The Croatian league resumed operations two weeks ago after a break since mid-December. In the 23rd round reigning champion Rijeka meets the series champion Dinamo Zagreb. Both teams lost their games from last weekend – rather surprisingly. Rijeka slipped to fourth place in the table. The gap to the top is already 15 points, so a title defense has become impossible. Zagreb, however, is again at the top in the league. The captains have won eleven championship titles in a row over the last twelve years. In the past season, today’s opponent grabbed the trophy away. To make sure that this will not happen again this season, Zagreb will win this away game. The game will kick off at 16:00 on Sunday.
Rijeka managed the almost impossible in the last season. The first league title in club history was achieved by a consistent performance in the league. This interrupted the winning streak of Dinamo Zagreb. With only two defeats in 36 games managed this venture sovereign. Rijeka was unbeaten until the 31st matchday. With 71 goals, the team from the north of Croatia presented the best offensive in the league. Four players scored more than ten goals. Top scorer was Andrijasevic with 16 goals. This season looks a lot different. After 22 laps Rijeka slipped to fourth place in the table. This would not qualify for qualifying matches for the Europa League. Rijeka had a very weak start to the season. After only five rounds, the club had more defeats in the account than in the entire last season. After all, the Cup is similar to last season. Rijeka won her eighth and quarter-final sovereign and will face Zagreb in the semifinals. Last year, the captains faced each other in the final. With 1: 3 Rijeka could succeed and get the double.
The championship title allowed Rijeka to qualify for the Champions League qualification. The Croats have survived the first two rounds against TNS and Salzburg. Only in the last qualifying round failed the Croats to the Greeks from Piraeus. The Europa League group stage did not go as desired. This time, another Greek team Rijeka stood in the way: AEK Athens grabbed the second place with only one point off the Croats.
Dinamo Zagreb has long been the measure of all things. The captains won the championship trophy eleven times in a row – from 2005/06 to 2015/16. Zagreb also won the Cup seven times in those years. Only in the last season their dominance was interrupted by today’s opponent. Currently Zagreb has fought back to the usual top. The captains conceded last weekend the first defeat of the season, although Zagreb was superior in the home game. Split scored in the second half, with Gavranovic equalizing in the 81st minute from the penalty spot. This ended the game 0: 1. The Swiss Mario Gavranovic changed in the winter of the competitor Rijeka in the capital. Despite this defeat, Zagreb is on title course. Already nine points have the Hauptstädter lead on the pursuers from Split. Dinamo Zagreb are the most effective offense and the most stable defense this season. It is not surprising that Zagreb is also running in the Cup. Only European convinced Zagreb this season. The qualifying round for the Europa League against Odd from Norway won Zagreb still sovereign. However, the hurdle in the last round was too high. Skenderbeu qualified for the group stage thanks to the away goals rule.
PREDICTION: Under 2.5 goals @ 1.54