Our prediction for this Champions League match:
Dinamo Zagreb play host to Astana at their Stadion Maksimir in the Champions League second qualifying round, first leg. Dinamo Zagreb suffered a heart-breaking loss to their bitter rivals Hajduk Split in the season opener, meaning that the lack of confidence could prove to be a big problem for the Croatian champions. The good news for the hosts is that midfielder Luka Ivanusec has overcome his injury.
The Kazakhs, on the other hand, booked their place in the second qualifying by beating Dinamo Tbilisi in the double-header. Astana, though, are not regarded as good travellers and we do not believe that they are capable of spoiling Dinamo’s party at Stadion Maksimir. To make things even worse for the visiting side, experienced defender Mikhail Gabyshev has been struggling with injury of late. In their last meeting at the venue Dinamo Zagreb defeated Astana 1-0.
Highlighted Team (Dinamo Zagreb):
Arguably the biggest club in Croatia and one of the most prominent football outfits in the Balkan region, Dinamo Zagreb have won 18 league titles, 11 of which came successively. Dinamo Zagreb have never been relegated to a lower tier of both Croatian and Yugoslav football.
Modri as they are called in Croatia are renowned for their impressive production line of youth footballers. Their highly organised football academy has so far produced world-class players such as Luka Modric, Mateo Kovacic, Marko Pjaca and many others. Dinamo Zagreb play their home matches at the Stadion Maksimir in front of 35,000 people.
The club lacked support during the last couple of seasons due to fans’ disagreement with club management, most notably notorious Zdravko Mamic, who is under investigation for long-lasting corruption, tax evasion and embezzlement. For the first time since 2015, Dinamo Zagreb will have the full support of their most faithful supporters in the Champions League.