Photo: Reuters/Fabian Bimmer
Should Ivica Olić start against Iceland? The former Dinamo Zagreb striker, scored a breathtaking game winning goal in the 69th minute of play against Borusiia Dortmund on Saturday. The Croatian international cut left from the right side and blasted home a left-footed strike past a diving Roman Weindenfeller off the far post. The goal was Ivica’s sixth in league play this year and second in his last three games. However, Ivica picked up an injury and had to be subbed off in the 80th minute of play. Wolfsburg will re-evaluate him on Monday as Croatian manager, Niko Kovač, will have plenty to think about in the next few days as Croatia take on Iceland on Friday in Reykjavik.
Photo: Reuters/Fabian Bimmer
Ivan Perišić will also be looking to start against Iceland as the former Hajduk Split prospect has impressed in the past few weeks for Wolfsburg. The Croatian international started and went the distance for Wolfsburg in the win. Ivan finished with two shots and came close to scoring early in the first half but his header just sailed wide.
Ivica Olić game winner
“Olic’s goal was a dream. It should have been blocked, but that didn’t happen.”
~Dortmund manager, Jurgen Klopp
Bayern Munich enjoyed 72% of possession in route to a 3-0 win over Augsburg over the weekend. Former Dinamo Zagreb striker, Mario Mandžukić started and played the full 90 minutes for Bayern in the win. Surprisingly, Mario finished the match without a single shot for the first time this season. Mandžukić has been the most consistent Croatian striker this season and will surely start against Iceland on Friday. Now the question is will Niko Kovac pair him up with another striker or start him up top as the lone striker?
Srdjan Lakić looked on from the bench as Frankfurt fell to Mainz 1-0.
Milan Badelj and Ivo Iličević couldn’t do much to counter a high flying Bayer Leverkusen team as they fell 5-3 in a highly entertaining match at Bay Arena. Milan started and went the distance, while Ivo came off the bench just after the hour mark for the third consecutive week. Ivo couldn’t get anything going against a very good Bayer team, while Milan was not really at fault for any of the five goals, however, the former Dinamo Zagreb captain should at least be partially at fault for a couple of the season high five goals. Has Badelj done enough to start for Croatia on Friday?
Ivan Rakitic’s amazing form continued for Sevilla as he was their main man in a 3-1 victory over Espanyol on Sunday. Ivan assisted on the first goal when his free kick was headed in by Fedricio Fazio. He also played a part in the second goal, with his corner kick leading to a goal after the ball took a few deflections before Vitolo finished. Ivan seemingly did everything for Sevilla, creating three chances, taking three shots, drawing six fouls, and making three tackles. He also had a game-high 57 completed passes. The win, Sevilla’s 1st in four matches, takes them to 11th in the La Liga table, one point out of 7th.
Assist: 0:15, Corner: 0:35, Shot: 1:00, Free Kick: 1:45, 2:00
Luka Modrić played the full match in Real Madrid’s 5-1 thrashing of Real Sociedad on Saturday at the Bernabeu. Luka was very involved in the action, with a game-high 64 passes and a game-high four chances created. On the defensive end, he also recorded three tackles and three interceptions. Real Madrid remain 3rd in La Liga following the match, with 31 points in 13 matches.
PHOTO: Reuters/Alessandro Gerafolo
Mateo Kovačić finally put his name on the stat sheet by assisting on Inter’s game winning goal in a 2-0 win over Livorno over the weekend. The 19-year-old playmaker, shook two defenders and found Yuto Nagatome with a beautiful through ball in the 91st minute of play. Mateo has been complaining about playing time and will not be happy coming in at the hour mark against Bologna. Should Mateo get the start against Iceland?
Mateo Kovačić assists on the second goal for Inter
Croatian bad boy, Marko Livaja, scored his second Serie A goal of the season as Atalanta stopped a three match winless streak with a 2-1 win over Bologna. Marko started and played the full 90 minutes for Atalanta in the win. The former Hajduk Split striker saved the best for last by unleashing a lazerbeam/curveball that Bologna keeper didn’t know how to deal with besides picking up the ball in the back of his net. Luck was on Marko’s side as a better keeper surely would have made the save. However, Livaja should get credit for putting extra spin on the ball.
Marko Livaja game winner + interview(in Italian)
Genoa registered their third straight win by shutting out Hellas Verona 2-0 on Sunday. Former Dinamo Zagreb midfielder, Šime Vrsaljko, started and played the full 90 minutes in the win. Remarkably, Verona held most of the possession and outshot Genoa 25-12 in the loss. Vrsaljko played well and helped Genoa to another shutout.
Manuel Pamić must be doing something right after getting his second consecutive start against AC Milan on Sunday. The former Rijeka left back started as a left midfielder and went the distance in a 0-0 draw against AC Milan. After riding the bench most of the season, the 27-year-old looks to have earned a starting job in Chievo. Manuel finished the match with one shot and helped Chievo to their second straight shutout.
Ivan Kelava, Igor Bubnjić, and Frano Mlinar all looked on from the bench as Udinese fell to Catania 1-0. Ante Rebić came off the bench in the 70th minute for Fiorentina in a 2-1 win over Sampdoria on Sunday. Ante is still trying to fit in at Fiorentina and hasn’t played since September 30th because of an injury. Tin Jedvaj looked on from the bench as Roma were held 1-1 by Sassuolo. Josip Radošević failed to get off the bench for Napoli in a 3-0 loss against Juventus.
Darijo Srna and Shakhtar Donetsk are back in first place after a 2-0 win over Hoverla Saturday. Srna got the start and played the full 90 minutes; assisting on Eduardo’s 72nd minute goal following a corner kick. Srna whipped in a sharp cross from the corner which skipped across the box finding an open Eduardo running through on the back post. It would be an insurance goal which Shakhtar would not require to take over first place with former leaders Metalist losing 3-0 on the weekend. Eduardo came into the match in the 65th minute and could possibly play alongside Mario Mandžukić on Friday in Iceland depending on the severity of Ivica Olić’s injury.
Domagoj Vida and Ognjen Vukojević both played the full 90 minutes for Dynamo Kiev in a 4-1 win over Volyn. The win keeps Dynamo five points behind the lead.
Dnipro’s match with Arsenal Kiev was postponed on Sunday. Ivan Strinić will be out for Croatia due to injury for the Iceland matches and Panathinaikos midfielder Danijel Pranjić has been recalled to the team by Niko Kovač. Pranjić has 45 caps for Croatia and retired from international football when Sammir was called up by the Štimac regime.
Photo: Southampton FC
The dream start to Southampton’s season continues after their 4-1 win over Hull City on Saturday. With the victory, the Saints head into the year’s last international break with six wins, four draws and only one loss, which is good enough for third place through the first 11 matches in the Premiership. Is Southampton going to make a run at a Champions League berth? Probably not. But they have already defeated Liverpool at Anfield and forced a late 1-1 draw against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Next big test: @Arsenal on November 23rd and Chelsea the week after.
Dejan Lovren played the full 90 minutes for Southampton in the win and was not at fault for Hull’s lone goal as midfielder Victor Wanyama gifted Hull the ball deep in Southampton territory with an errant pass. Lovren has been in spectacular form this year in his first Premiership season and should get the nod from manager Niko Kovač this Friday versus Iceland.
Niko Kranjčar came off the bench for Jermaine Jenas in the 31st minute of QPR’s 1-1 draw against Reading on Saturday. Kranjčar sat out the previous week’s match due to a leg injury but will now be available for Croatia during the two legged playoff versus Iceland. Kranjčar did not have a shot in the match vs. Reading as QPR remain two points behind leaders Burnley for automatic promotion to the Premiership.
Nikica Jelavić remained on the bench as an unused substitute in Everton’s goalless draw vs. Crystal Place while Mladen Petrić was not on West Ham’s roster for a third straight week in a 3-1 defeat to Norwich City.
Danijel Subašić started for AS Monaco as they were held to a 1-1 against Evian Thonon on Friday. Subašić came up big for Monaco, stopping four shots after Evian’s Daniel Wass beat him in the 20th minute. The draw allowed Lille to move past Monaco, leaving them 4th in Ligue 1 after 13 matches.
Goal at 0:45, Save at 1:55
Stipe Pletikosa was in net for Rostov’s 4-1 win over Ural on Friday, their first win since August 19th. It was a huge relief for the team to get their first win in nearly three months, and Stipe was not at fault for the goal, which came with Rostov up 4-0. The three points moves them to 9th in the Russian Premier League.
Goal at 3:50
Season stats (in Russian) for Vedran Ćorluka
Vedran Ćorluka played the full match for 10 man Lokomotiv Moscow on Saturday as they lost their first match since September 1st, falling 2-0 to FK Tom Tomsk. They remain 2nd in the Russian Premier League, three points behind leaders Zenit Zt. Petersburg, who also lost this weekend.
~Ante Kvartuč and Denis Svirčić reporting from sunny Southern California, Zach Gilfix reporting from Minneapolis, MN