MX23RW : Friday, April 16 19:16:39| >> :600:125954:125954:
Apr 8, 2021 at 8pm UK at Stadion Maksimir
Dinamo ZagrebDinamo Zagreb
FT(HT: 0-1)
Moreno (44' pen.)
Moreno (76')

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

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Europa League clash between Dinamo Zagreb and Villarreal, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Dinamo Zagreb and Villarreal face off at Stadion Maksimir on Thursday evening in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final tie.

The Croatian side stunned Tottenham Hotspur in the last round to advance, while Villarreal proved too strong for Dynamo Kiev in both legs.

Match preview

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

Trailing 2-0 from the first leg and without a manager after Zoran Mamic received a jail sentence for fraud, not many gave Zagreb much hope of overcoming Tottenham.

However, Mislav Orsic's sublime hat-trick in the second leg at Stadion Maksimir, the third of those goals coming in extra time, sent the Blues through 3-2 on aggregate.

This is the furthest the Croatian champions have progressed in the Europa League and they will now be looking to win a fifth European home match in a row for the first time ever.

Damir Krznar is tasked with steering Zagreb past Villarreal, but his side were held 1-1 by Sibenik in the Croatian top flight on Saturday, allowing Osijek to draw level on points.

Villarreal eased to a 3-0 win over Granada on their return to La Liga action following a two-week break, meanwhile, to make it five victories in a row in all competitions.

Villarreal's Gerard Moreno celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates against Real Madrid on November 21, 2020© Reuters

As well as being in the Europa League quarters for the second year running, the Yellow Submarine are also up to sixth in the Spanish top flight, level with fifth-placed Real Betis.

Unai Emery's men have been impressive throughout their European campaign, winning nine and drawing one of their 10 matches - the only unbeaten side in the Europa League.

Dynamo Kiev did not put up much of a fight in the last round as they went down 4-0 on aggregate, making it six clean sheets in eight Europa League outings for the Spanish side.

The only previous meetings between Zagreb and Villarreal came during the group stages of the 2010-11 Europa League - Dinamo winning 2-0 at home before losing 3-0 away.

Dinamo Zagreb Europa League form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W

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

Villarreal Europa League form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Villarreal form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

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Team News

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

Bruno Petkovic played a key part in the win over Tottenham, but the forward is struggling with a shoulder injury and may be replaced in the side by Mario Gavranovic.

Hat-trick hero Orsic is fit to start, though, and will be aiming to build on a return of 12 goals in 26 appearances in major European competition for Zagreb since joining in 2018.

Petkovic aside, Zagreb are expected to go with the same lineup and formation to the one used in the second leg against Spurs.

As for Villarreal, Pervis Estupinan and Vicente Iborra are their only known injury concerns.

Juan Foyth, who has been filling in at right-back, will be well rested after serving a domestic suspension at the weekend.

A big call for Emery to make on Thursday night is in goal, where Geronimo Rulli had been preferred prior to Sergio Asenjo's recall in the last round.

Dinamo Zagreb possible starting lineup:
Livakovic; Ristovski, Lauritsen, Theophile-Catherine, Franjic; Majer, Ademi, Jakic; Ivanusec, Gavranovic, Orsic

Villarreal possible starting lineup:
Asenjo; Foyth, Albiol, Torres, Pedraza; Chukwueze, Parejo, Capoue, Trigueros; Alcacer, Moreno

SM words green background

We say: Dinamo Zagreb 0-1 Villarreal

Zagreb pulled off an incredible upset in the last round and have won eight games in a row on home soil in all competitions, four of those in Europe.

However, Villarreal have won nine and drawn one of their 10 European games this term and are experienced when it comes to this stage of the tournament, so we are backing them to take an advantage into the second leg.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting a double chance bet on a draw or an away win 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.Draw/Away:data

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