Dinamo in the Champions League, Hajduk, and Lokomotiva in the Europa League got the opponents today, and the task will be a tough one
Dinamo, Hajduk, and Lokomotiva were in the draw for the playoff stage of European cups on August 5. 2016 in Nyon after they have won their clashes in the pre-elimination stage. Rijeka was the only Croatian club to lose its clash and failed to reach the playoff round.
Dinamo will play against Austrian champions, Salzburg, and the Croatian champions have one comforting fact, as even if they lose and fail to reach the group stage of the Champions League, they will play in the group stage of the Europa League.
Dinamo has played against the same opponent in two occasions, and the memories are not so pleasant. In the 2009/2010 season, the two met in the pre-elimination stage for the Champions League, and the Austrians have gone trough to the next stage (1-1, 1-2).
The second time they have met was two years ago, in the group stage of the Europa League, and that memory is even more painful for Dinamo’s supporters, as Salzburg has won both matches (4-2, 5-1).
Salzburg is not as good as two years ago, but still, has to be considered the favorite between the two, and as there is no peace surrounding Dinamo these days, on the paper it does not look good for the Croatian champions.
Hajduk and Lokomotiva have played some great matches this summer, but their task is maybe even tougher than Dinamo’s one. And while Lokomotiva has already done more than expected, and the win against Genk would be the club’s biggest success ever, Hajduk is in a search for victory against Maccabi Tel Aviv, as it would mean the new dawn for the favorite Dalmatian club.
Maccabi is the firm favorite against Hajduk, as they have a few international stars in their line-up, several Israeli national team members, and more from other countries. They have lost a single game in the year 2016, and it is a sign of a great form surely.
Hajduk will have tremendous support in the return match, which is to be played at packed Poljud Stadium, and in a case of the win, the financial reward would help the Split club. And not to mention the celebrations that would follow in Split in case of the win.
Lokomotiva is not dependent on the financial success, as they have another kind of support, but that is an another kind of story. Genk is the firm favorite, but Lokomotiva is packed with young talent from Dinamo, and they will want to show that talent at the international stage, so the surprise is not to be ruled out for this clash.
Dinamo will play Salzburg at home on August 16 or 17, and the return will be on August 23 or 24 in Austria. Hajduk will travel to Israel on August 18, and the return is scheduled a week later in Split. Lokomotiva is playing on the same dates as Hajduk, but will play the first leg at home.