Dinamo’s latest match was a 0-0 deadlock in the Eternal Derby held in Poljud. The Croatian champions are having a slow season for their standards, yet they are still in first place and have arguably the strongest roster in the league. A few hot streaks from players like Oršić and Petković (if he can regain his form), and Dinamo may just secure themselves yet another HNL championship. New signing and current most in form player in the league, Petar Bočkaj, has proven a great addition to this squad, as well as breakout star Josip Šutalo, have solidified Dinamo’s defense.
Osijek sit in second place with the same number of points as Dinamo, but having played one more game. Osijek needs to stop drawing matches against weaker opponents, where they could be capitalizing on small points that will eventually add up. Osijek now have one of the strongest, if not the strongest, roster they’ve ever fielded, and this may just be their best chance at ever winning the league. The addition of star winger Kristijan Lovrić adds more attacking prowess to this team, however, the loss of Bočkaj is a massive one. If they could have held on to him, they might just have the best team in the league. Osijek loanee Dion Drena Beljo has been balling out this season with Istra, a shame for Osijek, who could probably use a powerful attacker like him to finish games off and avoid all these draws they’ve been getting.
Rijeka, who looked to be entering first place with an easy win against last place Dragovoljac today, absolutely bottled the chance, as they fell by the score of 2 to 1. Funny thing is, Rijeka loaned a ton of their unused players and young talents to Dragovoljac, essentially shooting themselves in the foot here. This could potentially be very very costly for the Armada as every point matters from here on out. The positives is that star goalkeeper Nediljko Labrović has been back to full fitness and looks just as good as he was to start the season, and Robert Murić has proven himself to be one of the most dangerous players in the league. Rijeka play Gorica and Istra next, before they face the Modri on April 9th. Six points is a must from these next two games.
Hajduk currently sit five points out of first place, after having drawn Dinamo at home. Hajduk need to buckle down and grind for every point they can get, because they don’t exactly have an easy schedule remaining. They face Dinamo twice, including on the last matchday of the season, they face Osijek and Rijeka once, as well as a game against Lokomotiva and one against Gorica, who have proven to be great spoilers this season. Recent additions have strengthened Hajduk’s squad, but now they need to find a formation and a solidified eleven. There seems to be a ton of rotation and relative uncertainty in who to play and where to play them. There aren’t many games left, so Dambrauskas needs to find a solution because any mistake from here on out may cost them the season. If Hajduk can play nearly perfect in their remaining ten matches, they might just be lifting the trophy on the final matchday.
Who do you think will be Croatian champions at the end of the season?