Anderlecht looking to break Croatian duck
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
RSC Anderlecht are aiming to end a winless run on Croatian soil, while NK Dinamo Zagreb's coach and two senior players will hope to put their knowledge of the Belgian visitors to good use.
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If RSC Anderlecht are aiming to end a winless run in Croatia on Matchday 1, NK Dinamo Zagreb's coach and two senior players will be hoping to put their knowledge of the Belgian visitors to good use.
• The two clubs have never met before, but Dinamo have no reason to fear Belgian opposition, having thrashed KSK Beveren 6-1 in the 2004/05 UEFA Cup group stage. Anderlecht, meanwhile, have played four games against Dinamo's compatriot clubs, losing both of their previous ties in Croatia, at HNK Hajduk Split and NK Osijek.
• Dinamo appeared in the UEFA Cup group stage on three occasions, but never qualified for the round of 32. Their record in 12 group stage games reads W2 D3 L7.
• Anderlecht battled through to the last 16 following their only UEFA Cup group stage appearance in the 2007/08 season.
• Dinamo have been unpredictable at home in Europe in recent years. Their last ten games at the Maksimir Stadium have left them with the record W4 D2 L4.
• Anderlecht kick off in Zagreb on the back of three straight European defeats – a 3-1 reverse at Sivasspor and 5-1 and 3-1 losses against Olympique Lyonnais in this season's UEFA Champions League qualifiers.
• The Belgian side have won only one of their last seven European away games, triumphing 2-1 at FC Bayern München in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup round of 16.
• Anderlecht are five goals shy of their 500th in UEFA club competition.
• Dinamo coach Krunoslav Jurčić played in Belgium with Beveren in the 1995/96 season, but the midfielder moved on after the club were relegated at the end of the campaign.
• Jurčić also made the last of his 21 appearances for Croatia in Belgium, playing all 90 minutes of a 0-0 draw in September 2000.
• Croatians Ivica Mornar, Josip Weber and Luka Peruzović all enjoyed successful spells at Anderlecht, while the club also had a Croatian coach, Tomislav Ivić, from 1980-83. Ivić later led Dinamo Zagreb in the 1986/87 season.
• Anderlecht boss Ariël Jacobs has no experience of Croatian opposition, but his assistant Besnik Hasi should be able to compensate for that. The Kosovan-born former Albanian international played for Dinamo's neighbours NK Zagreb and nearby NK Samobor before moving to Belgium to join KRC Genk in 1994.
• Dinamo goalkeeper Tomislav Butina played for Anderlecht's Eerste Klasse rivals Club Brugge KV from 2003-06, conceding 22 goals in 33 games as his side took the 2004/05 title.
• Dinamo midfielder Robert Kovač played for Bayern in a 1-1 UEFA Champions League draw at Anderlecht in September 2003.
• Anderlecht will be at home against AFC Ajax on Matchday 2, while Dinamo face a trip to FC Timişoara on the same night, 1 October.