MX23RW : Tuesday, September 21 08:17:53| >> :600:341247:341247:
Aug 4, 2021 at 7pm UK at Stadiom Maksimir
Dinamo ZagrebDinamo Zagreb
1-1
LegiaLegia Warsaw
Petkovic (60')
Jakic (27')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Muci (82')
Slisz (7'), Jedrzejczyk (44'), Renato Soares Martins (72')

Preview: Dinamo Zagreb vs. Legia Warsaw - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Champions League clash between Dinamo Zagreb and Legia Warsaw, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Croatian champions Dinamo Zagreb host Legia Warsaw in the first leg of their Champions League third qualifying round tie on Wednesday, seeking an advantage to take to Poland next week.

While both sides have come through the first two rounds with relative ease - posting four wins from four so far - they now meet opponents of a more equal standing at Stadion Maksimir.


Match preview

Dinamo Zagreb's Mislav Orsic celebrates scoring against Tottenham Hotspur in the Europa League on March 18, 2021© Reuters

As a regular fixture in UEFA competition, Dinamo Zagreb will this week continue their quest for a place in the prestigious Champions League group stage, having made it all the way to the Europa League quarter-finals last season.

Their journey to the final eight of the continent's second-tier tournament saw Damir Krznar's team take out Tottenham Hotspur in the last 16 - following an unbeaten group-stage campaign - and has underlined the Croatian club's ability to sit at Europe's top table for the fourth time in seven years.

Domestic title winners for four consecutive seasons, Dinamo started their current qualification campaign at the first stage of the process with a 5-2 aggregate victory over Iceland's Valur, before easing past Cypriot side Omonia by another three-goal margin last week.

However, the 22-times national champions started the latest defence of their Croatian crown with a 2-0 loss at Slaven Belupo in mid-July, and were held by Rijeka in an entertaining 3-3 draw at the weekend.

With a tally of four points from a possible nine to kick off the Prva HNL - conceding five times in the process - Krznar will undoubtedly be dissatisfied so far, but his side are no strangers to end-to-end encounters, having lifted the cup with a spectacular 6-3 triumph in May.

Forward Mislav Orsic - who featured for Croatia at the Euro 2020 finals earlier this summer - scored the equaliser against Rijeka, to salvage a point against one of Dinamo's chief title rivals, and the 28-year-old forms part of a dynamic attack for Wednesday's home side: one which has racked up 35 goals in their last 12 games stretching back to last season.

Legia Warsaw's Josip Juranovic pictured in October 2020© Reuters

Much like Dinamo, reigning Polish champions Legia Warsaw have also progressed to the third qualifying round without any significant jeopardy, having first posted a 5-2 aggregate success over Bodo/Glimt - winning home and away against the Norwegians - before defeating Estonia's FC Flora at the second stage.

The decisive moment in that tie came while several of the Talinn side's players were arguing a disputed offside call with the officials, and Legia clinically countered - Rafael Lopes netting from a long through ball to put them two goals ahead on aggregate.

As they topped the Ekstraklasa last term and have lost just one competitive home game in 2021, Legia are certainly a team to command respect at domestic level, but will now want to prove their mettle on the European stage.

After they crashed out of the Champions League qualifiers in the second round last year, before losing to Qarabag in the playoffs for the Europa League, the Legionisci are intent on reaching the autumn phase this time around, having last competed in the group stage back in 2016 - mixing it with Real Madrid, Sporting and Borussia Dortmund.

Ever since claiming their 15th domestic title with three rounds to spare last season, Czeslaw Michniewicz's side have had one eye on a place back in the big time, so the former Poland Under-21 coach will hope Saturday's surprise setback at Radomiak Radom - a 3-1 loss after being reduced to nine men - does not disrupt their momentum before this trip to the Maksimir.

Dinamo Zagreb Champions League form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Dinamo Zagreb form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D

Legia Warsaw Champions League form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Legia Warsaw form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L



Team News

Dinamo Zagreb's Mislav Orsic pictured on February 25, 2021© Reuters

Ahead of the first leg, Dinamo Zagreb have concerns over the availability of captain Arijan Ademi, who was forced off in the opening game against Omonia with a thigh injury.

Josip Misic deputised in the second leg of that tie and started alongside Lovro Majer in the league three days later - the latter netting twice in Dinamo's 4-0 win that day, before scoring again on Sunday - so could take a key role in central midfield against Legia.

Dangerous winger Mislav Orsic is expected to combine with Bruno Petkovic up front - with Luka Ivanusec being the final cog in Dinamo's attacking machine - though Swiss striker Mario Gavranovic is another option for the home side.

The visitors are also set to be without an important component of their side, as former Leicester City forward Bartosz Kapustka was withdrawn just four minutes after scoring against Flora in the previous round, amid unfortunate circumstances.

The Poland international has since been ruled out for nine months with a cruciate ligament tear sustained in his right knee, after celebrating a stunning solo goal by jumping into the Legia fans, causing his knee to buckle inward. Therefore, Albanian youngster Ernest Muci is in contention to start in Zagreb, though Josue is also a candidate for coach Czeslaw Michniewicz to consider.

Mahir Emreli should lead the line in a possible 3-5-2 formation - though Legia sometimes switch to 3-4-3 - and Czech journeyman Tomas Pekhart will provide a second-half option from the bench.

Former Celtic goalkeeper Artur Boruc - now aged 41 - has been the most regular starter between the posts in recent weeks, and should pip teenager Kacper Tobiasz (less than half Boruc's age) to a place having been rested at the weekend.

Dinamo Zagreb possible starting lineup:
Livakovic; Ristovski, Theophile-Catherine, Lauritsen, Moubandje; Jakic; Ivanusec, Majer, Misic, Orsic; Petkovic

Legia Warsaw possible starting lineup:
Boruc; Wieteska, Holownia, Jedrzejczyk; Juranovic, Martins, Slisz, Mladenovic; Luquinhas, Emreli, Muci


SM words green background

We say: Dinamo Zagreb 2-1 Legia Warsaw

Though both sides have stuttered at the start of their league campaigns - at least by their own lofty standards - Dinamo are always a threat in the final third and will capitalise on home advantage this week.

Their individual quality up front and experience from last term's run to the sharp end of the Europa League means that the hosts are set to take a lead to the Polish capital - but Legia are capable of snatching a valuable goal to keep them in with a shout.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data


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How you voted: Dinamo Zagreb vs Legia

Dinamo Zagreb
78.9%
Draw
13.6%
Legia Warsaw
7.5%
147
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Dinamo Zagreb's Mislav Orsic pictured on February 25, 2021
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Tuesday's Champions League predictions including Omonia vs. Dinamo Zagreb
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