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Skënderbeu v Dinamo Zagreb background

Skënderbeu will be the first Albanian side to feature in a major UEFA club competition group stage, but as they welcome Dinamo the question is: 'Which one?'

Skënderbeu celebrate an Albanian league goal
Skënderbeu celebrate an Albanian league goal ©LSAPHOTO

Skënderbeu have already made history by reaching the UEFA Champions League play-offs and are guaranteed another Albanian first as they take on Croatian champions Dinamo.

Previous meetings
• The sides are meeting for the first time in European competition. It is also Skënderbeu's first encounter with Croatian opponents.

• Dinamo's only previous experience of Albanian opposition was a 10-2 aggregate triumph against KF Tirana in the 1996/97 UEFA Cup preliminary round. Dinamo's coach in that tie, Otto Barić, later managed the Albanian national team.

Form guide
• Dinamo last reached the UEFA Champions League group stage in 2012/13, but lost their most recent UEFA Champions League play-off to Austria Wien in 2013/14.

• Skënderbeu are through to their first play-off and are sure to make Albanian history, since they will become the first Albanian club to appear in a major UEFA club competition group stage regardless of the outcome against Dinamo.

• Skënderbeu are unbeaten in seven European home games (W6 D1).

• Dinamo are unbeaten in four UEFA Champions League qualifiers this season (W1 D3).

• Albania and Croatia have never met at senior international level.

• In 12 previous matches between the nations' clubs in UEFA competition, the Croatian side have recorded six wins to the Albanians' four with two fixtures drawn.

• Albanian teams are unbeaten in their last five meetings with Croatian counterparts (W4 D1).

Links and trivia
• Skënderbeu's Croatian defender Marko Radaš came through the Dinamo academy yet never made a professional appearance for the club.

• Several other Skënderbeu players have Croatian league experience: Sabien Lilaj (Lokomotiva Zagreb 2011–12), Arbër Abilaliaj (Inter Zaprešić 2010–12) and Bulgarian forward Ventsislav Hristov (Rijeka 2014–15).

• Lilaj played alongside Dinamo's Domagoj Antolić and Josip Pivarić at Lokomotiva.

• Dinamo boast Albanian talent in the form of 18-year-old midfielder Endri Çekiçi, an Albanian Under-21 international. His father, Ylli Çekiçi, is a former Skënderbeu player.

• Dinamo midfielder Arijan Ademi was born in Croatia and plays international football for FYR Macedonia but is an Albanian speaker.