Wednesday 08 Dec
Updated Wednesday 08 Dec 22:48
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West Ham United v GNK Dinamo Zagreb - All You Need To Know

West Ham United v GNK Dinamo Zagreb - All You Need To Know

 

West Ham United round off their UEFA Europa League Group H campaign at London Stadium on Thursday evening, when David Moyes' team welcomes Croatian champions GNK Dinamo Zagreb.

The table-topping Hammers have already secured first place in Group H after collecting 13 points from their opening five ties and will complete an unbeaten group-stage if we avoid defeat against opponents we defeated 2-0 in our opening match in Zagreb in September.

Since then, West Ham have beaten Austrians Rapid Vienna home and away (both 2-0) and Belgians KRC Genk (3-0) at home, and drawn 2-2 with the latter away from east London.

This marks the third time Moyes has successfully guided a club through the UEFA Cup/Europa League group stage, having done so previously with Everton in 2007/08 and 2009/10.

Only French club Lyon (15) and and German side Bayer Leverkusen (14) have scored more goals in their five Europa League group-stage games than West Ham (eleven).

Dinamo Zagreb have scored eight goals themselves, bouncing back from that opening-night defeat to win in Genk (3-0) and at home to Rapid (3-1) and put themselves second in the group ahead of matchday six.

A draw at London Stadium should be enough to secure a place in the knockout play-off round against an opponent who finished third in their UEFA Champions League group. A win would make sure of it.

 

Ticket news 

Tickets are still available for Thursday's tie here and will be available to purchase on the day at London Stadium.

With additional COVID measures in place and a crowd in excess of 50,000 expected, supporters are advised to arrive as early as possible at London Stadium ahead of the 8pm kick-off.

 

London Stadium

 

Tickets are also available via the Ticket Exchange for our sold out Premier League home fixture with Norwich City on Saturday 18 December, and remain on General Sale for the visits of Southampton on Boxing Day and Leeds United on Sunday 16 January respectively.

Click here to watch West Ham United in action live at London Stadium now!

 

How can I follow the game?

Thursday's 8pm kick-off will be broadcast live in the UK by BT Sport ESPN (Sky Channel 434). Please check your local TV listings if you live outside the UK.

We will also be covering the game live with a blog and audio commentary on whufc.com and our Official App and across our social media channels, with goals, highlights and exclusive reaction to follow after the final whistle.

 

Team news

David Moyes has hinted that, with progression to the round of 16 secured, he may give opportunities to a number of the Club's young professionals, who have inspired West Ham United's U23s to the top of the Premier League 2 Division 1 table.

Moyes may select his matchday squad from his 25-man List A squad of senior players and the youngsters named on the List B - players born in the 2000s who have been on the Club's books for two or three years.

List B includes midfielder Daniel Chesters and forward Sonny Perkins, who debuted at home to Genk and away to Rapid Vienna respectively, and defenders Harrison Ashby (pictured), Jamal Baptiste, Aji Alese and Manny Longelo, who featured in the domestic knockout competitions last season.

Also named on List B are goalkeepers Krisztián Hegyi and Jacob Knightbridge, defenders Will Greenidge and Manny Longelo, midfielders Bernardo Rosa, Keenan Forson and Freddie Potts and forwards Amadou Diallo, Jayden Fevrier and Kamarai Swyer.

 

Harrison Ashby

 

Defenders Angelo Ogbonna (knee), Kurt Zouma (hamstring tendon) and Ben Johnson (hamstring) will definitely not be involved.

Dinamo Zagreb have a new caretaker head coach in Željko Kopić, who replaced Damir Krznar a week ago.

Kopić has a talented squad at his disposal containing a number of current Croatia internationals, including goalkeeper Dominik Livaković, attacking midfielder Luka Ivanušec and forwards Mislav Oršić and Bruno Petković.

However, Petković has not travelled to London for Thursday's game due to illness.

The club's most experienced player is captain Arijan Ademi, who has made over 300 appearances for the Croatian champions, and was part of North Macedonia's squad at UEFA Euro 2020 this summer.

 

The opposition – Dinamo Zagreb

Founded in 1911 as HŠK Građanski, reformed in 1945 as Dinamo Zagreb, renamed HAŠK Građanski in 1992, Croatia Zagreb a year later and Dinamo Zagreb again in 2000, tonight’s visitors to London Stadium have long been one of the (italics added) biggest and most-successful clubs in Southeast Europe.

In 1923, HŠK Građanski were crowned the first champions of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes – this became the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1930 – and repeated that success again in 1926, 1928, 1937 and 1940.

Following the Second World War, during which Yugoslavia was occupied by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, the socialist Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia was formed containing the republics of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia, and the Yugoslav First League restarted in 1945.

With strong competition from clubs like Partizan Belgrade, Red Star Belgrade and Vojvodina of Serbia, FK Sarajevo of Bosnia and fellow Croatian Hajduk Split, Dinamo Zagreb added four more First League titles, in 1948, 1954, 1958 and 1982.

Dinamo also added seven Yugoslav Cup triumphs over the same period, adding to the one lifted by HŠK Građanski in 1938.

Yugoslavia began to deteriorate following the death of long-term President Josip Broz Tito in 1980. A decade later, multi-party elections were held in Croatia, and the state declared independence in 1991.

The Croatian War of Independence followed and lasted for five years, during which Croatia was internationally recognised and organised football was introduced.

 

Luka Modric in action for Dinamo Zagreb in 2007

 

The inaugural Croatian First League season, 1991/92, saw Hajduk Split crowned champions, but Croatia and later Dinamo Zagreb have dominated the competition since then, winning the title 22 times and finishing outside the top three just twice.

In comparison, Hajduk have won six titles, while Dinamo have also won 150 First League matches more than their greatest rivals.

In their long, eventful and successful history, Dinamo have played well over 300 matches in European competition since 1958, split almost evenly between the European Cup/UEFA Champions League and UEFA Cup/Europa League.

During the Yugoslav era, the club lifted the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1967, beating Leeds United in the final, having previously reached the final in 1963.

The club is also famous for its youth academy, which has produced a long succession of some of the best footballers in Yugoslavian and Croatian history, including Luka Modrić (pictured, above), Zvonimir Boban, Branko Zebec, Ivica Horvat, Dario Šimić and Eduardo.

 

Dinamo Zagreb celebrate scoring against Genk last time out

 

The present-day Dinamo Zagreb won the Croatian domestic double and reached the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals last season, but have made a relatively slow start to the current campaign.

Former midfielder Damir Krznar, who was appointed earlier this year following spells as assistant and interim manager, departed after Dinamo were eliminated from the Croatian Cup by Rijeka at the quarter-final stage last week.

Željko Kopić has been appointed as the club’s caretaker head coach.

 

Previous meetings

West Ham United first faced opposition from what is modern-day Croatia in November 1936, when HŠK Građanski Zagreb of what was then Yugoslavia visited the Boleyn Ground for a friendly, with the Irons winning 1-0.

Eighty-five years on, HŠK Građanski Zagreb is now Dinamo Zagreb, who visit London Stadium on Thursday evening. Of course, the two clubs also met at the Stadion Maksimir on 16 September, when Michail Antonio and Declan Rice scored the goals in a 2-0 West Ham victory. 

Before this season, West Ham had never previously faced Dinamo Zagreb in a competitive first-team fixture, but they did turn out for Geoff Pike’s Testimonial in May 1988. Dinamo ran out 4-1 winners, with future Croatia great Zvonimir Boban starring at the Boleyn Ground.

The Irons also faced Dinamo’s U21s in the Premier League International Cup in November 2018, when Zagreb won 2-0 in Dagenham.

 

Match officials

Referee: Maurizio Mariani (Italy)
Assistant Referees: Stefano Alassio (Italy) & Giovanni Baccini (Italy)
Fourth Official: Daniele Chiffi (Italy)
VAR: Massimiliano Irrati (Italy)
Assistant VAR: Jérôme Brisard (France)

 

Referee Maurizio Mariani

 

Thursday's referee is the 39-year-old Italian Maurizio Mariani.

Born in Rome, Mariani has officiated in Serie A since January 2013 and been on the FIFA list of international officials since 2019.

He has refereed over 100 Serie A matches in his career, in addition to 13 Italian Cup ties.

In Europe, Mariani has officiated four UEFA Europa League ties - two last season and two this - including matches involving Bayer Leverkusen, Eintracht Frankfurt and Lyon.

At international level, his appointments included 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers between Poland and Albania and Wales and Belarus, both of which were played earlier this year, and two UEFA Nations League ties played in 2020.

Mariani has twice refereed English clubs in UEFA competition. On both occasions, the club was Tottenham Hotspur and on both occasions Spurs lost 1-0 - at Royal Antwerp in last season's UEFA Europa League group stage and at Paços de Ferreira in this season's UEFA Conference League play-off round.

 

Dinamo Zagreb General Sale