NK Dinamo Zagreb can beat Werder Bremen to the UEFA Champions League group stage - so says experienced striker Tomislav Šokota after the second qualifying round defeat of NK Domžale last night.
Šokota, who moved back to his first club this summer from FC Porto, was among the scorers as Dinamo beat their Slovenian opponents 3-1 in Zagreb to complete a 5-2 aggregate success. Next week they will be in Germany for the first leg of their tie with Bremen and Šokota, who represented Dinamo in the 1998/99 and 1999/00 group stages, is confident the Croatian champions can end their eight-year wait to return to the competition proper. "We all think now that we can defeat Werder and reach the Champions League," Šokota said. "Although we don't have much time until the match against Werder, not one of us will be feeling tired. In these matches no one can or should be tired and we really believe we can defeat them."
Coach Branko Ivanković, meanwhile, thinks getting the banana skin of Domžale out of the way will increase Dinamo confidence ahead of two legs against a club who have featured in the group stage for the last three seasons. "I expected a tough match, I knew Domžale would try to surprise us," Ivanković said. "The pressure was on my players but they knew how to play. Bremen are a powerful team, especially strong at free-kicks and corners, and our aim is to do something good against them. This victory against Domžale will reduce the pressure on my players and I hope everything will be up for grabs against Bremen."
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