Dinamo Zagreb Become Croatian Champion for 19th Time

Dinamo reclaimed the title of Croatian champion once again.

The Zagreb club has secured their 19th title as Croatian champion after Cibalia and Rijeka played for 0:0, and Osijek and Split drew 1:1 at Poljud shortly after, reports on May 13, 2018. 

Nikola Jurčević’s team will play against Rudeš on Monday, though that game is no longer relevant. Dinamo currently has a three-point advantage and a match less than Rijeka, and they also have a better head-to-head than the title defender. In layman’s terms, Dinamo can lose both on Monday and in the final match against Inter, but they will remain Croatian champions. 

Both Dinamo and Rijeka each won two games against one another and had an identical goal difference, which are the first two criteria for determining the order. But according to the third, Dinamo scored more goals than Rijeka at home (3:2), thus allowing them to claim the title tonight. 

Dinamo’s start to the season was anything but smooth, and the turbulence shook the club already with the shock defeat against Skënderbeu in the Europa League play-off. After their Europa League fall, the club went 28 games without a loss, that is, until Hajduk celebrated at Maksimir 1:0 in the 22nd round.

At one point in the season, Dinamo had a 12-point advantage, but the 4:1 defeats from Rijeka and Lokomotiva slowly returned the title competitors to the race - though chances were still slim. After Osijek defeated Dinamo at Maksimir 1:0 in the 29th round, Dinamo went to Poljud with just a 5-point advantage, but Jurčević's side ultimately celebrated 2:1 and fled to eight points.

The club compromised their lead, however, with desperate play in the next three games where they lost to Rijeka, drew to Slaven and experienced another blowout defeat to Lokomotiva at 3:1. Unfortunately, Rijeka also lost to Lokomotiva and to Rudeš and did not take full advantage of Dinamo's fall.

After the defeat to Cibalia, Rijeka was out of the race, and Hajduk was just a few hours behind. Kopić's team drew with Osijek 1:1 in Split on Sunday night, gifting Dinamo the championship title once more.