Four-time winners Sevilla return to the UEFA Europa League in the knockout round play-offs to take on Group H runners-up and 2020/21 quarter-finalists Dinamo Zagreb.
• The Spanish side finished third in UEFA Champions League Group G during the autumn behind LOSC Lille and Salzburg, winning just one of their six matches and ending on six points. Dinamo finished second in their UEFA Europa League section behind West Ham, their 1-0 win in London on Matchday 6 raising their final tally to ten points – four clear of third-placed Rapid Wien.
• The teams have been paired once previously in UEFA competition, in the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League group stage, Jorge Sampaoli’s Sevilla winning both matches against Ivaylo Petev’s Dinamo – 1-0 in Zagreb and 4-0 at home a fortnight later – en route to finishing runners-up in the section behind Juventus. The Croatian side lost all six group games and became only the third team ever to complete a UEFA Champions League group stage without scoring a goal.
• Sevilla’s only other meetings with Croatian opposition came in the 2014/15 UEFA Europa League group stage when they drew 2-2 at Rijeka with an added-time equaliser before defeating them 1-0 in Seville. The Spanish side went on to retain the trophy.
• Dinamo have lost all six UEFA fixtures away to Spanish clubs, four of them without scoring. The most recent defeat came in the second leg of last season’s UEFA Europa League quarter-finals, when they went down 2-1 to eventual winners Villarreal having lost the first leg 0-1 in Zagreb – their third knockout elimination out of three against Spanish sides. The Croatian side’s last seven matches against Spanish opposition, home and away, have all ended in defeat.
• Fourth in the Spanish Liga for the second successive season under coach Julen Lopetegui in 2020/21, Sevilla were runners-up in their UEFA Champions League group behind eventual winners Chelsea before bowing out in the round of 16 to Borussia Dortmund (2-3 h, 2-2 a).
• This season Sevilla’s UEFA Champions League campaign ended after six matches. They opened up with draws against each of their Group G opponents – 1-1 at home to Salzburg and away to Wolfsburg and 0-0 in Lille – before losing 1-2 at home to the French champions on Matchday 4. A 2-0 home win against Wolfsburg kept them in the hunt going into Matchday 6, but a 1-0 defeat in Salzburg left them in third place.
• Sevilla are appearing in the knockout phase of the UEFA Europa League for the seventh time. They have lifted the trophy on four of their previous six appearances – in 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16 with Unai Emery as head coach and in 2019/20 under Lopetegui – as well as winning the UEFA Cup back-to-back in 2005/06 and 2006/07. Their only defeats in 23 UEFA Europa League knockout phase ties were on away goals against Porto in the 2010/11 round of 32 (1-2 h, 1-0 a) and after extra time against Slavia Praha in the 2018/19 round of 16 (2-2 h, 3-4 a).
• That 1-2 defeat by Porto 11 years ago was Sevilla’s last at home to non-Spanish opposition in the UEFA Europa League, qualifying phase included. Since then their record in the competition at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán is W26 D5 L2, the two losses to fellow Liga sides Real Betis in the 2013/14 round of 16 and Athletic Club in the 2015/16 quarter-finals – though Sevilla won both ties on penalties.
• Sevilla have kept clean sheets in seven of their last eight home games in the UEFA Europa League, the exception against Slavia in 2018/19. Their home record in the knockout phase of the competition is W11 D2 L3, the draws having come in the last two fixtures.
• Champions of Croatia for the fourth season in a row in 2020/21 – when they completed the domestic double – and the 15th time in 16 seasons, Dinamo also went further than ever before in the UEFA Europa League last term, convincingly topping their group – with just one goal conceded – and eliminating Krasnodar and Tottenham before losing that quarter-final to Villarreal.
• This season’s bid for an eighth appearance in the UEFA Champions League proper ended in the play-offs, where Dinamo went down to Moldovan champions Sheriff (0-3 a, 0-0 h), having earlier eliminated Valur, Omonoia and Legia Warszawa. They came through their UEFA Europa League group, however, winning once each against their three opponents – 3-0 at Genk and 3-1 at home to Rapid as well as that closing 1-0 win at West Ham, under newly appointed interim boss Željko Kopić – to finish three points behind the English side in second place.
• Dinamo failed to progress beyond the UEFA Europa League group stage at the first four attempts but are now through to the knockout phase for the third time running. They reached the round of 16 in 2018/19 as well as last season’s quarter-finals.
• The Croatian champions have won five of their seven European away games in 2021/22, keeping clean sheets in all of those victories. In the UEFA Europa League knockout phase they have lost four of their five matches on the road, the exception a 3-2 win at Krasnodar in last season’s round of 32 first leg.
UEFA Europa League squad changes
In: Jesús Corona (Porto), Nemanja Gudelj, Anthony Martial (Manchester United, loan)
Out: Suso, Erik Lamela, Óscar Rodríguez (Getafe, loan)
In: Petar Bočkaj (Osijek), Mahir Emreli (Legia Warszawa)
Out: Duje Čop (Celje, loan), Dinko Horkaš (Posušje, loan), Marin Leovac (Osijek), Jakov-Anton Vasilj (Lokomotiva Zagreb, loan)
Links and trivia
• Sevilla’s Ivan Rakitić was a Croatian international from 2007 to 2019, winning 106 caps. He played briefly for his country alongside current Dinamo players Dominik Livaković and Bruno Petković.
• Livaković kept goal for Dinamo in both of their 2016/17 UEFA Champions League group stage defeats by Sevilla. Dino Perić was a substitute in the loss in Spain.
• Sevilla’s Nemanja Gudelj and Marcos Acuña are former Sporting CP team-mates of Dinamo’s Stefan Ristovski and Josip Mišić.
• Jesús Navas scored Spain’s late winner against Croatia in the teams’ decisive final group fixture at UEFA EURO 2012.
• Dinamo’s new winter signing Mahir Emreli played for Legia Warszawa in the first half of this season, scoring seven European goals for the Polish club including the winner at home to Leicester City (1-0) in the UEFA Europa League group stage.
• Dinamo are one of five reigning national champions and four current domestic cup winners involved in the UEFA Europa League knockout round play-offs. They are also the only survivors from the 2020/21 quarter-finals competing in this season’s knockout phase.
• This is Dinamo’s 15th European game this season – the joint most, alongside Sheriff, of the 16 teams competing in the UEFA Europa League knockout round play-offs.
• Sevilla are one of two former UEFA Europa League winners competing in the knockout round play-offs, alongside 2010/11 victors Porto. Two other participants, Napoli and Zenit, have also, like Sevilla, lifted the UEFA Cup.
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