The Maribor players have not won in the last three matches of the First League, but now they have a derby with their eternal rival Olimpija, their neighbor in the table, who have a point more after six matches.
“Every match between Maribor and Olimpija, regardless of the position in the table, is a derby. There is no favorite in the derby. The factor of the home field, circumstances of one kind or another, can always come into play. The statistics that talk about the ratio of matches between each other in Ljubljana since 2019 may even suit us, because there is also the second part of the theory of big numbers. It will happen once,” the purple coach told the club’s website before the derby, which will take place on Saturday at 20:15 in Ljubljana Damir Krznar.
In the last two rounds, the eternal rivals lost against Celje. Olimpija with 4:2 on home turf, Maribor with 2:0 away. But before that, Krznar’s team drew with Domžala and Rogaška, and the dragons, who will spend the autumn in Europe for the first time in the club’s history, celebrated four times in the last five matches:I try to look at things realistically. The situation is not good, but it is not catastrophic. It’s true that we’ve gone on a streak without a win. I won’t mention Rogaška again, we played poorly against Domžale, but against Celje we had the most entries into the last third and the opponent’s penalty area throughout the season, even if we include the European trials against the Maltese and Luxembourgers. This is something we can emphasize and hold on to. It is a certain indicator, but at the same time it means a challenge for us as a professional staff to improve efficiency.”
Continued injury problems
“Of course, the numbers are the most authoritative, there is no doubt about that. We are understandably not satisfied with the image of the table and our points gain. We should have more points. The situations are often similar, but never exactly the same. We felt that we had lost our way into a problem that was noticeable already during the previous season. At almost a similar stage of the season. I won’t say it was indifference, but what happened was that the guys gave in to the situation and that’s how to change the state of mind, the mentality , we were mostly engaged in the previous two weeks,” Krznar added.
Still, the headaches of putting together the playing staff are causing him injuries: “Along with Jakupović, I think that our captain will not be able to play either. Milec is struggling with back pain. Soudani is not yet ready to perform, nor is Kolar. This slightly reduces the room for maneuver in the offensive part, but now Castro has a certain advantage over the others. But we also have positive information, since Monday, Iličić has been training again with a full load, who always brings something to our game. With his creativity, he enables different solutions and means a lot to the team.”
Olimpija scores a lot of goals, but also concedes a lot of them
“Certain matters are similar even under the leadership of the new coach. The difference is, for example, in the awakening of Nukić, who is playing again and has gained the coach’s trust. They are still an attack-oriented team that scores a lot of goals. But he also receives a lot of them. They now differ in some characteristics, as they often play with two back federal players. They still have similar principles in the phase of opening the game, the beginning of attacks, but the handwriting of the new coach is also noticeable,” said the Croatian expert on the Maribor bench about the Olimpija game.
“Ahead of us is the derby, always a match of additional importance. If any match can be a turning point, it is undoubtedly the derby. Success would mean a lot to us and bring additional momentum for the rest of the season. We are aware that things did not go according to plan before the national team break, let the new chapter now be in a similar rhythm to the opening part of the season.” he delivered Mark Strajnar.
8th round, Saturday at 15:00: ALUMINUM – ROGAŠKA
At 17.30: MURA – BRAVO
At 20.15: OLYMPIA – MARIBOR Referee: Matej Jug (Tolmin)
Sunday at 3:00 p.m.: KALCER RADOMLJE – DOMŽALE
At 20.15: KOPER – CELJE Referee: Rade Obrenović (Ljubljana)