When the draw for the quarterfinals was made, many will have felt Villarreal received the easiest opponent in the last eight of the Europa League. Jose Mourinho and Tottenham Hotspur know that Dinamo Zagreb are no pushovers, however.
The Croatian team humiliated the more fancied Tottenham Hotspur in the Europa League round of 16. After losing 2-0 in London, Dinamo Zagreb won 2-0 in the home leg at the end of 90 minutes to force extra-time. In the overtime period, striker Mislav Orsic finished off his hat-trick to down the expensive team Mourinho has assembled in North London. Now, the giant-killers from Croatia host Spain’s Villarreal in the first leg of their Europa League quarterfinal tie.
Dinamo Zagreb are in their first quarterfinal of a European competition since 1970. They will face a manager in Unai Emery that has won this competition multiple times. Emery led Sevilla to the Europa League title in three straight seasons from 2013 to 2016. He then took Arsenal to the final in 2019 where Chelsea defeated them. Emery knows how to get his side into the final.
Villarreal are on a five-game winning streak in all competitions. They will fancy their chances of getting a big win this week to kickstart the quarterfinals of the Europa League. Dinamo Zagreb have shown they can knockout the more fancied teams. Will they eliminate a favourite once more?
Dinamo Zagreb vs Villarreal Betting Odds
Despite Dinamo Zagreb’s great form, unbeaten in four straight games in all competitions, they are underdogs going into the game on Thursday night. Leading sportsbooks have the Croatian side at odds of 13/5 to upset Villarreal and take a lead into the second leg at the Estadio de la Ceramica. Dinamo Zagreb came through the last 32 of the Europa League with a 4-2 aggregate win over Russia’s Krasnodar. They followed the win up in the last 16 with the previously mentioned come from behind 3-2 aggregate win versus Spurs.
Villarreal head into the quarterfinal first leg following a 4-1 aggregate win over Red Bull Salzburg in the last 32. They knocked out Dynamo Kyiv in the last 16 by a scoreline of 4-0. Due to the Yellow Submarine’s strength in the competition thus far, leading sportsbooks have them at odds of 7/6 to win against Dinamo Zagreb in the first leg.
Villarreal are coming off of an impressive 3-0 beat down of fellow Europea League quarterfinalist Granada in La Liga. Villarreal have played Dinamo Zagreb just once before in European competition. Dinamo Zagreb defeated Juan Carlos Garrido's Villarreal 2-0 at home on Matchday 1 of the 2010-11 Europa League group stage. The Spanish team won the reverse fixture 3-0 to progress into the knockout stage. Villarreal reached the Europa League semifinals that season. Dinamo Zagreb were eliminated after finishing third in the group.
Dinamo Zagreb vs Villarreal Team News
As it stands, Emery is without just one player and that is midfielder Manu Trigueros. The midfielder is recovering from a hamstring injury and could be available for the second leg of the quarterfinals versus Dinamo Zagreb. Meanwhile, defender Juan Foyth will be available to Emery despite being ruled out of La Liga play due to a suspension.
Striker Gerard Moreno is having a stellar season for Villarreal. The forward has 23 goals in all competitions while adding nine assists. Fellow forward Paco Alcacer has added 10 goals to the team’s goalscoring stats.
Dinamo Zagreb manager Damir Krznar has just one reported injury going into the fixture. Midfielder Sadegh Moharrami is the only player currently listed as a doubt for the game following a muscle strain injury. Striker Orsic bagged a hat-trick against Tottenham Hotspur in the round of 16 second leg. The striker leads Dinamo Zagreb in goals with 19. Mario Gavranovic has added 14 goals in all competitions.
Dinamo Zagreb have played 10 European games against Spanish clubs, losing eight of them. Their 2010-11 Europa League home victory over Villarreal remains their solitary success. Their last four matches versus La Liga clubs ended in defeats.
Dinamo Zagreb vs Villarreal Prediction
Both teams to score: YES @ 1/1 - BET NOW
Dinamo Zagreb and Villarreal are capable goalscoring teams. Therefore, goals could be tallied by both sides in the game on Thursday night. Villarreal have reached the quarterfinals thanks to a strong defence. However, Dinamo Zagreb’s best chance to go through to the semifinals could come with a win at home. Although their recent games in the Europa League finished with both teams not scoring, the first leg game could be more open.
Mislav Orsic to score anytime @ 3/1 - BET NOW
Orsic has 19 goals in 36 games in all competitions this season for the Croatian club. Not long ago, Orsic was considered one of the top young strikers in world football, yet a move to one of the top five European leagues never came about. Five of Orsic’s 19 goals have come in the Europa League. Three of those goals were scored in the team’s incredible comeback versus Spurs.
Over 2.5 goals scored @ 13/10 - BET NOW
Villarreal’s last two matches in La Liga ended with over 2.5 goals scored. After a 2-1 win versus Cadiz, Villarreal thrashed Granada at the weekend 3-0. They are in form going into the match and will have their eyes set on winning the first leg away from home. Dinamo Zagreb have played well against European competition, which is far stronger than anything they face off against in the Croatian domestic league. They could struggle to keep Moreno in check on Thursday.
Villarreal have reached the Europa League semifinals twice previously. They have never finished outside the top two in their eight group campaigns, progressing as group winners four times. That includes this season under Emery. The ex-Sevilla coach knows how to win this competition and should guide Villarreal through. A win or draw in the first leg will set the Yellow Submarine up nicely against a very determined opponent.
Dinamo Zagreb vs Villarreal Tips
Here are our Dinamo Zagreb vs Villarreal tips for Thursday's Europa League quarter-final 1st leg.
1. Both teams to score: YES @ 1/1
2. Mislav Orsic to score anytime @ 3/1
3. Over 2.5 goals scored @ 13/10
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