Preview: Bodo/Glimt vs. Dinamo Zagreb 

Preview: Bodo/Glimt vs. Dinamo Zagreb 

Bodo/Glimt take on Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League qualification playoff round, with the winner of the two legs progressing to the group stage.

The Norwegian champions have never made it to the group stage of the Champions League.

Indeed, having only been promoted ahead of the 2018 season, Bodo/Glimt have enjoyed a remarkable rise in recent years, winning Norway’s Eliteserien division for the first time in 2020 before retaining it last season.

Den Gule Horde could not make it past the first qualifying round of the Champions League last year, as they lost 5-2 on aggregate to Legia Warsaw, but this time around they have beaten KI Klaksvik, Linfield and Zalgiris to set up a final round showdown with the Croatian champions.

Kjetil Knutsen’s side have undoubtedly gathered invaluable experience from their impressive run to the Europa Conference League quarter-finals last season, having beaten Roma 2-1 at home at that stage before falling 4-0 at Stadio Olimpico in the second leg.

Bodo/Glimt had, of course, already sensationally thrashed Jose Mourinho’s side 6-1 in the group stage, but it is a different group stage altogether which they have their sights on this campaign.

Reaching Europe’s elite competition proper for the first time in their history would be a remarkable achievement by Knutsen and his players, while potentially taking the club to new levels financially. However, the 53-year-old will be more than aware that his team’s forthcoming opponents represent a major step up on any of their previous round opponents.

After all, Dinamo Zagreb have been here and done it before on several occasions in recent times, having qualified for the group stage of the Champions League on five occasions since 2011.

Ante Cacic, who is in his second spell in charge of Modri, came in just after the first of those campaigns, after which Dinamo Zagreb had been knocked out of the competition without a single point taken from a tough group alongside Real Madrid, Ajax and Lyon.

The Croatian champions surprisingly fell at the playoff qualifying round last season, when Moldovan side Sheriff Tiraspol stunned them 3-0 on aggregate to qualify for the group stage for the first time in their history.

Having guided his side past Shkupi and Ludogorets Razgrad, Cacic will be desperate for history not to repeat itself against Bodo/Glimt this month.

Bodo/Glimt Champions League form:
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Bodo/Glimt form (all competitions):
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Dinamo Zagreb Champions League form:
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Dinamo Zagreb form (all competitions):
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We say: Bodo/Glimt 2-2 Dinamo Zagreb
Bodo/Glimt have won all three of their home matches during this season’s qualifying rounds, but the visitors will undoubtedly present them with a tougher challenge.

In what should be an open, entertaining encounter, we can envisage a score draw, which would provide the Croatian champions with the advantage upon their return home.

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