Osijek is the team that is Dinamo’s biggest challenger in the title fight this season in 1. HNL League. The team led by the former Dinamo coach Nenad Bjelica is part of a large project where the goal is for this club to win the place in the Champions League in the foreseeable future, and all the necessary infrastructure for that is already being prepared.
They entered this season quite ambitiously, they had the misfortune to get Basel in the second qualifying round in Europe immediately, so they finished their performance in Europe League again early.
Osijek 1:2 Basel (Video)
After that, they turn to the domestic championship where they are currently in 2nd position, with the same number of points as Dinamo, but with a game more.
They started the beginning of the season without last year’s top scorer Mirko Marić, who moved to Monza for 4.5m euros, and Ante Majstorović, who went to China for 3.5m euros.
But coach Bjelica did not rest. Damjan Bohar from Zaglebie, Mierez from Alaves, Petar Brlek from Genoa, Igor Silva from Olympiakos and Merveil Ndockyt from Getafe were brought to the club. All relatively unknown names, but considering which clubs they came from, it can be said that these are serious players. The fact that Mierez and Bohar are the two top scorers this season speaks volumes about how successful the selection of players was.
On the other side is NK Lokomotiva, the team that played the dream season last year when they shined in the last round against Osijek , they won 2nd place and a place in the Champions League.
Osijek 1:2 Lokomotiva (Video)
It was this great success that led to the disintegration of this team, where goalkeeper Ivo Grbic went to Atletico, Uzuni to Ferencvaros and Marko Tolic and Kristijan Jakic to Dinamo.
Lokomotiva managed to make some money on these players as well as earn money from playing in Europe, but it ended quite ingloriously because they lost to Rapid (0:1) in the 3rd qualifying round of the Champions League and later in Europa League from Malmo (0:5).
Marko Gjira from Dinamo, Josip Pivarić from Dinamo Kiev and Kyriakos Papadopoulos , a former Schalke player, came as replacements for the players who left. However, the team made up of veterans (Jelavic, Budimir, Sammir) has not shown much so far and they are in 8th place, only 2 points above the last Istria.
In tomorrow’s match, it is certain that Osijek is the favorite and that they will go for all 3 points.
Osijek is weakened by the non-playing of defender Igor Silva, and in 3 preparatory matches they did not manage to beat anyone, so there is a slight nervousness among the fans.
On the other hand, Jerko Leko wants to successfully start his coaching episode in Lokomotiva, so he at least hopes that he will come out undefeated.
The weather conditions in Zagreb have been quite bad in recent days, so I’m not sure what the terrain will be like. I don’t expect the turf to be as it should be, which could certainly affect the quality of the match. I expect a patient game from the hosts, I think they would be satisfied with 0: 0. On the other hand, Osijek often won 1:0, I don’t even expect them to go head to head, so in this match I predict that there will be less than 3 goals. Good luck!