Time: 20:45 CET
Venue: Estadio Camp Nou, Barcelona
Referee: William Collum (SCO)
• The clubs met for the first time in last season’s group stage, Barcelona winning 4-0 at the Camp Nou where Lionel Messi hit a hat-trick. Ajax responded with a 2-1 victory in Amsterdam.
• Barcelona’s defeat in Paris on 30 September was their earliest loss in a UEFA Champions League campaign since 2001.
• Including their 1-0 victory over APOEL FC in their Group F opener, Barcelona have lost just one of their last 28 home UEFA Champions League matches.
• The Blaugrana have never lost at home to Dutch opponents. Their record is W4 D3 L0.
• With their 1-1 draw at APOEL last time out, Ajax are now without a win in their last eight away matches in the UEFA Champions League – a run stretching back to a 2-0 victory at GNK Dinamo Zagreb in October 2011.
• Frank de Boer was playing – and his brother Ronald scored – when Ajax last won in Spain, a 3-2 extra-time success at Club Atlético de Madrid in the 1996/97 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals.
• Ajax have lost six of their last seven matches in Spain, drawing the other. Their home victory over Barcelona last term was their first against any Spanish club since 2003/04.
• Their overall record in Spain is W5 D2 L9.
• Luis Enrique and Frank de Boer were Barcelona team-mates from 1999 to 2003. In those four years, De Boer made 144 Liga appearances and won the Spanish title in 1999.
• The pair had previously played against each other when Luis Enrique’s Real Madrid CF lost 1-0 at De Boer’s Ajax in a UEFA Champions League group stage match in September 1995. De Boer missed the return in Spain when Luis Enrique’s Madrid lost again (0-2).
• De Boer scored twice against Spain as a Netherlands player, hitting winning goals in a 2-1 friendly victory in November 2000 and another friendly success (1-0) in March 2002.
• De Boer was assistant coach of the Netherlands team beaten 1-0 in the 2010 FIFA World Cup final by a goal from Spain’s Andrés Iniesta.
• Jasper Cillessen was in goal for the Netherlands side that brushed aside Spain 5-1 in their opening match at the 2014 World Cup on 13 June. Jordi Alba, Gerard Piqué, Sergio Busquets, Xavi Hernández and Iniesta started for Spain; Pedro Rodríguez appeared as a substitute.
• Cillessen and Claudio Bravo were in opposing goals when the Dutch beat Chile 2-0 in their final group match in Brazil.
• Barcelona’s suspended striker, Luis Suárez, played for Ajax from 2007 to 2011 (110 Eredivisie appearances, 81 goals), winning the Dutch Cup in 2010.
• Thomas Vermaelen played for Ajax from 2003 to 2009 (98 league appearances), winning the Eredivisie and two Dutch Cups as well as captaining the club.
• Niklas Moisander captained Finland in two 2014 World Cup qualifiers against Spain – a 1-1 draw in Gijon in March 2013 and a 2-0 home loss six months later in which Alba scored.
• Bravo this season became the first goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet in each of the first eight matches of a Liga campaign, eclipsing the 560-minute record set by the Blaugrana’s Pedro María Artola over the first six weeks of 1978/79.
• Including the final game of last term, Barça’s defence has not been breached in 761 minutes in the Liga.
• Xavi’s first goal since 2 March set Barcelona on their way to a 3-0 triumph over visiting SD Eibar on Saturday. Messi concluded the scoring with his 250th Liga strike, one shy of Telmo Zarra’s record.
• Neymar has scored 14 times in his last 12 outings for club and country. He scored all of Brazil’s goals, taking his tally to 40 in 58 appearances, as they beat Japan 4-0 in a Singapore friendly on 14 October.
• Messi had a penalty saved during Argentina’s 2-0 loss to Brazil in Beijing on 11 October but scored twice, having come on in the 60th minute, three days later in a 7-0 triumph over Hong Kong.
• De Boer’s side are eight games unbeaten in all competitions since a 2-0 reverse at FC Groningen on 31 August.
• The Eredivisie title holders’ draw, 1-1, at FC Twente on Saturday was their third in as many games
• Thulani Serero picked up a hamstring injury on Saturday and is out for the trip to Barcelona, as is Nicolai Boilesen, concussed during Denmark’s 1-0 loss to Portugal on 14 October.
POSSIBLE BARCELONA LINE-UP
Ter Stegen, Alves, Pique, Bartra, Alba, Mascherano, Rakitic, Iniesta, Pedro, Messi, Neymar.
VERDICT: Barcelona 4-1 Ajax