When Frank de Boer's Atlanta United side visits Ron Jans' FC Cincinnati outfit on Wednesday night (7:30 pm ET | TV & streaming info), it will mark the renewal of a managerial rivalry that includes Jans' best achievements.
The two men previously coached against each other in a total of 11 competitive matches during De Boer's nearly six-year tenure at Dutch giants Ajax, while Jans was in charge of Heerenveen and then PEC Zwolle.
At Zwolle, it was De Boer in the other dugout when Jans won his only two pieces of hardware, a 5-1 win over Ajax in the 2014 Dutch Cup final, and a 1-0 victory in the Johan Cruyff Shield to open the following season.
Adding an additional MLS tie-in, current FC Cincinnati center back Maikel van der Werff was in Jans' starting XI for the Dutch Cup victory, while now-Montreal forward Bojan Krkic started at forward for Ajax.
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Over the longer term, De Boer has clearly held the upper hand, albeit at a club with considerably more resources. While Jans was at Heerenveen, he lost all three of his league matches against De Boer-coached Ajax sides, plus saw his side concede five goals in both meetings during the 2012 season.
Despite winning two trophies over Ajax at Zwolle, Jans never defeated De Boer in a league meeting. De Boer's overall record in the series is solid: 6W-2L-3D, 22 goals for, 11 goals against.
But there's more to their Wednesday meeting in MLS than days of old. Atlanta have already won the U.S. Open Cup and Campeones Cup this season under De Boer. The defending MLS Cup champions currently sit third in the Eastern Conference, though they are coming off a 3-1 home loss to Columbus Crew SC.
Meanwhile, Jans is coming off his first MLS managerial win last weekend at the Montreal Impact after taking over the last-place club in early August. They're already eliminated from the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs.