Dinamo Zagreb vs Sparta PragueUEFA Europa League, KO: 19:00 Aug 24, 2023, Stadion Maksimir
Dinamo Zagreb host Sparta Prague in the first leg of their Europa League playoff tie. Both teams dropped down from the Champions League after third round defeats and as they appear evenly matched at the moment, a closely fought encounter is predicted.
Dinamo Zagreb fell to the Europa League after suffering a 3-2 aggregate defeat to AEK Athens in the Champions League third qualifying round. Following a 2-1 defeat in the first meeting at home, they raced to a two-goal lead in the second leg in Greece before conceding two late goals for a 2-2 draw.
While manager Sergej Jakirovic will be disappointed with the late defensive capitulation, that result consistent with Dinamo Zagreb’s recent showings. They are winless in their last three matches, playing out two draws in that run.
There has also been little home comfort for Dinamo Zagreb in recent weeks as they have claimed just two wins from their last five matches at Stadion Maksimir. Their previous home fixture was the 2-1 defeat to AEK Athens in the Champions League third qualifying round.
Sparta Prague also fell from the Champions League third qualifying round after losing on penalties to FC Copenhagen. They played out a 0-0 scoreline in the first leg at home and battled to a thrilling 3-3 draw in the second meeting before losing in the shootout.
Things have looked erratic for Sparta Prague in recent weeks having claimed just four wins in their 12 matches across all competitions. There have been quite a few draws in that run, including a 1-1 scoreline at Teplice in a Czech Liga fixture last weekend.
One positive for Sparta Prague is that they have shown some quality on their recent travels having gone unbeaten in their last 17 away matches, a run stretching back to January. However, the draws have begun to creep in lately as Brian Priske’s men have been held five times in their last seven matches on the road.
How the bookies view it
Dinamo Zagreb have the upper hand among the bookies and are priced at 6/5 by 10bet to claim the win on Thursday. A victory for Sparta Prague is valued at 23/10 with Betfred while a draw is set at odds of 49/20 by Unibet.
Head to head
There has been nothing to separate Dinamo Zagreb and Sparta Prague in their previous meetings as they have drawn all three matches. Both teams battled to a 1-1 scoreline in a friendly in July.
Players to watch
Dinamo Zagreb have shown some attacking prowess in recent weeks with Bruno Petkovic and Mahir Emreli both impressing. Both men can combine to ensure the hosts produce over 0.5 goals on Thursday at 1/4 with BetVictor.
Sparta Prague can also hold their own going forward with the likes of Jan Kuchta and Victor Olatunji among the goals in recent weeks. Both men can produce over 0.5 goals for the visitors at 40/85 with BetVictor.
Anything else catch the eye?
Dinamo Zagreb and Sparta Prague have struggled defensively lately and given their attacking quality, both teams could be backed to score at 10/11 with Unibet. Both teams saw over 3.5 goals in their respective Champions League second leg fixtures and a similar outcome is priced at 16/5 with BetVictor, who is also offering 6/5 on over 2.5 goals.
With a closely fought encounter expected on Thursday, a halftime draw could be considered at 11/10 with Unibet. Both teams saw more goals after the break in their Champions League fixtures and Thursday’s clash can be tipped to follow a similar pattern at 11/10 with bet365.
This UEFA Europa League match between Dinamo Zagreb and Sparta Prague will be played on Aug 24, 2023 and kick off at 19:00. Check below for our tipsters best Dinamo Zagreb vs Sparta Prague prediction. You may also visit our dedicated betting previews section for the most up to date previews.