UEL Match Preview: Dinamo Zagreb vs Villarreal Predictions

Dinamo Zagreb vs Villarreal

Dinamo Zagreb vs Villarreal predictions and match preview for Thursday’s game in the UEFA Europa League. Read on for the team news, analysis and predicted lineups as the Yellow Submarine travel to Croatia.

  • DATE: Thursday 8th April 2021
  • KICK-OFF: 21:00 (CET)
  • VENUE: Stadion Maksimir, Zagreb
  • COMPETITION: UEFA Europa League Quarter Final, 1st Leg

Dinamo Zagreb vs Villarreal Preview

Dinamo Zagreb stadium
Maksmir Stadium via Suradnik13, CC BY-SA 4.0

The UEFA Europa League Quarter-Finals commence on Thursday and Villarreal will strongly fancy their chances of progressing into the last four. Unai Emery’s side are in Croatia to take on Dinamo Zagreb, having made very smooth progress in this competition to date.

Their Europa League campaign has produced nine wins and a draw from their ten matches. While they were somewhat fortunate to land a relatively weak group, they’ve faced two Champions League dropouts in the knockouts stages so far and won both legs of both ties, comfortably seeing off both RB Salzburg and Dynamo Kiev by 4-1 and 4-0 margins respectably.

That level of consistency has been in contrast to their league form at times. Villarreal still face a battle just to qualify for Europe again via LaLiga but they have suddenly found some real form with five straight victories in all competitions heading into this game. Gerard Moreno has been in stunning form in front of goal and he scored all three goals as Villarreal cruised to a win at fellow Europa League participants Granada at the weekend.

Unai Emery’s side can’t afford to take Dinamo Zagreb lightly though. The Croatian league leaders have also had a very impressive Europa League campaign to date, easing through in the group stage with four wins and two draws before winning both legs in their first knockout round tie against Krasnodar. Tottenham were next and despite a 2-0 loss in North London, Dinamo staged one of the great Europa League fightbacks, winning 3-0 in Zagreb to knock out the Premier League side.

That victory came courtesy of a hat-trick from Mislav Orsic and it’s clear that he’s the main dangerman who Villarreal will need to keep quiet. Dinamo will look to move the ball out to the left flank as much as possible you’d imagine and it could be a busy night for Juan Foyth, Villarreal’s likely right-back, although the visitors will certainly feel they can cause plenty of problems of their own.

Head to Head

  • The only previous meetings came in the group stage of the 2009/10 Europa League.
  • Dinamo won 2-0 in Zagreb but Villarreal won the reverse fixture 3-0 in Spain.

Team News

Forward Bruno Petkovic, who has scored 4 times in the competition, is likely to be missing through injury in a major blow for the home team.

Pervis Estupiñán and Vicente Iborra are sidelined for the visitors.

Predicted Dinamo Starting Lineup:

Livakovic – Franjic, Theophile-Catherine, Lauritsen, Ristovski – Jakic, Ademi, Majer – Orsic, Gavranovic, Ivanusec (4-3-3)

Predicted Villarreal Starting Lineup:

Rulli – Pedraza, Torres, Albiol, Foyth – Trigueros, Capoue, Parejo, Gomez – Gerard, Alcacer (4-4-2)

Dinamo Zagreb vs Villarreal Predictions

Score Prediction: Dinamo 1-2 Villarreal

While Dinamo did brilliantly to come back against Spurs, overall this still has to be seen as a good draw for Villarreal and it won’t be a major step up in quality on their previous two opponents. Overall, you have to fancy Unai Emery’s side to put in another strong European display and put one foot in the last four by getting the victory in Croatia.

UEFA Europa League Betting Tips (18+)

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About Mark Sochon 2069 Articles
Mark is a freelance writer based in Madrid. He has been writing about Spanish football since 2014 and regularly attends and covers matches across Spain. His work has also been published by various newspapers and websites including These Football Times, World Soccer and Guardian Sport. Available for freelance work: marksochon (at) hotmail.co.uk