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UEFA Champions League

  • September 14, 2011
  • • 19:45
  • • Stadion Maksimir, Zagreb
  • Referee: S. Moen
  • • Attendance: 27055

Champions League Preview: Dinamo Zagreb - Real Madrid

The two teams meet for their first ever competitive match against each other, as the Spanish side head to Croatia for the opening Champions League match of the season


Dinamo Zagreb (4-4-2): Kelava; Tonel, Vida, Cufre, Ibanez; Calello, Leko, Sammir, Badelj; Beciraj, Rukavina

Dinamo Zagreb currently have three first-team players out injured. Arijan Ademi is sidelined with a knee ligament problem, while Mehmed Alispahic is currently shelved with a broken arm, and club captain Igor Biscan is recovering after undergoing ankle surgery. The Croatian side will also be without influential defender Josip Simunic, who is suspended for the first match, and young starlet Sime Vrsaljko, who is serving a three-game ban.

Real Madrid (4-2-3-1): Casillas; Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Carvalho, Marcelo; Xabi Alonso, Coentrao; Di Maria, Ozil, Ronaldo; Benzema

Jose Mourinho currently has a favoured first XI available, so expect him to kick off his Champions League campaign by fielding his strongest team. Nuri Sahin and Hamit Altintop have still to make their Real Madrid debuts since their summer transfers, and remain on the sidelines with a back injury and a knee injury respectively. Sami Khedira is still out of action after suffering a thigh muscle injury against Barcelona in the Spanish Super Copa. Meanwhile, the Portuguese coach himself is serving a touchline ban and will not be in the technical area.

  • This will be the first time the two sides have met in a competitive fixture.
  • Dinamo Zagreb's last five Champions League campaigns came to an end in the third qualifying round. The Croatians have progressed past three preliminary rounds to get to the group stage this season.
  • Krunoslav Jurcic's side are unbeaten at the Stadion Maksimir in 2011.
  • Dinamo are celebrating their centenary year this campaign, having being founded in April 26, 1911.
  • Real Madrid's only European trip to Croatia ended in defeat when they lost 3-1 to HNK Rijeka 27 years ago.
  • Madrid ended a run of six successive last-16 exits when they made it through to last season's semi-finals, where they were eliminated by arch-rivals Barcelona.
  • The Spanish side have never once failed to make it out of the Champions League group stage.
  • Iker Casillas has made more appearances in the Champions League than any other goalkeeper.

Players to watch

M. Badelj

Position: Midfielder

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
The Dinamo Zagreb vice-captain and the creative force in the midfield. The young Croatian is undoubtedly talented, with exceptional vision and precisional passing, but he will have his work cut out for him in midfield up against Xabi Alonso and Coentrao. If the home side can grab a famous victory, chances are that he will have a creative influence.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
The Portuguese averaged a goal every other game last season in the Champions League and do not be surprised if his already scintillating league scoring form pours over into Europe. May be looking to make a statement in the first game. Be aware, Dinamo Zagreb.

Editor's Prediction

The Croatian side are unbeaten at home in 2011 as the Stadion Maksimir has become somewhat of a fortress. However, the hosts have not played a team the calibre of Real Madrid in their unbeaten run, so expect the Spanish side to pull off a professional Champions League away performance. Zagreb are by no means minnows and expect a victory of no more than a couple of goals and Madrid to make a solid start to their European campaign.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Dinamo Zagreb

Real Madrid


Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

GNK Dinamo Zagreb DIN
GNK Dinamo Zagreb Dinamo Zagreb
Real Madrid CF RMA
Real Madrid CF Real Madrid

Top 3 Predictions

GNK Dinamo Zagreb DIN
0 - 4
Real Madrid CF RMA
GNK Dinamo Zagreb DIN
0 - 3
Real Madrid CF RMA
GNK Dinamo Zagreb DIN
2 - 0
Real Madrid CF RMA