UEFA Europa League - Match Prediction: Dinamo Zagreb VS Villarreal

Posted Thu, 08 Apr 2021 09:00:36 GMT        

Match Time:4/9/2021 03:00 Friday  (GMT+8)

UEFA Europa League --  Dinamo Zagreb   VS   Villarreal

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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

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.

 

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: WWWWLW

Dinamo Zagreb form (all competitions): WLWWWD

 

Villarreal Europa League form: WWWWWW

Villarreal form (all competitions): LWWWWW

 

Team News

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

 

Dinamo Zagreb VS Villarreal

Dinamo Zagreb 0-1 Villarreal

UEFA Europa League - Match Prediction: Dinamo Zagreb VS Villarreal