Rijeka vs Dinamo Zagreb Prediction, Preview, Lineups, H2H & Betting Tips
Game week 5 of the Croatian First Football League (Prva HNL) kickoffs on Friday night, 11 August 2017, when Rijeka takes on Dinamo Zagreb at the “Stadion HNK Rijeka”. We have a clash facing last season’s surprising champion Rijeka and the most successful Croatian club – Dinamo Zagreb. Moreover, both sides are topping the league after four rounds as “The Blues” from Zagreb remain unbeaten having 10 points, while Rijeka is with one point less.
H2H: Rijeka vs Dinamo Zagreb
Rijeka and Dinamo Zagreb will meet for the first time during the 2017-18 campaign. They had a very busy head-to-head tie in the 2016-17 season and “Whites” from Rijeka were the absolute winners after all five encounters. Clear H2H balance was 2 wins for Rijeka, two draws and only one victory for Dinamo Zagreb, but both victories of Rijeka were key for winning the Croatian First League, as well as the 2017 Croatian Cup. The Croatian Cup final remains their most recent fixture and has been marked by a 3-1 Rijeka victory in last day of May.
H2H Record in last 30 matches between Rijeka and Dinamo Zagreb: Rijeka and Dinamo Zagreb have had 30 matches in period 2010-2017. An overall balance consists of 11 wins for Dinamo Zagreb, 11 draws and 8 wins into Rijeka’s balance.
Croatia – Prva HNL: Rijeka vs Dinamo Zagreb 11.08.2017
Leaving history aside, we shall focus over upcoming first-place decider on Friday night when Rijeka will be keen to bounce back after losing 1-0 to Osijek on Monday. A clash that met two of Croatia’s European fighters, only couple of days after Rijeka eliminated RB Salzburg in the UEFA Champions League qualifiers, whilst Osijek caused one of the biggest surprises in this season’s Europa League so far – winning twice and respectively knocking out PSV Eindhoven (0:1, 1:0).
Meanwhile Dinamo Zagreb had a very successful week as “The Blues” initially eliminated Norwegian Odds BK from round 3 of the Europa League qualifying (2:1, 0:0) and also won the “Eternal Derby” – 3:1 vs Hajduk Split on Sunday evening.
Now both sides are heading to the relevant playoffs – Rijeka will challenge Greek champion Olympiakos for a position in the Champions League groups, while Dinamo Zagreb looks certain favourite to win against Skënderbeu Korçë (Albania) and eventually reach the UEFA Europa League group phase.
Match Preview: Team News, Squads and Missing Players
Rijeka seeks first goal in August as Matjaz Kek’s men couldn’t score vs Salzburg at home and then failed to do so in Osijek. However, the goalless draw vs Salzburg was absolutely in their favour an the only disappointment remains earlier in this week. Now “The Whites” have a wonderful chance to climb on top of the table before they travelling to Piraeus next week. Unfortunately Matjaz Kek won’t be able to count on few important players – Macedonian defender Stefan Ristovski joined Sporting CP on loan, while defender Dario Zuparic, midfielder Filip Bradaric and striker Mario Gavranovic are all injured. But that’s not all – full back Marko Vesovic and central midfielder Mate Males have both been booked with a red card in Osijek. All these concerns cause a huge headache and require many rotations by Rijeka’s coach so we may see a centre-back duo Josip Elez-Roberto Puncec, Ivan Martic at the right-back, Florentin Matei in midfield, and attacking duo Heber-Matej Jelic. Thus Kek will most likely return to previously used 4-4-2 formation, as he switched to a 4-2-3-1 last few games.
Dinamo Zagreb heads to the Adriatic Sea coastline in superb morale and Mario Cvitanovic will hope to draw out some positives from all misses in Rijeka. Cvitanovic replaced Ivaylo Petev a month ago and former coach of the B squad (Dinamo Zagreb II) is well-aware of situation in the club. Perhaps that’s the reason why “The Blues” are doing fine and they can be pleased with most of the results so far, even with a 1-1 draw in Osijek, since we mentioned how solid Osijek really looks, especially at home.
Mario Cvitanovic will most likely use the same 4-2-3-1 formation that won over Hajduk but the only question is related with the attacking midfield position. Ante Coric, who opened the score in that game, left the field injured in 52nd minute but his replacement Dani Olmo also did well and scored a crucial goal for 2:1 in the 78th minute. Only two minutes later El Arbi Hillel Soudani scored third goal for Dinamo and brought these vital three points for “The Blues”.
Rijeka vs Dinamo Zagreb Betting Tips and Prediction
Although Rijeka looks weakened by all missing names, Matjaz Kek has improved the team tactical discipline and aggression. With the home advantage on their side and chance for some players to prove their ability we don’t expect an easy trip for Dinamo, not at all.
“The Blues” are the most effective team in Croatia with 10 goals in 4 games (next are Rijeka and Hajduk – 8 goals), as well as one of the best defensive lines alongside Rijeka – conceded just two goals. Mario Cvitanovic perfectly realizes he shouldn’t underestimate Rijeka even with all the injury concerns they have and that a win will be a massive step ahead.
We will repeat our bet from the game in May when both teams have scored – “Both teams to score: Yes“. We had the “Both teams to score” market as a winning bet in last five encounters between Rijeka and Dinamo Zagreb.
Possible Lineups of Rijeka and Dinamo Zagreb
Venue: “Stadion HNK Rijeka”, Rijeka.
Simon Sluga – Ivan Martic, Josip Elez, Roberto Puncec, Leonard Zuta – Zoran Kvrzic, Josip Misic, Florentin Matei, Alexander Gorgon – Heber, Matej Jelic. (4-4-2)
GNK Dinamo Zagreb:
Dominik Livakovic – Petar Stojanovic, Leonardo Sigali, Filip Benkovic, Jan Lecjaks – Domagoj Antolic, Nikola Moro – El Arbi Hillel Soudani, Dani Olmo, Junior Fernandes – Armin Hodzic. (4-2-3-1)