For the first time in a long while Ajax will start their European campaign in the UEFA Europa League, where they face Olympique Marseille in the first game.

The Dutch hosts advanced to the group stage after defeating Ludogorets Razgrad in the playoff round, but their hosts failed to qualify for the Champions League and are now competing in Europe’s second-tier competition.

Ajax went into the 2023-24 season after a disappointing campaign by their own standards the previous year, finishing third in the Eredivisie, 13 points behind winners Feyenoord, while also finishing third in their Champions League group and dropping into the Europa League knockout playoff round, where their continental run was ended in a 3-1 defeat to Union Berlin.

Ajax will now shift their attention to the European scene, hoping to start with three points on home soil after a difficult start to their effort to reclaim the domestic title.

They face a Marseille side that is starting life in Europe’s second tier after a failed Champions League qualifying effort at the start of the new season.

Les Olympiens won a place in the third qualifying round of the Champions League after finishing third in Ligue 1 last season with 73 points from 38 games. They met Greek side Panathinaikos but failed to advance after two legs as the game required a penalty shootout.

This will be the first meeting between the two teams with three points on the line in Group B. Kickoff is scheduled for 19:00 GMT.

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