Anderlecht v Dinamo Zagreb facts

Anderlecht's campaign is in need of a boost as they take on Dinamo Zagreb, who impressed on matchday one.

Dinamo Zagreb celebrate on matchday one
Dinamo Zagreb celebrate on matchday one ©AFP/Getty Images

The record champions of Belgium and Croatia go head to head in Brussels as Anderlecht look to make up for an opening Group D defeat at Spartak Trnava against table-topping Dinamo Zagreb, who claimed an impressive 4-1 home win over Fenerbahçe on matchday one but are desperate to end a long run of away defeats in European group stage football.

Previous meetings
• The club's only previous encounters came in the inaugural UEFA Europa League season of 2009/10 and produced two away wins, Anderlecht triumphing 2-0 in Zagreb and Dinamo prevailing 1-0 in Brussels. The Belgian side topped the group and went on to reach the round of 16, whereas Dinamo could only finish third.

• The Zagreb side's only other visit to Belgium also brought a win, 2-0 at Club Brugge in the following season's UEFA Europa League group stage. The defeat by Dinamo remains Anderlecht's sole home loss against Croatian visitors, and the only goal they have conceded in four such fixtures.

Form guide
Anderlecht
• Third in Belgium last term behind Club Brugge and Standard Liège, Anderlecht's European reward was automatic qualification for the UEFA Europa League group stage.

Highlights: Spartak Trnava 1-0 Anderlecht
Highlights: Spartak Trnava 1-0 Anderlecht

• The Brussels club are competing at this juncture of the competition for the sixth time and have never failed to progress to the knockout phase, reaching the quarter-finals on their most recent participation, in 2016/17.

• Anderlecht have lost seven of their last eight European fixtures, failing to score in five of them. They lost all three home games in last season's UEFA Champions League, but in the UEFA Europa League group stage their record in Brussels is W9 D3 L3.

Dinamo
• 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.

Watch Dinamo's impressive matchday one display
Watch Dinamo's impressive matchday one display

• Dinamo are unbeaten in their last five European fixtures outside Croatia (W1 D4), but in group stage games across both the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League they are on a sorry run of 19 successive away defeats, their last positive result being that 2-0 win at Club Brugge eight years ago.

Links and trivia
• Anderlecht pair Antonio Milić (ex-Hajduk Split) and Ivan Santini (ex-Zadar) are current Croatian national team-mates of Dinamo goalkeeper Dominik Livaković and have both played against Dinamo in the Croatian top flight.

• Izet Hajrović, who scored twice in Dinamo's matchday one win against Fenerbahçe, has been playing with Anderlecht's Ognjen Vranješ for the Bosnia and Herzegovina national team since 2013.

The coaches
• After a successful three-year spell with Gent, during which he led the club to their first Belgian title, in 2014/15, and into the UEFA Champions League round of 16 the following season, Hein Vanhaezebrouck was appointed as Anderlecht boss in October 2017, succeeding René Weiler. He first established his coaching credentials during two spells in the dugout of home-town club Kortrijk, whom he had also represented during a modest playing career.

• 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.

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