NK Dinamo Zagreb and NK Varteks meet in Zagreb in the first leg of the Croatia Cup final tonight.
NK Dinamo Zagreb and NK Varteks come head to head in Zagreb in the first leg of the Croatia Cup final tonight, both searching for lost form.
Varteks, who are hoping to win the first trophy in the club's history, have lost their last two matches in the Croatian Premier League and Dinamo, who are slight favourites having had more cup final experience, have lost their last three.
Fighting on two fronts
The winners of the final earn a UEFA Cup qualifying place for next season and ironically both teams are fighting for the same prize in the league. Varteks are in the all-important third place, which would see them competing in Europe regardless of the cup result, but Dinamo are hot on their heels, just a solitary point behind with two games remaining.
‘We have a fine chance’
"Winning the cup will make this the best season ever for us," Zoran Kastel, the Varteks defender said. "We are aware that the cup is Dinamo's final opportunity to improve their season but I believe we have a fine chance." His coach, Branko Janzek, agreed: "Both clubs want the trophy but the second leg is to be played at Varazdin, that should be to our advantage," he said.
"Yes, we lost to [NK] Zagreb [2-1 at the weekend in the capital derby] and we have not produced much in the way of results lately but this has not shaken our spirit," Dario Zahor, the Dinamo attacker, said. "We will play for the trophy and I have no doubt we will win it."
Varteks have the biggest injury concern as they are missing their key striker, Sasa Bjelanovic, whereas Dinamo have virtually a full squad to select from as they look to take home advantage.