Dinamo and Rijeka to Play High Stakes Match

By 21 February 2016

Top of the table clash at Maksimir. 

Dinamo and Rijeka will play at the Maksimir Stadium in Zagreb their 142nd match in history on February 21, 2016, but the stakes have not been this high since the 1998/1999 season, which fans of Rijeka will never forget. Players, coaches and fans were already celebrating their first ever national champions title, before the referee made his highly controversial decision at the very end of the match and handed the title to Dinamo. Seventeen years later, Rijeka is still waiting for its first title, reports Vecernji List.

They are close this year, the club is financially stable, the team is good, the coach knows every detail about his players, there is a positive mood among the fans, and the only thing missing is a big win in Zagreb, which would bring Rijeka to the top of the table.

Dinamo is currently not in the best possible shape, but it is a strong favourite today at Maksimir. Since the First Croatian Division was started, Dinamo and Rijeka have played 81 matches – with 47 wins for Dinamo, 19 wins for Rijeka, and 15 draws. The goal difference is 148-70 in favour of Dinamo. If we include matches played in the Yugoslavian First Division, Dinamo has 75 wins, Rijeka has 35 wins and there were 31 draws.

This season, Rijeka has had more success is their matches. On 8 August 2015, Dinamo and Rijeka played 0:0 in Zagreb, while at the Rujevica Stadium on 25 October Rijeka won 2:1. Although today's match will not decide who will win the championship, it is certain that the match itself will offer many answers, especially about whether Rijeka can deal with Dinamo or whether it will fail under pressure of such an important match. It is expected that the atmosphere on the stadium will be a more positive one than what footballers have gotten accustomed to in recent years, so we might finally witness a real Croatian football derby.

All in all, we can only hope that after the game is over everybody will be talking just about the players and their moves, and not about officials and their contentious decisions, which would be an interesting and welcome change for Croatian football.