Dinamo Zagreb take on Bodø/Glimt who are aiming to reach the UEFA Champions League group stage for the first time.
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Having made a notable impression in UEFA club competition in 2021/22, Bodø/Glimt are now aiming to reach the UEFA Champions League group stage for the first time, although to do so they must overcome seasoned campaigners Dinamo Zagreb.
Both teams recovered from elimination in last season's UEFA Champions League qualifying rounds to enjoy lengthy European campaigns, Dinamo reaching the UEFA Europa League knockout play-offs while their Norwegian opponents played 20 matches before falling in the last eight of the UEFA Europa Conference League.
This is the sides' first meeting, and Bodø/Glimt's first game against Croatian opposition, while Dinamo are on a six-match unbeaten run against clubs from Norway.
Champions of Norway for the second season in a row in 2021 – finishing three points ahead of Molde – this is Bodø/Glimt's second UEFA Champions League campaign and the first to last beyond a single tie.
In 2021/22, the club were beaten home (2-3) and away (0-2) by Legia Warszawa in the first qualifying round to transfer over to the inaugural UEFA Europa Conference League.
That, however, was the spark for Bodø/Glimt's most memorable European campaign to date, as they came through three qualifying rounds to reach the group stage, where Kjetil Knutsen's side finished second in Group C on 12 points, one behind Roma who they memorably beat 6-1 in Norway on Matchday 3.
That set the stage for aggregate wins against Celtic in the knockout round play-offs (3-1 a, 2-0 h) and AZ Alkmaar in the round of 16 (2-1 h, 2-2 a aet) before eventual winners Roma proved too strong as the teams were reunited in the quarter-finals, Bodø/Glimt bowing out after a 4-0 second-leg loss in Italy followed a 2-1 home win.
This is the club's third successive season of UEFA competition – they had never previously managed consecutive campaigns. Their 2021/22 continental journey lasted 20 games, a new club record, surpassing the previous best of four matches on five occasions.
This is already Glimt's seventh European fixture this season, a campaign which started in the first qualifying round. They overcame KÍ of the Faroe Islands (3-0 h, 1-3 a), the now-departed Victor Boniface scoring all four of their goals, before overturning a 1-0 first-leg loss at Linfield with an 8-0 home win, the club's record European victory. Bodø/Glimt then eased past Žalgiris Vilnius in the third qualifying round (5-0 h, 1-1 a).
This is Bodø/Glimt's second play-off in UEFA club competition. They also beat Žalgiris at the same stage of last season's UEFA Europa Conference League (2-2 a, 1-0 h).
No Norwegian side has featured in the UEFA Champions League group stage since Rosenborg made the last of their 11 appearances in 2007/08; Molde (1999/2000) are the only other club from the country to feature.
Bodø/Glimt have won all of their last 12 European home games, scoring 39 goals and conceding just four.
Dinamo – who claimed their 23rd Croatian league title, and fifth in a row, in 2021/22 – are aiming to reach the UEFA Champions League group stage for the eighth time overall and the sixth in 12 seasons.
The Zagreb club's most recent appearance came in 2019/20 when, as on their previous seven forays into the competition proper, they were unable to progress into the knockout stages, finishing bottom of their section on five points.
Dinamo have suffered two subsequent qualifying eliminations, losing to Ferencváros in the 2020/21 third qualifying round (1-2 a) and, after coming through three qualifying rounds, Sheriff in last season's play-offs (0-3 a, 0-0 h).
The Croatian club subsequently moved into the UEFA Europa League, where they finished second in Group H behind West Ham on ten points before losing to Sevilla in the knockout play-offs (1-3 a, 1-0 h).
Dinamo have won three of their four European games this season, drawing 2-2 at home to Shkupi of North Macedonia in the second qualifying round first leg before a 1-0 away success, and subsequently beating Ludogorets (2-1 a, 4-2 h).
Last season's defeat by Sheriff made Dinamo's record at this stage of the UEFA Champions League W5 L3. One of the victories was under current coach Ante Čačić during his first spell at the club, in 2012/13 against Maribor (2-1 h, 1-0 a).
Dinamo have won four of their last six European away games, including both this season.
Dinamo's last UEFA Champions League group stage appearance was secured with an aggregate win against Norwegian opponents, beating Rosenborg in the 2019/20 play-offs (2-0 h, 1-1 a). That made the Zagreb club's overall record against Tippeligaen sides W2 D4 L1, the sole defeat coming in the first game, a 2-1 loss at Brann in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup group stage. Dinamo have yet to win on four visits to Norway (D3 L1).
Links and trivia
Bodø/Glimt midfielder Anders Konradsen played in both matches for Rosenborg against Dinamo in 2019/20.
Konradsen was a team-mate of Dinamo's Kévin Théophile-Catherine at French club Rennes between 2012 and 2013.
Bodø/Glimt defender Alfons Sampsted and Rasmus Lauritsen of Dinamo were both on the books of Swedish side Norrköping in 2019, although the former spent the season on loan at IF Sylvia and then Icelandic club Breidablik.