Young Boys will be keen to earn a UEFA Champions League group debut as they kick-off their play-off tie with home advantage, although to progress they will have to overcome experienced European campaigners Dinamo Zagreb.
• Young Boys were Swiss champions in 2017/18 – their 12th league title, but a first since 1986.
• This is Young Boys’ sixth UEFA Champions League campaign and fourth play-off – they have never reached the group stage. Twelve months ago, they lost home (0-1) and away (0-2) to CSKA Moskva, having previously been beaten at this stage by Tottenham (6-3 on aggregate) in 2010/11 and Borussia Mönchengladbach (2-9) in 2015/16.
• Young Boys did reach the semi-finals of the 1958/59 European Champion Clubs’ Cup, losing 3-1 over two legs against Stade de Reims.
• Before beating Albania’s Skënderbeu 2-1 on matchday six of last season’s UEFA Europa League, Young Boys were seven European games without a win (D3 L4).
• The Swiss club have won only one of their last six UEFA Champions League qualifying matches, losing the other five.
• This is Young Boys’ first European tie against Croatian opposition.
• Dinamo are unbeaten in their three previous matches against Swiss opponents (W1 D2). Their only previous trip to the country ended in a 5-0 success at Grasshoppers in the 1997/98 UEFA Cup first round second leg, completing a 9-4 aggregate success.
• The Zagreb club claimed a 19th Croatian league title in 2017/18, having had their run of 11 successive championships ended the previous season.
• Dinamo have reached the group stage on six previous occasions, and are bidding to qualify for the third time in four seasons. In 2017/18, they lost on away goals to Albania’s Skënderbeu in the UEFA Europa League play-offs.
• The Croatian champions have won three of their four games in qualifying this season, beating Israel’s Hapoel Beer-Sheva 7-2 on aggregate in the second qualifying round before a 3-0 defeat of Astana over two games.
• That extended Dinamo’s unbeaten European run to eight games, home and away (W4 D4) – they had lost their previous six.
• Dinamo’s record in UEFA Champions League play-offs is W4 L1 – that sole defeat coming against Austria Wien in 2013/14 (3-4 aggregate). They have also won three of their four UEFA Europa League play-offs.
Links and trivia
• Dinamo forward Izet Hajrović was born in Switzerland and represented the country at youth levels, winning a senior cap in 2012 before opting to play for Bosnia-Herzegovina.
• Hajrović and Young Boys midfielder Ulisses Garcia both started their professional career at Grasshoppers, and were Werder Bremen team-mates from 2016 to 2018.
• Dinamo forward Mario Gavranović was born in Lugano and has 16 senior caps for Switzerland, making two appearances at this summer’s FIFA World Cup. He started his professional career at Lugano and had spells with Yverdon-Sport, Neuchâtel Xamax and Zürich before moving to Croatia in 2016.
• Gavranović and Young Boys defender Loris Benito were Zürich team-mates from 2012 to 2014.