Ajax Amsterdam have drawn last season’s Ligue 1 surprise package OGC Nice in the third preliminary round of the UEFA Champions League.
The Dutch giants, who finished as runners-up in the UEFA Europa League after losing to Manchester United in the final, have been dealt a major blow during their pre-season preparation.
Promising midfielder Abdelhak Nouri suffered permanent brain damage due to cardiac arrhythmia after collapsing during a club friendly fixture with Werder Bremen in Austria last week.
Marcel Keizer, who succeeded head coach Peter Bosz upon his move to Borussia Dortmund, will now be tasked to regroup his squad after the recent tragedy. They face an ambitious squad who hold the likes of Mario Balotelli in their attacking ranks.
Club captain Davy Klaasen, Bertrand Traore and defender Kenny Tete have also moved on from the Eredivisie side to Everton and Olympique Lyon respectively.
The fixtures will take place on July 25 or 26 at the Allianz Riviera and on August 1st or 2nd in Amsterdam against Lucien Favre’s side.