Dinamo Zagreb and Fenerbahçe are looking for UEFA Europa League success after UEFA Champions League elimination.
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Dinamo Zagreb and Fenerbahçe both aim to get their European season back on track in the UEFA Europa League group stage after disappointment in the UEFA Champions League qualifying phase. Despite the clubs' continental pedigree, they have never previously crossed swords in a competitive match.
• This will be Fenerbahçe's first European encounter with a Croatian club.
• Dinamo's two ties with Turkish opposition came when the club was representing Yugoslavia, a victory over Beşiktaş in the 1988/89 UEFA Cup first round followed by defeat at the same stage of the same competition against Trabzonspor three years later.
• Dinamo made amends for a rare trophy-less 2016/17 campaign by winning the Croatian league and cup double in 2017/18 – their third in four seasons. They also appeared to be heading for a third UEFA Champions League group stage in four seasons when they eliminated Hapoel Beer Sheva and Astana, then drew 1-1 in the first leg of their play-off away to Young Boys, but a 1-2 defeat in Zagreb sent them into the UEFA Europa League instead.
• Dinamo will be looking to progress beyond the group stage of this competition for the first time in five attempts. Indeed, they have yet to qualify from a group stage in any competition and have never stretched their European involvement into the spring while representing Croatia.
• While the defeat by Young Boys ended a run of four European home games unbeaten, Dinamo's record in Zagreb for the UEFA Europa League group stage is W3 D2 L7.
• Fenerbahçe finished runners-up in the Turkish league and cup last season, with arch-rivals Galatasaray edging them out in the Süper Lig and unheralded Akhisar shocking them with a 3-2 cup final win. They opened their 2017/18 European campaign with a UEFA Champions League third qualifying round defeat by Benfica (0-1 away, 1-1 home), which sent them directly into the UEFA Europa League group stage.
• This is the Istanbul club's fifth appearance at this stage of the competition and they have qualified for the knockout phase on each of the previous four occasions, most recently in 2016/17 when they topped a group featuring eventual winners Manchester United. Their most successful campaign was in 2012/13, when they reached the semi-finals.
• Defeated in three of their last four European away fixtures, Fenerbahçe nevertheless have an exceptionally good record on the road in the UEFA Europa League group stage, with eight wins in 12 games and just one defeat – 1-4 at Manchester United two seasons ago.
Links and trivia
• Dinamo skipper Arijan Ademi and Fenerbahçe's teenage talent Elif Elmas are team-mates for FYR Macedonia.
• Dinamo are one of two domestic double-winning teams in this season's UEFA Europa League group stage, Celtic being the other.
• A former Croatian international midfielder, capped nine times between 2001 and 2004, Nenad Bjelica played for Osijek in his homeland, winning the Croatian Cup in 1999, but spent most of his career abroad – in Spain, Germany and Austria. He began coaching while still playing for FC Kärnten and had spells in Italy with Spezia and Poland with Lech Poznań before being appointed Dinamo Zagreb boss in May 2018 – just days before the club completed a league and cup double.
• A gifted left-footed midfield all-rounder, Phillip Cocu sandwiched a six-year sojourn at Barcelona with two spells at PSV Eindhoven, collecting five Eredivisie titles in the process. He was also a Dutch international for a decade, winning 101 caps, scoring ten goals and appearing in five major tournaments. His coaching career began as Bert van Marwijk's assistant with the Oranje before he struck out on his own at PSV, winning three league titles in four years. He joined Fenerbahçe in July 2018.