Stadion Maksimir is the venue as Dinamo Zagreb and Chelsea go head-to-head in the opening Champions League Group E fixture.
Croatian champions Zagreb last featured in the Champions League group stages in 2019/20, with this season’s qualification marking their eighth appearance at this stage of the competition.
However, if the Citizens want to make it to the knock-out phase for the first time in the club’s history, a positive result against Chelsea is needed to lay the foundation to progress from this tricky section.
Ante Cacic’s men may have won two of their three home matches in qualifying (D1), but playing against English opponents has often been a formidable task for Zagreb.
Having won just four of their last 19 European clashes against Premier League clubs (D3, L12), the Croatian heavyweights will be out to beat the odds.
That could prove easier said than done, even though Chelsea have blown hot and cold early in the season after undergoing massive personnel changes in the summer.
Going into this encounter, the Blues came from behind to beat cross-town Premier League rivals West Ham United 2-1, bolstering their spirits following a patchy three-game league form (W1, D1, L2).
Manager Thomas Tuchel may welcome his side’s foray into European action following a rocky start to the season, with Chelsea heading into proceedings as pre-match favourites.
Cacic’s men will take the field in high spirits, regardless of their underdog status, having won their last four competitive outings despite failing to keep a clean sheet on each occasion.
There’s a piece of unwanted history Zagreb would like to overcome, after picking up just one win from their 42 matches in Champions League proper (D7, L30).
Mislav Orsic will be under the spotlight as he leads Zagerb’s scoring board in major European competitions with 17 goals, including his famous strikes against Tottenham Hotspur in the 2020/21 Europa League.
Despite their quarter-final exit last season, the 2021/22 Champions League winners only lost twice in ten games in the competition in 2021/22 (W7, D1, L2).
Heavily fancied to make it out of the group phase for the 18th time in their 19th appearance at this stage of the competition, Chelsea will be keen to shine in their first Champions League meeting with Croatian opposition.
There is plenty of reason for enthusiasm in Tuchel’s corner, as his men have only lost one of their last 17 matches in the Champions League group stages (W11, D5).
Dinamo Zagreb vs Chelsea Potential Line-ups
Dinamo Zagreb (4-4-2): Dominik Livakovic; Stefan Ristovski, Bosko Sutalo, Peric, Robert Ljubicic; Dario Spikic, Arijan Ademi, Luka Ivanusec, Mislav Orsic; Bruno Petkovic, Josip Drmic.
Chelsea (3-4-2-1): Edouard Mendy; Wesley Fofana, Thiago Silva, Kalidou Koulibaly; Reece James, Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic, Ben Chilwell; Mason Mount, Raheem Sterling; Kai Havertz.
How to Watch?
Zagreb vs Chelsea, alongside all other Champions League matches this season, is available to watch online via Champions League live streams.
Dinamo Zagreb vs Chelsea Prediction
Given an intimidating atmosphere at the Stadion Maksimir, we wouldn’t put it past Zagreb to score, but Chelsea should take home a routine victory.
It may not be a straightforward task for Tuchel’s side, yet a narrow win should do the trick for the Premier League powerhouse.
Dinamo Zagreb 1-2 Chelsea
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