Very interesting is the group D, in which it is a clear favorite for the Italian AC Milan, but it is a good start for three rivals. Croatian Rijeka demonstrated solid performance in the LM front, AEK, on the other hand, switched to qualifying for EL despite a very good opponent. Both of them would like to contend for a second place with Austria’s Austria, and their initial duel can be extremely important.
HNK, first in the 2nd precursor of LM, easily crossed the Welsh TNS after winning 2: 0 and 5: 1. In the following round, he went up to Austria Salzburg, after a 1: 1 unbeaten score on his ground, the homeless draw was enough to progress to play-off. Also in the play-off he hit a very heavy opponent, in Greece against Olympiakos even led 1: 0. But after winning the goal in the set time lost 1: 2 and at home the already unfavorable state did not turn (0: 1).
Therefore, Rijeka has not won four consecutive Europeans in a row, AEK has a positive balance of five wins of six matches with Croatian teams. The team from the Greek capital failed first in the 3rd prelude of LM, the Russian Velka Liga CSKA twice succumbed (0: 1 and 0: 2). However, in the play-off of this European club competition, Bruges, after a free-hand draw on the Belgian soil, won in a 3: 0 rebound.
Rijeka is currently in the league in the second position with eighteen points, the leading Dinamo Zagreb has a manko four points. “We were a little disappointed that we did not get to LM, but the European League is not a faint consolation for us, we want to succeed and go far, even if our group is extremely difficult and our first rival is performing very well and is extremely productive, defeating him will not be easy, “HNK pilot Matjaž Kek said.
His counterpart, Manolo Jiménez, has been on the Athens bench since this season and has won a solid seven points in three league games. “Rijeka is very respectful, has a strong defense, and her results clearly speak of great qualities, and we will try to instill our style of play, deciding every detail, and expecting a cautious run from both teams, the first goal scored can be key,” said the 35- Spaniard.