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UEFA Champions League

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


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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.



DID YOU KNOW?
  • 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.

Related

Field Report
Reader's Predictions
Top 3 Predictions
Head to Head
UEFA Champions League ‎(UCL)‎ Nov 22, 2011 Real Madrid CF 6 - Dinamo Zagreb 2
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UEFA Champions League ‎(UCL)‎ Sep 14, 2011 Dinamo Zagreb 0 - Real Madrid CF 1
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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
30Ivan KelavaGoalkeeper
3Luis IbáñezDefender
13TonelDefender
17Domagoj VidaDefender
14Adrián CalelloMidfielder
7Jerko LekoMidfielder
10Mateo KovačićMidfielder
11Ivan TomecakMidfielder
10SammirMidfielder
14Milan BadeljMidfielder
55Ante RukavinaStriker
-Filip LoncaricGoalkeeper
2Ante PuljicDefender
13Nikola PokrivacMidfielder
77P. MoralesMidfielder
-Mario ŠitumStriker
21Fatos BecirajStriker
99Ivan KrstanovićStriker
1Iker CasillasGoalkeeper
2Ricardo CarvalhoDefender
3PepeDefender
4Sergio RamosDefender
12MarceloDefender
5Fabio CoentraoDefender
11Mesut ÖzilMidfielder
14Xabi AlonsoMidfielder
22Ángel Di MaríaMidfielder
7C. RonaldoStriker
9Karim BenzemaStriker
1AdànGoalkeeper
17ArbeloaDefender
2Raphaël VaraneDefender
6Sami KhediraMidfielder
6Lassana DiarraMidfielder
9Gonzalo HiguaínStriker
7José Callejón Striker
Players to Watch
Milan Badelj
Milan Badelj
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 14
Games Goals YC RC
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.
C. Ronaldo
C. Ronaldo
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 7
Games Goals YC RC
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.
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.
Editor's Prediction

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