El Hamdaoui.

Two months later Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Madrid won 4-0 in Amsterdam despite having both Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos sent off in the closing stages. First-half goals from Karim Benzema and Álvaro Arbeloa helped ensure Madrid would finish top of their group for the third time in the last four editions.

Before last season Ajax Amsterdam were the dominant force in encounters between the sides; indeed they still have four wins to Madrid’s three, with the other match drawn.

In the 1972/73 European Champion Clubs’ Cup semi-final, Ajax won 2-1 at home to Madrid then triumphed 1-0 in Spain thanks to Gerrie Mühren’s goal.

Real Madrid‘s home record against teams from the Netherlands is W8 D1 L2; the visitors’ away record against Spanish sides is W5 D2 L6. The Merengues ended a run of six successive last-16 eliminations when they made it through to last season’s semi-finals, where they lost 3-1 on aggregate to FC Barcelona thanks largely to a 2-0 first-leg defeat at the Bernabéu. In their 15 participations to date they have never once failed to progress to the knockout rounds.

Ajax Amsterdam, who are competing in the UEFA Champions League for the tenth time, followed their defeat in Madrid in last season’s group stage with a 2-1 loss at AJ Auxerre and a 2-0 victory at AC Milan to finish third in the section.

Categories: UEFA Champions League