Thursday, 29 August 2019

Champions League Draw: Dinamo Zagreb in Group C with Manchester City

August 29, 2019 - Dinamo Zagreb will play in Group C against Manchester City, Shakhtar Donetsk, and Atalanta. 

On Thursday in Monte Carlo, the Champions League draw was held at 6 pm, reports

Croatian champion Dinamo also took part in the draw. The Zagreb club has yet another historic opportunity to compete in the elite club competition, a competition it has already participated in seven times.

Dinamo was placed in the third strongest group and could not be drawn with Lyon, Bayer Leverkusen, Red Bull Salzburg, Olympiakos, Club Brugge, Valencia, and Inter.

Thus, Dinamo was drawn into Group C with Manchester City, Shakhtar Donetsk, and Atalanta.

The Champions League group stage will be played in the following terms:

1st Round: 17-18 September

2nd Round: 1-2 October

3rd Round: 22-23 October

4th Round: 5-6 November 

5th Round: 26-27 November 

6th Round: 10-11 December 

During the draw, the best players of the Champions League last season were also announced. Namely, the best goalkeeper is Alisson Becker, the best defender went to Virgil Van Dijk, best midfielder to Frenkie de Jong, and best forward to Lionel Messi. The UEFA President's Award went to Eric Cantona.

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Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Champions League Play-offs: Dinamo Zagreb Tops Rosenborg, Moves to Group Stage

August 27, 2019 - Dinamo Zagreb and Rosenborg played 1:1 in the second leg of the Champions League play-off round on Tuesday. Recall, Dinamo won 2:0 at Maksimir last week, thus defending their lead from the first game which secured them a spot in the Champions League group stage, reports

Dinamo lived dangerously in Trondheim, played a disastrous first half, but was rescued thanks to a brilliant move and a goal by Amer Gojak 19 minutes before the final whistle. Rosenborg proved to be a tough opponent, they played well in the first half, but in the second they fell both physically and mentally, which the Croatian champion used to their advantage to advance to the prestigious European competition.

Interestingly, Dinamo has not lost in the qualifications for the European Cup for eight years, that is, since their appearance against Malmo. 

For the seventh time in the history of the club, Dinamo has advanced to the Champions League group stage. However, they have never gone further in their six appearances so far, and in their 36 games played, they have won four, drawn five and managed 27 defeats with a 22:82 goal difference.

The Champions League group stage draw will be held on Thursday at 6 pm at Grimaldi Forum in Monaco. Dinamo Zagreb has already secured around 25 million euro by placing into the Champions League. 


ROSENBORG: Hansen - Hedenstad (Ceide, 84), Reginiussen, Hovland, Meling - Jensen, Lundemo (Trondsen, 73), Konradsen - Akintola (de Lanlay, 74), Soderlung, Adebenro

DINAMO: Livaković - Stojanović, Dilaver, Perić, Leovac - Moro - Hajrović (Gojak, 66), Ademi, Olmo (Gavranović, 90+1), Oršić (Atiemwen, 81) - Petković

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Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Champions League Play-offs: Dinamo Tops Rosenborg 2:0 in First Leg

August 21, 2019 - Dinamo welcomed Rosenborg in the first round of the Champions League play-offs on Wednesday night at Maksimir stadium in Zagreb. 

In front of 27,000 fans, Dinamo already took the lead in the 8th minute when Bruno Petković nailed a penalty after being taken down in the box.  In the 28th minute, the Croatian champion increased their lead to 2:0 when a long ball by goalkeeper Dominik Livaković found the boot of Mislav Oršić, who charged the Norwegian defense and ultimately nutmegged the keeper for the goal, reports

Dinamo had several other good opportunities, most notably missed by captain Arijan Ademi and Nikola Moro. The Norwegian club also threatened several times, but Dominik Livaković kept a clean slate. 

The return match in Trondheim is scheduled for Tuesday, August 27. The duel at Lerkendal Stadium will begin at 9 pm.

Unless they lose by three goals, Dinamo will secure a spot in Monte Carlo on August 29 (6 pm) in the tough draw for the Champions League group stage. 

In the event they lose, the Croatian champion will move to the draw of the Europa League group stage on 30 August (1 pm), a competition the club welcomed last spring and was eliminated in the round of 16 to Benfica.

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Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Champions League Qualifiers: Dinamo Zagreb Tops Ferencváros, Moves to Playoff Round

August 13, 2019 - Dinamo Zagreb met Ferencvaros in the second leg of the third round of the Champions League qualifiers on Tuesday.

Dinamo Zagreb and Ferencvaros played at the Groupama Arena in Budapest for the return game of the Champions League qualifiers. Recall, the first match played a week ago at Maksimir stadium in Zagreb ended 1:1. Dinamo, however, was much better in the first game with far more chances than Ferencvaros, though the Hungarian club’s perseverance paid off for the draw.

Both teams came out motivated, powerful, and on a mission to do only one thing on Tuesday night - win. From the first minute, Ferencvaros already had an attack which Dinamo goalkeeper Dominik Livaković saved. One minute later, Hajrović threatened the Hungarian goal. 

Both teams continued to attack, though it was Dinamo to score first. A brilliant through ball by Spanish star Dani Olmo found captain Ardijan Ademi for 0:1 Dinamo in the 16th minute. The game ended 0:1 at the half. 

It didn’t take long for Dinamo to increase their lead as an assist from Orišić found Petković for 0:2 in the 47th minute. Less than 10 minutes later, Dinamo made sure they confirmed their place in the Champions League as Dani Olmo scored for 0:3

From the 68th minute, Dinamo played with a man up as Ferencvaros player Ćivić was sent off the pitch for a double yellow. Dinamo's victory was all but confirmed.

With just over 10 minutes to go, Gojak capitalized off the deflection of Majer's rocket of a shot for 0:4. Dinamo was gifted a penalty just a few minutes before the final whistle, though Petković shanked it over the goal to keep the score 0:4 for Dinamo. 

Dinamo will now move onto the Champions League playoffs where Rosenborg, who defeated Maribor 3:1 in Norway, will be their opponent. 

Apart from the result, this game also had significant financial importance. Dinamo will secure almost 8 million euros, as UEFA gives five million euros to all clubs that participate in the Champions League playoffs. Those who are defeated in the playoffs will receive another 2.92 million euros from participating in the Europa League. Dinamo’s eventual placement in the Champions League brings 15.25 million euros. 

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Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Champions League Qualifiers: Dinamo Zagreb and Ferencvaros Draw at Maksimir

Dinamo Zagreb went without a win in the first leg of the third round of the Champions League qualifiers. 

Dinamo and Hungarian club Ferencvaros played 1:1 at Maksimir in the first leg of the third round of the Champions League qualifiers. In front of 15,000 spectators, the goalscorer for Dinamo was Spanish star Dani Olmo while David Siger equalized for Ferencvaros, reports on August 6, 2019.

Already in the 3rd minute, Dani Olmo threatened Ferencvaros with a shot from 16 meters out, but goalkeeper Dibusz was on his toes to make the save. However, in the 7th minute, Oršić and Olmo’s extraordinary attack resulted in Dinamo's lead. Oršić played Dani Olmo, who then nutmegged Siger and nailed the corner of the Ferencvaros goal. In the 45th minute, Hajrović’s attempt for a goal was defended, and Ademi's header flew by the goal post.

The Hungarian club was much more determined in the second half and equalized in the 59th minute thanks to their first dangerous attack towards Dinamo's goal. Nguen shot on goal, which was defended by Livaković from about ten meters, though Siger capitalized on the deflection and nailed the Dinamo goal. Some of Dinamo's defenders managed to get the ball out, but the referee estimated that the ball had crossed the goal line.

In the 65th minute, Dinamo had an incredible opportunity when Hajrović hit the post from nine meters out. In the 81st minute, Olmo shot from just outside the penalty area, which was denied by the goalkeeper,  and Gavranović failed to capitalize on the deflection. 

The return match between these two clubs is scheduled for Tuesday, August 13, at the Groupama Arena in Budapest.

Since Dinamo did not manage to win against Ferencvaros in front of their fans, the decision on who will move forward will fall in Budapest. 

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Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Champions League Qualifiers: Dinamo Zagreb Tops Saburtalo, Moves to 3rd Round

Dinamo Zagreb topped Georgian club Saburtalo both home and away to move to the next round of Champions League qualifications.

Dinamo overcame Georgian club Saburtalo 3:0 in the return match of the second Champions League qualifying round on Thursday, and thus went 5:0 overall to advance to the third qualifying round against Hungarian club Ferencvaros, reports on July 30, 2019.

In the first match in Tbilisi, Dinamo won 2:0, though the return match was much harder for the Zagreb club than expected. Not only did they have to play behind closed doors thanks to a UEFA ban, but the Georgian club had three great chances in the first half which could have potentially shocked the Croatian champion. 

Fortunately, Mislav Oršić cleared any doubts in the 77th minute for 1:0, while Bruno Petković confirmed the Dinamo victory in the 89th minute for 2:0. Interestingly, Oršić and Petković were also the goalscorers in Tbilisi. In the last moments of the match, Spanish superstar Dani Olmo also scored in his first appearance this season for the 3:0 win. 

Dinamo will play against Ferencvaros in the third qualifying round. The Hungarian club beat Valletta 3:1 in their first match in Budapest, while they finished 1:1 in Ta'Qali. 

The first match is scheduled for Tuesday in Zagreb, followed by the return match in Budapest.

Dinamo hosted Saburtalo behind closed doors as they served a UEFA punishment for using pyrotechnics, blocking the stairs and racist behavior during last season's match against Benfica. Dinamo received a two-game ban, though one game is conditional and will be activated if Dinamo is punished again within a two-year period.

For the fifth time in the history of the club, Dinamo played in front of empty stands and achieved their second victory.

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Sunday, 2 June 2019

Dejan Lovren Becomes 10th Croatian Footballer to Win Champions League

Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren has become the tenth Croatian footballer to win the Champions League, reports on June 1, 2019. 

Before him, the Champions League title was claimed by Alen Bokšić, Zvonimir Boban, Davor Šuker, Dario Šimić, Igor Bišćan, Mario Mandžukić, Luka Modrić, Ivan Rakitić, and Mateo Kovačić. Some Croatian footballers won the European title in the former state. Recall, Robert Prosinečki won as a member of Red Star in the European Cup in May 1991. The Belgrade team defeated Olympique de Marseille 5:3 (0:0) after a penalty shoot-out.

This was Lovren’s second Champions League final. Liverpool lost to Real Madrid in the final last year, but in their second attempt, they celebrated 2:0 over Tottenham.

Luka Modrić holds the Croatian record with four Champions League titles and all four won with Real Madrid (2014, 2016, 2017, 2018). Mateo Kovačić has three European titles, also with Real Madrid (2016, 2017, 2018), while Dario Šimić was the European champion twice with Milan (2003, 2007).

The first Croatian footballer to win the Champions League was Alen Bokšić in 1993 with Marseille in Munich at the Olympic Stadium. The French club celebrated against Milan 1:0. Bokšić played the whole match, and it was the first edition of the 'Champions League'. Bokšić played in the final four years later with Juventus. Interestingly, at the same stadium, though Juve lost to Borussia Dortmund 1:3.

Just like Boksić, Zvonimir Boban played in two finals and has one title. The former Croatia captain won the European crown with Milan in 1994 in Athens demolishing Barcelona 4:0. A year later, Milan played in the final again, but Ajax won 1:0 in Vienna.

The current president of the Croatian Football Federation and the best goalscorer in the history of the Croatia national team Davor Šuker won the European championship in 1998 in the jersey of Real Madrid after defeating Juventus 1:0. Šuker went on in the 88th minute for Predrag Mijatović.

Dario Šimić has European crowns with Milan after winning in 2003 against Juventus (3:2, penalties), and 2007 against Liverpool (2:1). However, Šimić watched both finals from the stands.

He also did not perform in the 2005 final where Milan lost to Liverpool. In that final, after a miraculous turnaround, Igor Bišćan celebrated with the Reds, though he followed the match from the stands. The Italian club was up 3:0, but Liverpool managed to equalize in the second half and forced the game to penalties. 

Mario Mandžukić won the Champions League in 2013 in the Bayern jersey, defeating Borussia Dortmund at Wembley 2:1. Mandžukić then became the first Croat to score in the final of the Champions League, and the sixth Croatian footballer to win the most elite European competition. "Super Mario" scored for 1:0 in the 60th minute.

The following year, Luka Modrić won the first of four European titles with Real Madrid. In the final in Lisbon, Real Madrid defeated Atletico Madrid 4:1 after extra time. It was Luka to assist Sergio Ramos in the third minute of extra time for 1:1.

The next season, the European crown went to Barcelona. The Catalan club celebrated in the final against Juventus 3:1, and Rakitić put Barca in the lead in the 4th minute, making him the second Croat to score in the Champions League final after Mandžukić. Rakitić also became the first Croatian footballer to win the Champions League and the Europa League with two different clubs after celebrating with Sevilla in 2014. Mateo Kovačić later joined him.

For the last three years, the European title was won by Real Madrid with the Croatian duo Modrić and Kovačić. Real defeated Atletico Madrid after a penalty shootout in 2016 in Milan, a year later they defeated Juventus 4:1 in Cardiff and last year they overcame Liverpool 3:1 in Kyiv.

Seven Croatian footballers have lost in the final, including Ivica Olić, Danijel Pranjić, Boris Živković, Marko Babić, Jurica Vranješ, Igor Tudor, and Dado Pršo.

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Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Rakitić and Lovren Meet in First Leg of Champions League Semi-final Tonight

Barcelona hosts Liverpool in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final on Wednesday. It is the battle of the Croatians, as Ivan Rakitić and Dejan Lovren meet, reports on April 30, 2019. 

Unlike Tottenham and Ajax, who, contrary to all expectations, advanced to the Champions League semi-final, Barcelona and Liverpool, the more likely clubs in this stage of the competition, are two 'heavyweight clubs that have won 10 European titles overall. 

Interestingly, both Barcelona and Liverpool have five titles, and both clubs have been defeated three times in the final.

Barcelona’s last final was in 2015 when they won the Champions League title, while Liverpool lost to Real Madrid last summer and has been waiting to wear the European crown since 2005. 

Regardless of the semi-final outcome, Croatian football has yet another reason to be proud, as one Croatian will be in the Champions League final on June 1st at Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid - Dejan Lovren or Ivan Rakitić.

After an injury, Lovren should finally be ready for the match tonight, but whether he will play in Liverpool’s starting lineup is questionable. Rakitić, one the other hand, is one of Barcelona's biggest hopes.

Barcelona already claimed the La Liga title on Saturday and can focus all of their attention to the Champions League, while Liverpool continues to run an exhausting battle on the two fronts, the Premier League and the Champions League. Two rounds before the end of the championship, Manchester City is one point ahead of Liverpool. The ‘Reds’, however, are hoping to clinch the Premier League title; one they have been waiting for since 1990.

"The fact that we are in the semifinal of the Champions League, and just before winning the Championship, makes us happy and hungry for new victories. You can always play better and get to these games in a better way, but we will play with a real desire to go to the final,” Rakitić said.

"I believe we have learned something from the previous seasons and we will now try to end this season perfectly,” he added.

"The most important thing now is to prepare well and play our game as usual. Our idea is not to score a single goal, but we cannot think of the return game now. We have to go for the victory but play calm. Liverpool can be dangerous, so we will have to be 100% concentrated,” Rakitić said.

And what will it be like playing against Lovren?

"I have great respect for him. All teams that are led by coach Jurgen Klopp have always been arranged well and he has drawn the best out of the players. I hope we stop them as soon as possible and then impose our own rhythm of the game. I also hope to score as soon as possible. The defense, however, is strong and they do not make it easy to score goals,” concluded Rakitić.

Barcelona and Liverpool will meet at 21:00 tonight.

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Thursday, 18 April 2019

Croatia to Have a Representative in Champions League Final for 8th Consecutive Year

No matter how the semifinals end, Croatia will have one representative in the Champions League final on June 1st in Madrid.

Friday, 8 March 2019

Croatia Granted Two Spots in Champions League for 2020/2021 Season

Croatia will now have five clubs in European competitions for the 2020/2021 season.

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