MX23RW : Tuesday, September 21 11:07:03| >> :600:2336397:2336397:
Jul 27, 2021 at 5pm UK at Neo GSP
Dinamo ZagrebDinamo Zagreb

Gomez (17')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Menalo (79')
Theophile-Catherine (53'), Menalo (71'), Petkovic (85')

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

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

Croatian champions Dinamo Zagreb look to finish the job on Tuesday, as they visit Cypriot counterparts Omonia in the second leg of their Champions League second qualifying round tie.

Having gained a crucial two-goal advantage at Stadion Maksimir last week, Damir Krznar's side are now just 90 minutes away from meeting either Legia Warsaw or Flora Tallinn in the next round.

Match preview

General view of GNK Dinamo Zagreb fans during the match against Manchester City on October 1, 2019© Reuters

After an uninspiring first half performance to start their second step on the ladder to Champions League qualification last Tuesday, Dinamo Zagreb finally took the lead over Nicosia's Omonia in the 65th minute.

Midfielder Lovre Majer cut inside from the flank to fire a left-footed effort into the back of the visitors' net, before Dinamo then doubled their advantage in the 81st minute, when Kristijan Jakic headed home from Majer's corner.

A regular participant in UEFA competitions, Dinamo made it all the way to the Europa League quarter-finals last season; finally converting domestic dominance into tangible European progress.

That rousing adventure to the final eight of the continent's second-tier tournament - when Damir Krznar's men took down Tottenham Hotspur in the last 16, following an unbeaten group-stage campaign - has undoubtedly whetted the appetite for a return to Europe's top table this term.

Croatian title winners for four consecutive years, Dinamo started their current continental campaign at the first stage of the process, with a comfortable aggregate victory over Iceland's Valur; winning 2-0 in Reykjavik after a 3-2 victory at home.

However, the 22-times national champions started the latest defence of their crown with a shock 2-0 loss at Slaven Belupo earlier this month, despite completely bossing both possession and territory. Having fired in 21 shots on goal during that game - though only two actually ended up on target - the Modri were even more dominant last Friday, as they bounced back to beat promoted Hrvatski Dragovoljac 4-0, giving up only 22% of the ball.

Omonia Nicosia manager Henning Berg pictured on November 5, 2020© Reuters

By contrast with opponents who have already got their league and European campaigns underway, Omonia secured direct entry into this round of qualifying through UEFA's Champions' Path, and last week's away defeat was only their second competitive fixture this summer.

The Nicosia-based side lifted the Cypriot Super Cup a fortnight ago - beating Anorthosis on penalties following a 1-1 draw - and were also unbeaten in three pre-season friendlies against Apollon Limassol, Wisla Plock and Lukas Podolski's Gornik Zabrze, but came into the game short of sharpness.

Though the club are accustomed to success domestically, as 21-time winners of the Cypriot championship, Omonia had not lifted the title for a decade before current coach Henning Berg led them back to the summit in 2020. They then defended their crown last term, finishing five points clear of Apollon.

They finished bottom of their Europa League group last year, however, and are already in danger of slipping out of the Champions League following last week's result in sun-soaked Zagreb.

Having held out for over an hour, Berg will certainly have been frustrated to concede twice in the final third of the game, so now has it all to do if his team are to make it through to the third round and subsequent playoff draw.

Omonia Champions League form:
  • L

Omonia form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • L

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

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

Team News

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

Last week's first leg victory came at a cost for Dinamo Zagreb, as both captain Arijan Ademi and Croatia winger Luka Ivanusec were forced off with injuries. Both players' participation is in some doubt ahead of the return, and Ademi in particular is struggling to overcome a thigh problem, so Josip Misic could be promoted from the bench.

Much-admired forward Mislav Orsic is expected to team up with Bruno Petkovic again up front, with Ivanusec being the final component of Dinamo's attacking triumvirate if passed fit.

While the visitors were able to build further confidence and momentum with a league win at the weekend, Omonia have had a full week to rest and recuperate.

Head coach Henning Berg - who brought in American veteran Mix Diskerud on a free transfer this summer, giving him a first start in Zagreb - may decide to shuffle his pack, with at least two goals needed to salvage the tie.

Slovakian pair Michal Duris and Tomas Hubocan were both on national duty last month, but returned to the team for Omonia's recent Super Cup success and started again in the first leg. Adam Lang, meanwhile, represented Hungary at the Euros, and will team up with Hubocan at the heart of the home side's defence. Duris is set to be paired with Serbian target man Marko Scepovic in attack.

Incidentally, left-winger Iyayi Atiemwen recently joined the club on a season-long loan from Dinamo, but is not expected to feature on Tuesday.

Omonia possible starting lineup:
Fabiano; Abdullahi, Lang, Hubocan, Lecjaks; Diskerud, Gomez, Kousoulos; Papoulis, Scepovic, Duris

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

SM words green background

We say: Omonia 1-2 Dinamo Zagreb (1-4 on aggregate)

Henning Berg's back-to-back Cypriot champions may have been on a high coming into this Champions League campaign, but his experienced side let the game get away from them at the Maksimir and - chasing goals to catch up - could do so again this week.

Dinamo, meanwhile, have benefited from several competitive outings to prepare them for this Tuesday's challenge, so are likely to capitalise through their deadly attacking combinations, as they inch closer to the hallowed ground of the group stages.

Top tip

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