Europa League

Europa League: Where can Dinamo Zagreb hurt Tottenham Hotspur?

Jose Mourinho's Tottenham Hotspur side will have to be at their very best if they hope to overcome an unbeaten Dinamo Zagreb side in the Europa League

 
9:35am on Thursday 11th March 2021
By
Stefan Bienkowski

Tottenham Hotspur will have to get the better of Croatian giants Dinamo Zagreb if they have any hope of reaching the quarter-finals of the Europa League.

The draw for the last 16 saw Jose Mourinho’s side avoid most of the heavy hitters left in the European competition but there’s no doubt that Spurs will have to be at their best to ensure they can get by Dinamo.

So just how good are Zoran Mamic’s side and where can they hurt this Tottenham team when they meet for the first time on Thursday?

How good have Zagreb been in the Europa League?

After getting knocked out of the Champions League final qualification round by Hungarian side Ferencvaros, Zagreb then overcame Flora Tallinn to qualify for the Europa League Group Stages. There, they were drawn into Group K against Feyenoord, CSKA Moscow and Wolfsberger AC.

Tottenham fans will undoubtedly recognise the last team on that list, having beaten them in the previous round. And it’s worth noting that in a particularly tough group the Croatian side went unbeaten throughout the entire round and picked up four wins from six before beating Russian side Krasnodar home and away in the last round.

In those eight games, Mamic’s side made themselves exceptionally hard to beat, with six clean sheets in eight games. This team will not be an easy opponent for Tottenham and will demand the very best from Mourinho’s side.

Who is their danger man?

With 16 goals in nine games in the tournament to date Zagreb are by no means shy in front of goal and when we look at their goal scoring stats it suggests Mamic’s team tend to share the responsibility of finding the back of the net.

The club’s main striker, Bruno Petkovic, leads the way with four goals in seven appearances, including one penalty. That translates to a very impressive 0.79 goals for every 90 minutes of Europa League football this season.

Elsewhere in the squad, Dinamo have goals in midfield in the form of central midfielder Arijan Ademi (two in nine appearances), winger Mislav Orsic (two in nine appearances) and attacking midfielder Lovro Majer (two in nine appearances). Suber sub striker Iyayi Atiemwen has also bagged two goals in just 62 minutes of tournament football.

Feb 26, 2021
  Name AgePositionAVG Rating
1Lovro Majer23AM, M (C)427.3
2Arijan Ademi29DM, M (C)327.1
3Bruno Petković26S (C)147.1
4Mislav Oršić28AM, W (L)226.8

Who pulls the strings?

In terms of who actually breaks opposing teams down and pulls the strings for Dinamo, it seems as though the side rely on the midfield duo of Ademi and Majer. Between them both players have provided seven assists in the competition this season, along with a further seven big chances.

Furthermore, aside from goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic both midfielders have been Mamic’s top performers in the Europa League this season with Majer averaging a 7.3 FC Rating per game and Ademi averaging 7.1.

Indeed, if Mourinho’s side want to stop the creation of goals at the source then the Portuguese manager may need to task his own midfield with ensuring these two players don’t get on the ball with enough time to pick out passes over the course of both legs.

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