On Friday the draw for the third round of the Europa League qualifiers took place and Athletic Club fans around the world eagerly awaited to see who would be their opponent. The card was finally pulled to reveal that the Lions will be facing off with Romanian giants Dinamo Bucuresti. The Red Dogs, as they are nicknamed, were arguably the toughest team that Athletic could have drawn which has added quite a bit of drama in the buildup to the first leg which will take place on 27 July. With that being said, we decided to take a look at just who is Dinamo Bucuresti and provide fans with a scouting report on the Romanians.
Dinamo is the second most successful club in Romanian football history. They have won the league title 18 times, second only to bitter rivals Steaua Bucuresti who have won it 26 times. Dinamo’s last league title came back in 2007 but they have remained very competitive despite their lack of silverware. The Red Dogs have been a regular face in European competition and are notorious for their passionate fans who have come up with some amazing choreographed moments in the stands of Stadionul Stefan cel Mare.
The Romanians are known for their balanced style of play, but are also capable of being very physical like most clubs in their league. They like to use a target striker, aided by true wingers, while the midfield tries to create chances from deep. Though they aren’t known for playing a possession type of game, it is something that they have shown the ability to do if needed. Last year they had one of the best scoring records in their domestic league, but they did concede one of the highest amount of goals as well.
Speaking of last season, Dinamo did take a step back after losing some key talent in the squad. They finished sixth in the league, just escaping the relegation round by two points. However, they did go on to play well enough to qualify for this stage of the Europa League which was a great feat. Striker Adam Nemec led the team in scoring with 8 strikes and is still in the team, but the Red Dogs did lose a lot of other firepower. Valentin Lazar, Dorin Rotariu, and Harlem Gnohere combined for 18 goals and 8 assists but all left the club in the January transfer window.
To cope with the losses, Dinamo has signed Rivaldinho, the son of Barcelona legend Rivaldo, along with Uruguayan striker Juan Angel Albin who has joined the club on loan from Veracruz. The Romanians also signed Mallorca winger Diogo Salomao who they have high hopes for in the coming year. Additionally, manager Ioan Andone has left Dinamo after only one year in charge, although it was his third stint at the club. He has been replaced by Cosmic Contra who made over 100 appearances for the Red Dogs as a player.
Apart from football, Dinamo Bucuresti also shares the same colors as Athletic. They are known for wearing shirts with red and white stripes along with black shorts. Due to the color similarities it is expected that both clubs will have to use alternate kits during their two matches. The two legs are already shaping up to be physical and electric games full of intensity. The Romanians are not a club to take lightly, though they have undergone a lot of change over the summer. The first match will take place in Bucharest on 27 July, meaning Cuco Ziganda will have less than two weeks to finish preparing his team for the encounter. Athletic Club were hoping for an easier draw, but nothing comes easily in the Europa League.