Champions League Rule #1 over the past decade: You can’t win unless you have a Croatian on the squad!
And that very well may still stand true for an unprecedented 11th straight season as the trend started with the 2013 Final when Mario Mandžukić and Bayern Munich slayed Borussia Dortmund in the 89′.
Croatians could not have asked for a better week as 4/4 Vatreni (or former Vatreni) players booked a spot in the Champions League quarters.
On Wednesday, Josip Stanišić played 90 minutes at right-back for Bayern Munich in a 2-0 victory over PSG to bounce Messi, Mbappe & Friends from the tournament.
Tuesday saw Mateo Kovačić captain Chelsea to a 2-0 home victory over Borussia Dortmund (winning 2-1 agg.) to put their name in the quarterfinal hat next week. It has been a disastrous season for Chelsea as they currently sit 10th in England. However, a favorable draw in the quarterfinal round could justify this season as they make a valiant move in Europe with their domestic campaign already dead.
Ante Rebić came off the bench for AC Milan in the 89th minute Wednesday as the Italians shut out Ivan Perišić and Tottenham in both matches to progress 1-0 on aggregate. Rebić has been a fringe player in Milan this season and has not played for Croatia since EURO 2020; due to his falling out with manager Zlatko Dalić. However, a Croatian on the team is a Croatian on the team.
Striker Petar Musa remained on the bench Tuesday as Benfica pummeled Club Brugge 7-1 (aggregate) over two legs. Musa will be receiving his first Croatia senior call-up later in the month.
Those are the four that have already booked their names into the quarterfinal draw, which will take place on March 17th. Next week will see the last four Round of 16 matches where Luka Modrić and Real Madrid are expected to progress after their 5-2 1st Leg win against Liverpool at Anfield.
Marcelo Brozović and Inter Milan will have a 1-0 lead going into their 2nd Leg match against Porto. Inter are expected to go through.
In the “Match of the Week”, Joško Gvardiol and RB Leipzig will travel to England to take on mighty Manchester City in their 2nd leg. Gvardiol scored the equalizer two weeks ago in a 1-1 draw in Germany. If Leipzig can shock the world and defeat City, that would surely make it 6-7 Croatians (on different teams) in the CL quarterfinals. Imagine that!
Eintracht Frankfurt’s Kristijan Jakić may be the only one to miss out on the party as his side were defeated 2-0 by Napoli in their 1st Leg.
Given our current makeup and current form I wouldn’t be surprised if we eventually moved to a 3-5-2 or some slight variation of it.
Juranovic and Sosa as wingers would work out well provided we get someone that can get on the end of these crosses. Gvardiol, Sutalo/Erlic and Stanisic as the defenders. Our strength is going to shift from our agin midfield to our young up and coming backline.
Our main 3 as midfielders and maybe Krama and Musa up top.
What’s concerning is the drop off in Perisic this far this year. He’s been so clutch for us over the years…I would like to see him play up top as can get in the end of balls.
The Sucic injury is so tough. Thankfully it’s not a full ACL tear which could be a career killer as Maminjo mentioned. Really hoping he can come back without any issues.
“Our main 3 as midfielders and maybe Krama and Musa up top.”
Musa would complement kramaric uptop, this would work well and we would see kramaric play much better than in the past. But at this point its time to move away from the older guys, it would be smarter to play Majer CAM.
Which ligaments did he tear?
It said exterior ligaments in the articles I read, but isn’t that the ACL?
But this is a big loss for us if he can’t come back the same. Liverpool was looking at him, but that’s all dead now.
I’m far from an expert but it’s a lateral ligament which isn’t an ACL. I would imagine it could lead to an ACL tear if it’s weakened and that’s usually a death blow for a player.
I’m holding out hope.
Any medical pros on here who can explain this?
Shitty the game looks lost
But they controlled most of the match
If can do it on the return leg they have a good chance of taking it
Whose got a link for the goal??
Ya that right side looks darn solid
Move JJ to rw
Very strong side defensively
Can JJ deliver the proper crosses we need?
Never know where a star can come from
For a few prospects that don’t make it there is a JJ that emerges
Good for him. He seems like a genuinely nice guy and obviously hard working
Juranovic had a beauty FK today
suggest y’all check it out
one of best signings this year bar none
And Juranovic deserves ALL the credit for the way he has played
Yes, that was pretty. He’s quickly becoming indispensable for the NT as far as I’m concerned.
The guy was in Poland less than 2 years ago, and was bumming around at Hajduk a year before that.
Probably ends up a better RB for us than Srna one day.
Hope so. That would be wonderful
Was an amazing goal, he has really developed into quite the player I have to say.
If Vida gets a start I will lose my mind!! Lol, not in the good way either.
With regards to Stanisic, some media outlets have praised him, as well as fans, saying he kept both Messi and Mbappe at bay…!! Try to remember as well that he did the same in the Nations League.
Just imagine now, had Lovren not been playing, had Stanisic been playing what kind of difference would that have made to our central line and backline had this guy been playing??
Maybe that pass that Messi placed would have been blocked by the likes of Stanisic if he was there to cover Gvardiol when things got a bit hectic.
I have been thinking a lot about these two guys as our centre backs. Stani has the pace and I think the ability alongside Gvari. JJ and Sosa on the side, and you have both Erlic and Sutalo as subs, quite the backline we could have either now or in couple of years.
Also as a reminder, both Stani and Gvardi, for their age have great vision moving forward. Their passing is well thought out, especially from the World Cup with Gvardi, and Nations League games with Stanisic.
They proven that they have great vision in the final third to make that key pass.
So for people who I know are going to respond as they goal against Japan would never have happened without Lovren, neither would have the majority goals that were scored against us.
No point in thinking about this now.
Lovren was nothing special at the World Cup. He made one very good assist, but also made several mistakes.
Stanisic, Erlic, and Sutalo are all unquestionably better than him…but in the end, who know if it would have made any difference (as we don’t have a time machine).
Most important thing now is that we move forward and FINALLY begin to take advantage of the young dynamic defenders that were available to us these past two tournaments.
It took Dalic a couple of years longer than necessary, but it’s finally done.
Hopefully we don’t make the same mistake with our forwards. We have 15 months until the Euros, and it would be unfortunate if guys like Beljo, Musa or Vidovic continue to make forwards strides but are unable to get a callup (until Livaja, Krama and Petkovic have to hit rock bottom first).
Cutting Budimir was a great start in the right direction. Musa is in the team, and Beljo is on stanby…now it’s up to Musa and Beljo to continue playing well for their clubs.
Unfortunately, they will get a very very small window of game time to show Dalic what they can do (before he has a panic attack and defaults back to Livaja/Krama)…but hopefully they make a great first appearance (and score for us).
If we played sosa and JJ on wings
And did a back three of…
Gvardi. Blank. And stanisic
Who plays that middle role
Erlic or sutalo would be are real only options currently right?
I have mentioned this before, but Broz is can play well (especially with the backline we now have) if placed in a defensive midfield position on his own.
So I would say
JJ — Stanisic — Gvardiol — Sosa
— Broz —
Modric — Majer — Kova
Musa —-.Perisic(if he is still in form)
Just a thought this frees Modric and Kova to traverse between defense and offense. Majer would Primarily be offensive in his role here.
The problem is mainly offense, again who is placed.woth Musa. Perisic is truggling this year, Pasalic hasn’t been particularly strong but he has had moments with the national squad. Livaja, Petko, Krama again have their own issues in the squad.
This seems very experimental, in my view. Like the World Cup I think much of the team’s success will depend on the defensive line here, regardless of setup.
Or we maybe go with the 3-5-2 that Maminjo and some others were discussing. Broz would have less of a role here to play on that setup.
Any link for Sucic injury?
SB Nation rated Stanisic with a 10/10 performance with a nice little blurb later on in the article.
That’s incredible praise
Well we have to trust stanisic knows his path
Maybe he will become the man at Bayern now!
All I have to say we are going to have the all star bundesliga back line options
Of sosa gvardi JJ stanisic
Have you ever had this much overall quality at defence
98 sure but nothing close to this over the years for amount of quality options all through the back line
More praise for Stanisic, this time from his coach.