Derbies of the week: Zagreb, Vienna & Istanbul
Fans are the lifeblood of any football club. They know they will turn up every week to cheer on their team, no matter the weather, time or place. At the start of the season though, every fan scours the fixture list to find the same matches - the derbies. These are the games that all fans relish more than any other. It’s all well and good winning against your league counterparts, but there is nothing more satisfying for a fan than to get one over your rivals. Twice a year, the victorious following get the chance to brag, boast, and bluster until the next derby comes along. We here at Copa90 know how important these derbies are for fans, not just in England but all over the globe. So, to show our love for what all fans have in common, we’re introducing a weekly segment dedicated to previewing the world’s derbies of the weekend.
Saturday 7th March
Dinamo Zagreb v NK Zagreb
14:00 GMT, Stadion Maksimir, Croatia First League
With five derbies to be played on Sunday, the first takes place in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. The second largest city in Bulgaria, Plovdiv plays host to the historic ‘Plovdiv Derby’ between Lokomotiv Plovdiv and Botev Plovdiv. This derby is always a heated affair, with police action often needed after the game. The traditionally lower class fans of Lokomotiv don’t see eye to eye with the upper class fans of Botev, and this friction is mirrored on the pitch.
FC Copenhagen v Brøndby IF
14:00 GMT, Parken Stadium, Denmark Superliga
Next up on Sunday is the biggest derby in Danish football, between the two biggest teams of FC Copenhagen and Brøndby IF. Known as the ‘New Firm’ derby (a play on the Old Firm rivalry between Celtic and Rangers), this is a fierce fixture that consistently draws the largest crowds in Denmark. With ten First Division titles each, historically speaking there is little to separate the two sides going in to the derby. As FC Copenhagen are currently seven points ahead of Brøndby IF in the league though, the visitors will be looking to close the points gap and earn the bragging rights till they next meet in early April. Check out what this match means to the fans in our Derby Days video.
Austria Vienna v Rapid Vienna
15:30 GMT, Franz Horr Stadion, Austria Bundesliga
Fenerbahçe v Galatasaray
17:00 GMT, Sükrü Saracoglu Stadium, Süper Lig
Next up on Sunday is undoubtedly one of the greatest football derbies in the world. Known in Britain as the ‘Intercontinental Derby’, this fixture is unmissable for any football fan. The derby is contested between two of the most successful clubs in the Süper Lig in Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray, and has developed into a popular yet fractious fixture. As the two Turkish sides with the biggest following, the fixture naturally provokes hooliganism and violence, despite the best efforts of the police. Sunday’s match is set to be a cracker, with both sides competing at the top of the Süper Lig. Get a feel for how intense this derby truly is by watching our Derby Days video here!
Cruzeiro v Atlético Mineiro
19:00 GMT, Estádio Governador Magalhães Pinto, Mineiro 1
For our final derby of the weekend, we hop over the Atlantic Ocean to Belo Horizonte, Brazil.The ‘Mineiro Classic’ is the biggest derby in Belo Horizonte, in which Atlético Mineiro and Cruzeiro battle it out for footballing superiority in the state of Minas Gerais. Holding a total of 70 trophies each, both clubs are incredibly popular in Minas Gerais and their record against each other is very balanced - in just over 450 matches, both sides have yet to reach 200 wins. Brazilian football is full of passion and excitement, but the ‘Mineiro Classic’ is an intensified version of this. Cruzeiro will be looking to make amends for the last time these two met, as Atlético Mineiro snuck a 1-0 win in the Brazilian Cup.