The Vječni derbi (Eternal Derby) is back! Dinamo Zagreb vs. Hajduk Split.
But when the two sides meet this Saturday at Maksimir (12PM ET), it’ll be under a different set of rules. Dinamo Zagreb, who have won the last seven HNL championships, haven’t really made it much of a rivalry the past decade, rather more of an annihilation. Dinamo has clearly been the better club, however, they have more to lose than the Hajduk youngsters do this time around.
Dinamo are once again expected to win the Prva Liga but are coming off two straight losses: 2-0 vs. FC Porto in Champions League and 3-0 vs. Rijeka in domestic play. With another Champions League duel against Dynamo Kiev in Ukraine on Wednesday, Hajduk could put Dinamo on the ropes with a result in Zagreb. Even a draw for the Splićani should be considered a success.
Both clubs are coming off midweek victories in Croatian Cup play with Dinamo easily defeating Vrsar 3-0 and Hajduk taking care of Slunj 4-0 to reach the last 16. Dinamo, who currently have a five-point lead on Hajduk and only a two-point gap on second place Slaven Belupo, have much more on their plate than their hated rivals from the south. A Hajduk victory could shift overall momentum in Croatia early in the season, but if this veteran Dinamo team can get the job done going into their second Champions League match, the status quo would return to the Prva Liga just as quickly as the doubt formed against the current champs.