Croatia will now have five clubs in European competitions for the 2020/2021 season.
Croatian football champion Dinamo did not just play for themselves against Benfica in the Europa League on Thursday night. Namely, Croatia’s UEFA national coefficient rankings were also at stake, reports HRT on March 7, 2019.
It was enough for Dinamo to win just one point in these two Europa League round of 16 games for Croatia to be granted five representatives in European Cups from the 2020/2021 season – two in the Champions League and three in the Europa League. Dinamo thus achieved what was needed, and Croatia jumped over Switzerland and Denmark, whose clubs have already fallen out of the European competition.
This is how it will work for Croatian First League (HNL) clubs.
The Croatian champion will advance to the second qualifying round of the Champions League in the draw for champions, and the second-placed team in the second qualifying round in the draw for the finalists.
The winner of the Cup (or the third place team if the first or second place team wins the Cup) will go directly to the third round of the Europa League, while the other two clubs (fourth and fifth place) will enter the second qualifying round of Europa League.
Dinamo’s win also directly helped the Croatian finalist, who will be guaranteed at least the group stage of Europa League if they fail to advance in the Champions League.
Dinamo’s game against Benfica was their 15th European game this season, where they’ve secured nine wins, four draws, two losses and a difference of 28:10.
Dinamo started their European campaign in the second qualifying round of the Champions League against Hapoel Beer-Sheva (5:0, 2:2), followed by two victories against Astana (2:0, 1:0), and play-off rounds against Young Boys (1:1, 1:2). After they fell to Switzerland, Dinamo continued their way into the Europa League, winning first place in Group D ahead of Fenerbahce, Spartak Trnava, and Anderlecht. In the six games, they entered four wins and two draws, with a score of 11:3.
In the round of 32, Dinamo showed their strength against Viktoria Plzen, and even though they lost the first match 1:2, they won 3:0 to advance to the round of 16. On Thursday, the great Benfica also fell to Dinamo, though the real test will be in the return match in Lisbon on Thursday, March 14.
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