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Malmö hoping for first group stage appearance

Published: Monday 8 August 2011, 21.45CET
Malmö FF are competing in Europe for the first time since 2005/06 while NK Dinamo Zagreb are hoping to emulate their group stage appearance of 12 years ago.
Malmö hoping for first group stage appearance
Malmö coach Rickard Norling is hoping to guide his side to their first grou- stage appearance ©Getty Images
Published: Monday 8 August 2011, 21.45CET

Malmö hoping for first group stage appearance

Malmö FF are competing in Europe for the first time since 2005/06 while NK Dinamo Zagreb are hoping to emulate their group stage appearance of 12 years ago.

It is 12 years since NK Dinamo Zagreb last graced the UEFA Champions League group stage but they will hope to put that right against a Malmö FF side competing in Europe for the first time since 2005/06.

Previous meetings
• The teams are meeting for the first time in UEFA competition.

• Dinamo's only previous experience of Swedish opposition came in the first round of the 2004/05 UEFA Cup, where they eliminated IF Elfsborg, winning 2-0 at home and drawing 0-0 away.

• Malmö came up against Dinamo's arch-rivals HNK Hajduk Split in their only past matches against Croatian opposition, bowing out to them in the 1997/98 and 1998/99 UEFA Cup second qualifying rounds. They lost three of those individual games – including both their home fixtures – and drew the other.

Match background
• Unbeaten in four European games this season (three wins and a draw), Krunoslav Jurčić's Dinamo have lost only one of their last eight continental fixtures at the Maksimir Stadium, going down 1-0 to PAOK FC in last season's UEFA Europa League group stage.

• Malmö have lost just one of their last five European away games, 3-0 at FC Thun in the 2005/06 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round.

• Malmö have won only one of their last four European games at home, beating HB Tórshavn 2-0 in this season's second qualifying round.

• Dinamo have won three and lost only two of their last seven European fixtures on the road, at Villarreal CF and PAOK FC in last season's UEFA Europa League group stage.

• Twelve years after last gracing the UEFA Champions League group stage, Dinamo have their sights set on a return to Europe's elite following aggregate victories against Neftçi PFK (3-0) and HJK Helsinki (3-1).

• Dinamo participated in the 1998/99 group stage and while they finished second behind Olympiacos FC, their record was not good enough to reach the quarter-finals as one of the two best runners-up.

• The following season Dinamo finished bottom of a first group stage pool which included Manchester United FC, Olympique de Marseille and SK Sturm Graz.

• Since their last group stage appearance, the Croatian club have fallen at the last on five occasions, losing third qualifying round ties to AC Milan in 2000/01, FC Dynamo Kyiv (2003/04), Arsenal FC (2006/07), SV Werder Bremen (2007/08) and FC Shakhtar Donetsk (2008/09).

• In 2010/11, Dinamo failed to make it out of the UEFA Europa League group stage.

• Malmö have never played in the group stage of a UEFA competition but reached the 1978/79 European Champion Clubs' Cup final under Bob Houghton, losing 1-0 to Nottingham Forest FC in Munich.

• This is only their second appearance in qualifying since the advent of the UEFA Champions League. They beat Maccabi Haifa FC (agg: 5-4) to reach the final hurdle in 2005/06, but lost 4-0 on aggregate to Switzerland's FC Thun.

• They have come through two rounds to reach the play-offs this season, beating HB Tórshavn (agg: 3-1) and, rather more impressively, Scottish champions Rangers FC (agg: 2-1).

Team ties
• Dinamo were linked with Malmö defender Ricardinho before the start of the season, but the deal was never completed.

• Dinamo's Swedish defender Walid Atta played under Malmö coach Rikard Norling at AIK Solna, and was a team-mate of goalkeeper Johan Dahlin in the Sweden Under-21 side.

• Malmö striker-turned-footballing superstar Zlatan Ibrahimović has a cult following in Croatia by virtue of his Croatian mother, Jurka Gravić.

Last updated: 13/08/11 13.06CET

Related information

Team profiles

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2012/matches/round=2000262/match=2007551/prematch/background/index.html#malmo+hoping+first+group+stage+appearance

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