Thursday, 17 December 2009


Dinamo Zagreb have gone out of the Europa Liga after victory for rivals Anderlecht against Ajax guarenteed the Belgian side a safe passage to the next phase. The 3-1 victory for Anderlecht in Amsterdam rendered Dinamo's match at home to Timisoara largely irrelvant. Dinamo finish in third place after recording 2 wins and 4 losses.

Dinamo played their final game, once again without their supporters and on a pitch which was frozen as the cold winter snap hit Croatia. Coach Krunoslav Jurcic kept with his usual eleven with Miroslav Slepicka and Mario Mandzukic up front and Sammir contreversially chosen ahead of Ivan Tomecak. Dinamo's board didn't send the most convincing message to the players prior to the match as they began their winter clearout by making of two of their most recent signings Leandro Cufre and Dmitrios Papadopoulos available for transfer. Pre-match talk also centred around Mario Mandzukic needing a performance to transfer abroad and Dejan Lovren also stating a desire to leave the Maksimir Stadium. Miroslav Slepicka also seems to be far from on speaking terms with members of Croatia's press after walking out of a recent interview. Dinamo's lack of unity seemed evident for much of the game as they ambled through the match despite dominating possession.

Despite half chances for Slepicka, Mandzukic and Sammir all were passed up, whilst Dejan Lovren fluffed his lines when presented with a opportunity from a Pedro Morales corner. Timisoara also had their moments and Gigel Bacur broke the deadlock in the second half on 67 minutes. The goal for the visitors finally caused Jurcic to act as Tomecak was thrown into the action along with Ilija Sivonjic and Andrej Kramaric. Sivonjic immediately made an impression as his shot was turned into his own net by Christian Scutari. However it took only four minutes for the Romanian side to jump back into the lead as Dorin Goga netted with 5 minutes left of normal time. Despite a lack chance for Mandzukic, 2-1 was the way it stayed on a disappointing night for HNL1's current league leaders.

Dinamo will spend another season without reaching the knockout phase of the competition and will be trying once again to make changes to their roster. Dinamo have agreed to allow Papadopoulos and Cufre to leave should they find a new employer during winter break. In the case of both this could be possible as are both ex internationals with Greece and Argentina respectively and their is already murmurings of a transfer for Cufre to Italy's Bologna. However any new suitor will need to attempt to match the high wage demands.

Cufre's and Papadopoulos's departure as well Miroslav Slepicka's disatisfication with criticism of his performances indicates to a internal conflict within Dinamo of whether to recruit foriegn players or bring through home grown talents. Whilst Ivan Tomecak, Andrej Kramaric, Filip Loncaric, Tomislav Barbaric and Milan Badelj have shown promise this season, Dinamo most important players has been Pedro Morales and Standard Liege's recent interest in Luis Ibanez was immediately rebuffed by Mamic. Dinamo have continued their policy of signing foriegn players in last three seasons following the success of Brazilian's Etto, Sammir and most notably Eduardo Da Silva who played important roles in Dinamo's domination in the Croatian league. However most recent purchases have proved far less successful leading Dinamo to think again.

As for new arrivals in the winter Dinamo definitely appear interested in signing Osijek defender Domogoj Vida, but are once again ruling out a move for Bosnia Herzegovina striker Ermin Zec due to Sibenik's high asking price. Whilst Dinamo's foreign investments have yet to bring full reward, they may also be cautious about signing recommended Balkan prospects as neither Emmanuel Villa or Dalibor Pandza have impressed whilst sent on loan to Lokomotiva Zagreb. Loko may however present Dinamo with a few answers to some of their problems.

As for depatures it appears Ante Tomic, Carlos and Argentinian midfielder Guillermo Suarez have no future at Dinamo. Suarez has struggled back in his homeland with Tigre and is likely to be first player to leave. Denis Glavina is also expected his loan deal from Ukrainian side Poltava to be terminated with immediate effect. Like Cufre, Glavina is another player who has passed through the Maksimir without the fans seeing what he can do. Recent comments coming out of Dinamo also seem to suggest that every player at Dinamo has insecure status exempting Barbaric, Loncaric, Tomecak and Kramaric with the club even considering proposals to cash in on Morales, Badelj, Lovren and Mandzukic.

At this moment Dinamo would be more than lucky to get top money for any of there prize assets as only Morales has peaked this season in form. Lovren and Badelj have also only shown flashes of their quality. Dinamo's most well known star Mario Mandzukic, meanwhile has lost his way in recent months and is unlikely to transfer unless Dinamo recieved a substantial offer. The player appears in need of a strong second half of the season in order to gain a transfer.

All in all it is likely to be a eventual winter at Dinamo which will be far from simplified by tonights events.