Gradanski nogometni klub Dinamo Zagreb has been the name of the club since 2010, but their roots go way back to 1911. Their name and structure has changed various times in an eventful history - marking a similarity to our club. Let's start with the football, however.
Tactics, key players and possible line-up
It remains to be seen which formation coach Ante Cacic opts to use against us. The Modri regularly use a back four in the league, but Zagreb have lined up with a back three and back five in Europe this season. Dinamo play in a structured way out of defence, with their pressing in the opposing half being only sporadic – with European being a different proposition than the domestic league for Dinamo.
Former Rapid man Robert Ljubicic has often between rotated between the middle and the left wing. It is uncertain whether experienced midfielder Josip Misic, who tends to channel all of their play, will feature after suffering a minor injury in his last league match.
The attack will be led by Mislav Orsic. The Croatian international shines with his tempo, dribbling and strong shooting technique. Bruno Petkovic is expected to be used as a centre-forward. The 28-year-old is not a man you want to play any long balls to, as instead he links together Dinamo's quick passes. Ready to pounce from the bench is former Swiss international Josip Drmic.
Dinamo Zagreb's possible starting XI:
Successes and philosophy
The Croatian league has been played in its current format since 1991. Since then, the Blues have had a near stranglehold on the title, winning it a good 23 times in 31 seasons. The league has been marked by an incredible Dinamo dominance since 2006, with HNK Rijeka being the only team to break it in 2017. Ten wins from 11 matches have left Zagreb well on course to defend the title this season. They are yet to make their mark on UEFA competitions, however. The Croatian champions are yet to make it past the group stage of the UEFA Champions League.
Zagreb is known around Europe, just as we are, for their great youth development work. Almost every Croatian talent appear to have been through the Dinamo academy, founded in 1967, at some point. Whether Dario Simic (father of Roko), Luka Modric, Mateo Kovacic, Josko Gvardiol or Dani Olmo – they have all worn blue. They have some young and hungry Croatian hopefuls in their current crop in the shape of Josip Sutalo (22/central defence) and Luka Ivanusec (23/attacking midfield).
Stadium, city and fans
Zagreb, in the northwest of Croatia, is not only the home of Dinamo Zagreb, but also the national capital. Stadium Maksimir is firmly in the category of historic buildings now at the age of 110 - and the ground is definitely starting to show its age in some regards.
Despite several renovations, there is still no roof, for instance. Since an earthquake in 2020 the entire East Stand has been closed due to the risk of collapse. Plans for a new stadium are ongoing.
Along with the team, the Dinamo fans - especially the Ultras of the Bad Blue Boys – have made a name for themselves in recent years, albeit not always for the right reasons.
We will get to know the Croatian capital and the stadium as soon as next Tuesday in our fourth Champions League match day, with our focus now fully on the game this Wednesday in our Salzburg fortress! For anyone coming to the match tomorrow we recommend you read our match day info, while we have also put five facts about the upcoming clash together for you: