Dinamo’s unfortunate crash out of Champions League qualifying was the final straw for former Croatia U21 manager Igor Bišćan with Dinamo. The 45 year-old was immediately replaced by Rijeka’s Sergej Jakirović, who achieved previous successes with Gorica, and most notably, completely revolutionizing last season’s bottom-table Rijeka into a legitimate title contending team.
Bišćan is considered by many to be the HNS’s golden boy when it comes to managers, and that he’s been carefully groomed into eventually becoming our next National Team manager. As of late, it seems as though the tides are changing, as Igor Bišćan suffers his second successive sacking due to poor team performances. With the U21 National Team, Bišćan was heavily criticized for often utilizing up to six defenders at once in a team with a plethora of attacking options. To make matters worse, that squad was especially short when it came to defenders, so it is not an exaggeration to state that Bišćan genuinely put every single defender he had on the pitch at once to start crucial matches, while leaving far more talented players on the bench. At Dinamo, Bišćan was often criticized for finishing matches with only one completed substitution, and his mismanagement in terms of squad rotation costed the Modri in the final minutes of both qualifying games against Greek side AEK. Bišćan’s track record with Dinamo was not particularly bad however. He initially went 14 games unbeaten before losing two of his last six matches at the helm. However, it was the manner in which these losses occurred, and the manner with which he approached his game-time tactics that most likely cost him his job. A crucial loss to rivals Hajduk, a goalless draw with Gorica and two late fall-outs against AEK were simply inexcusable, and highlighted that perhaps his previous track record was simply inflated due to Dinamo’s individual quality.
Sergej Jakirović saved Rijeka. At points last season, they were legitimately in a relegation battle with Gorica and Šibenik. Finally, after a 7-2 thumping at the hands of Dinamo, Rijeka appointed Jakirović. After getting his feet wet with a few friendly games, Jakirović led Rijeka to a nine game unbeaten streak and eventually crawled back up to a fourth place finish, just one point shy of Osijek. Rijeka have been off to a great start this season, as notable youngsters like Ivanović, Pašalić and Janković band together to hopefully continue this upward trajectory, now that Jakirović has earned himself the big Dinamo move.
How do you think this affects the trajectories of Dinamo and Rijeka in the HNL this season?