Atalanta's first UEFA Champions League match takes them to Croatia to take on Dinamo Zagreb, who are making their seventh group appearance.
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Atalanta's first ever UEFA Champions League match takes them to Croatia to face a Dinamo Zagreb team who are making their seventh group appearance.
• Atalanta are the only club to be making their group stage debut in 2019/20; Dinamo's six previous campaigns have all ended at this stage, most recently in 2016/17.
• The sides' only previous fixtures came in the 1990/91 UEFA Cup first round, a tie Atalanta won on away goals. After a goalless first leg in Bergamo, Zvonimir Boban gave Dinamo a 54th-minute lead in Zagreb, but an Evair penalty equaliser five minutes later ultimately took Atalanta through.
• Dinamo claimed their 13th Croatian league title in 14 seasons in 2018/19 – and 20th in all – but their UEFA Champions League campaign came to an early end with a play-off defeat against Young Boys. Moving into the UEFA Europa League, the Zagreb club finished first in their section before getting the better of Viktoria Plzeň in the round of 32, then bowing out after extra time against Benfica in the last 16 (1-0 h, 0-3 a).
• Nenad Bjelica's side started this season's UEFA Champions League in the second qualifying round, easing past Georgia's Saburtalo 5-0 on aggregate (2-0 a, 3-0 h) before a 5-1 victory over two games against Ferencváros of Hungary (1-1 h, 4-0 a). They then overcame Rosenborg in the play-offs, winning 2-0 at home before a 1-1 draw in Norway.
• Dinamo are unbeaten in eight home European fixtures (W6 D2). A second-leg loss to Young Boys in last season's UEFA Champions League play-offs (1-2) is their only defeat in the last 13 such matches (W9 D3).
• This is Dinamo's seventh UEFA Champions League group campaign overall, and fifth in nine seasons. They have failed to qualify from the group stage in all six previous attempts. In fact, 2018/19 marked the first time in 14 UEFA club competition group stage campaigns – including eight in the UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League – that the Croatian club had made it through to the next phase.
• Dinamo's record in the UEFA Champions League group stage is W4 D5 L27; they suffered six defeats in their most recent participation, in 2016/17. They have lost their last 11 matches, and won only one of the last 27 (D2 L24) – a 2-1 defeat of Arsenal in Zagreb in September 2015 that ended a 16-year wait for a victory in the competition proper.
• Dinamo have lost their last three matches against Italian clubs, most recently home (0-4) and away (0-2) defeats by Juventus in the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League group stage. Their three victories against Italian sides have come in Zagreb; their overall record reads W3 D4 L12.
• This is Atalanta's 36th European match, at the start of their seventh campaign in continental competition. They reached the European Cup Winners' Cup semi-finals in 1987/88 and the UEFA Cup quarter-finals three years later.
• Third in Serie A in 2018/19, their highest ever finish, and Coppa Italia runners-up, this is Atalanta's third successive European campaign. They came through the UEFA Europa League group stage in 2017/18, losing to Borussia Dortmund in the round of 32 (2-3 a, 1-1 h), and were beaten 4-3 on penalties by København in the play-offs of the same competition in 2018/19 after the tie had finished goalless; Atalanta had earlier eliminated Sarajevo (10-2 aggregate) and Hapoel Haifa (6-1).
• Atalanta lost five of their first six away European matches (D1) but have suffered only two defeats in the next 11 (W4 D5) and only one in the last seven (W3 D3), that 2018 loss at Dortmund.
• Those meetings with Dinamo in autumn 1990 are Atalanta's only previous fixtures against a Croatian side.
• Atalanta are the only team to be making their group stage debut in 2019/20 – they are the tenth Italian club to feature and the 141st overall.
Links and trivia
• Dinamo Zagreb coach Nenad Bjelica was in charge of Spezia from July 2014 to November 2015.
• Atalanta's Croatian midfielder Mario Pašalić started his career with Hajduk Split, scoring twice against Dinamo on 14 September 2013 aged 18. He scored 11 goals in 32 league appearances for Hajduk over two seasons.
• Have played in Italy:
Bruno Petković (Catania 2013–16, Varese 2014 (loan), Reggiana 2015 (loan), Entella 2015 (loan), Trapani 2016, Bologna 2017, Verona 2018 (loan))
Mislav Oršić (Spezia 2013/14)
Mario Šitum (Spezia 2014–16)
• International team-mates:
François Moubandje, Mario Gavranović & Remo Freuler (Switzerland)
Petar Stojanović & Josip Iličić (Slovenia)
• Have played together:
Mario Gavranović & Berat Djimsiti (Zürich 2012–16)
Izet Hajrović & Remo Freuler (Grasshoppers 2010–11)
• Summer transfers
In: Luka Ivanušec (Lokomotiva Zagreb), Ivo Pinto (Norwich), François Moubandje (Toulouse)
Out: Ivan Šunjić (Birmingham), Amir Rrahmani (Hellas Verona), Luka Menalo (Olimpija Ljubljana, loan), Jan Lecjaks (Omonia, loan), Adrian Šemper (Chievo, loan)
• Dinamo kicked off the new season with a 1-0 win against Rijeka in the Croatian Super Cup on 13 July.
• The Zagreb club won their first six matches of 2019/20 in all competitions, and were unbeaten in their first 12 (W9 D3) before losing 1-0 at Hajduk Split on 31 August, a game they finished with only nine men. They were 1-0 winners at home to Istra on Friday.
• Bruno Petković scored Croatia's third goal in a 4-0 victory against Slovakia in Trnava on 6 September. Mislav Oršić made his international debut as a substitute in the 1-1 draw away to Azerbaijan three days later, Dominik Livaković keeping goal in both those UEFA EURO 2020 qualifiers.
• Amer Gojak scored twice for Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 5-0 EURO qualifing victory against Liechtenstein on 5 September and was also on target in a 4-2 loss in Armenia three days later.
• Arijan Ademi's equaliser earned North Macedonia a 1-1 draw against Israel on 5 September.
• Lovro Majer and Luka Ivanušec both scored as Croatia's Under-21 team beat the United Arab Emirates 3-0 in a friendly; on 10 September, Nikola Moro set up Sandro Kulenović to score in a UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying defeat by Scotland (1-2).
• Mario Gavranović scored Switzerland's final goal in their 4-0 win against Gibraltar on 8 September.
• Spain captain Dani Olmo scored the only goal as Spain's Under-21 team won in Kazakhstan on 6 September and got both in their 2-0 victory against Montenegro four days later.
• During the recent international break, Dinamo's squad played a friendly match against Radnik Križevci to mark the club's 110th anniversary, winning 7-0 with Izet Hajrović scoring three goals.
• Summer transfers
In: Luis Muriel (Sevilla), Ruslan Malinovskyi (Genk), Guilherme Arana (Sevilla, loan), Simon Kjær (Sevilla, loan)
Out: Etrit Berisha (SPAL, loan), Federico Mattiello (Cagliari, loan), Gianluca Mancini (Roma), Andreas Cornelius (Parma, loan), Dejan Kulusevski (Parma, loan), Luca Vido (Crotone, loan), Nicolas Haas (Frosinone, loan), Arkadiusz Reca (SPAL, loan))
• Atalanta's first two games of the season both ended 3-2, a win at SPAL on 25 August and a home defeat against Torino on 1 September. They were 2-1 winners at Genoa on Sunday.
• New signing Luis Muriel scored twice on his Atalanta debut at SPAL, while Duván Zapata got both goals in the defeat by Torino; both players scored at Genoa, Zapata getting the winner five minutes into added time.
• Atalanta signed Martin Škrtel on 9 August, but his contract was cancelled by mutual consent three weeks later.
• Timothy Castagne has been out since undergoing meniscus surgery in August; he was an unused substitute on Sunday.
• Muriel scored twice in Colombia's 2-2 draw against Brazil on 7 September, the second goal assisted by Zapata, with Ruslan Malinovskyi finding the net in Ukraine's 3-0 win against Lithuania the same day.
• On 9 September Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini was made an honorary citizen of Bergamo.