Dinamo Zagreb v West Ham United – UEFA Europa League Group H – Stadion Maksimir – Thursday (5:45pm) – Preview
Brian Dear has urged West Ham United to head into Thursday’s UEFA Europa League Group H tie with Dinamo Zagreb wide-eyed and to put down a foundation in a competition growing in stature over recent seasons.
The trip to the Stadion Maksimir will be West Ham’s first European tie since losing 2-1 on aggregate to the Romanian side, Astra Giurgiu in a play-off round tie back in 2016. Dinamo currently top the Croatian League and will be backed by a fanatical home crowd: “It might be an eye-opener for some of the boys,” Dear told Yellow Sport.
“Dinamo are in decent nick in their league. They will be confident and determined to put one over a team from the top division in England.
“They stunned Tottenham in this competition last season, recovering a 2-0 first-leg deficit. Playing West Ham won’t phase them – We have to ensure they have something to think about with our style as opposed to us worrying about theirs.
Lovro Majer led the way for Dinamo with three goals. However, following his transfer to Stade Rennais FC, that responsibility will now fall to the experienced frontman, Mislav Oršić. It will be interesting to see if David Moyes throws Kurt Zouma in for his debut or sticks with the defensive pairing of Angelo Ogbonna and Craig Dawson following Saturday’s clean sheet at Southampton.
I believe goalkeeper, Alphonse Areola will be handed a debut. I enjoyed one of the greatest moments of my career playing in every round, including the final and top-scoring when West Ham reached the 1965 Cup Winners Cup final and beat 1860 Munich at Wembley Stadium.
Europen football for West Ham has been few and far between. I’m hoping this group can write themselves a piece of history to put themselves alongside the class of 65’.
Brian Dear’s prediction: Dinamo Zagreb 1-1 West Ham United
Jeevesie’s prediction: Dinamo Zagreb 2-0 West Ham United