- Having qualified for the knockout stages by coming second in a group containing Fenerbache, Feyenoord and Zorya Luhansk, Manchester United have dispatched Saint-Etienne, FC Rostov, Anderlecht and Celta Vigo en-route to their first UEFA Europa League final.
- Through progressing to the UEFA Europa League final, Manchester United will look to become only the fifth club alongside Juventus, Bayern Munich, Ajax and Chelsea to win the European Cup, UEFA Cup / UEFA Europa League and the Cup Winners’ Cup.
- Their record in the competition this season is:
- They are currently on a ten match unbeaten run in European fixtures (W:7; D:3), however they have only won one of their previous five fixtures in all competitions.
- This is the first major European final Manchester United have reached since losing to Barcelona in the 2010/11 Champions League final. From that final, only Ashley Young, Michael Carrick, Chris Smalling and Wayne Rooney are in the current squad.
- If selected, Henrikh Mkhitaryan will become the first Armenian to play or score in a UEFA Cup / UEFA Europa League final.
- If selected, Antonio Valencia will become the first Ecuadorian to play or score in a UEFA Cup / UEFA Europa League final.
- English clubs have enjoyed a measure of success in this tournament in recent years, as Manchester United become the third English club to reach a UEFA Cup / UEFA Europa League final in the last five seasons (Chelsea – 2013 and Liverpool – 2016).
- If selected and they go on to win, Michael Carrick will become the oldest winner of the UEFA Europa League (35 years and 300 days).
- The only Dutch player to score against Manchester United in a UEFA European final is current Everton boss Ronald Koeman (1990/91 Cup Winners Cup vs Barcelona).
Manager: Jose Mourinho (Portugal)
Average age of the squad is 24 years and 252 days
- Ajax qualified for the UEFA Europa League knockout stages through coming third in their UEFA Champions League group. They have progressed past PAOK, FC Copenhagen, Schalke 04 and Lyon on their way to the final.
- Their record in the competition this season is:
- This is Ajax’s second appearance in the UEFA Cup / UEFA Europa League final. They won their previous appearance on the away goal rule (1991/92 final vs Torino).
- They come into the final having won their previous two league games but losing two of their last three European fixtures – conceding seven goals in the process.
- The Dutch giants are set to compete in their first UEFA European final this century. Their last was the UEFA Champions League final in 1995/96, where they lost on penalties to Juventus.
- If selected, Bertrand Traore will become the first player from Burkina Faso to play or score in a UEFA Cup / UEFA Europa League final.
- If selected, Hakim Ziyech will become the first Moroccan to play or score in a UEFA Cup / UEFA Europa League final.
- Ending what has been quite a baron spell in UEFA Cup / UEFA Europa League finals, Ajax are the first Dutch club to reach this final since Feyenoord in 2002.
- Ajax have Justin Kluivert in their squad, who is the son of Dutch legend Patrick Kluivert. Patrick scored Ajax’s winner in the 1994/95 UEFA Champions League final.
- No English player has ever scored against Ajax in a European final.
Manager: Peter Bosz (Netherlands)
Average age of the squad is 22 years and 38 days
Connections between the two clubs
- Manchester United and Ajax are both appearing in their first UEFA Europa League final.
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic has played for both Ajax (2001 – 2004) and Manchester United (2016 – present day). He scored 35 goals in 75 appearances for Ajax and helped the club lift two Eredivisie titles and the Dutch Cup.
- Edwin van der Sar is considered a club icon at both clubs having started his career at Ajax (1990 – 1999) and ended it at Manchester United (2005 – 2011). Van der Sar has experienced success in Europe for both these clubs, winning the 1991/92 UEFA Cup and the 1994/95 UEFA Champions League while at Ajax and the 2007/08 UEFA Champions League with Manchester United. Edwin van der Sar is currently back at Ajax, as the club's general director.
- Current Manchester United player Daley Blind was signed by Manchester United from Ajax in 2014 for a reported fee of £13.8 million. His father, Danny Blind, also played for Ajax and was part of the team that experienced major success in the late 80's and early 90's, winning all three European trophies (UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1986/87, the UEFA Cup in 1991/92 and the UEFA Champions League in 1994/95).
- Louis van Gaal has managed both Ajax (1991 – 1997) and Manchester United (2014 – 2016).
When are we most likely to see goals?
The following graphics illustrate the periods in matches that Manchester United and Ajax have scored in previous European finals:
- Manchester United has conceded the first goal in UEFA European finals 55.6 % of the time. They score the first goal in their finals 44.4 % of the time.
- Manchester United have scored 13.3 % of their UEFA European final goals in the 1st half, 66.7 % in the 2nd half and 20 % in the 1st half of ET.
- Manchester United has conceded 50 % of goals in UEFA European finals in the 1st and 2nd half of matches. They have never conceded in ET of UEFA European finals.
- Of the nine goals Manchester United have scored in UEFA European finals inside 90 minutes, three of them (33.3 %) have been in stoppage time at the end of the 2nd half.
- Ajax have conceded the first goal in UEFA European finals 46.2 % of the time. They score the first goal in their finals 53.8 % of the time.
- Ajax have scored 42.9 % of their UEFA European final goals in the 1st half and 57.1 % in the 2nd half. They have never scored in ET of UEFA European finals.
- Ajax have conceded 53.3 % of goals in UEFA European finals in the 1st half and 46.7 % in the 2nd half of matches. They have never conceded in ET of a UEFA European final.
The following graphics illustrate focus on previous UEFA Europa League and UEFA Cup finals: