Hajduk Split: What you need to know

Padraig Whelan

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Padraig Whelan

Hajduk Split: What you need to know
Dundalk take on Hajduk Split in the second qualifying round of the Europa League. But just who are the Croatians?

Dundalk take on Hajduk Split in the second qualifying round of the Europa League. But just who are the Croatians?

There is a familiar face in the form of manager Igor Tudor, who played almost 10 years with Italian giants Juventus. Tudor is in his first job in management after progressing from the youth team.

Hajduk play at the 35,000-seater Stadion Poljud in Split and were founded in 1911, winning their first game 9-0 against a local side.

The Lilywhites will be hoping to catch them on the hop as their domestic season does not start until next Sunday, when they host Istra.

In preparation, they have played four friendlies in a short pre-season tour of Slovenia. Among the notable results were a 10-2 win over Omladinac Vranjic and a 3-0 loss against Russian outfit Kuban Krasnodar.

The Bili have strengthened over the summer by bringing in Brazilian midfielder named Jo - not to be confused with the ex-Manchester City flop - a 25-year-old signed from Istra but he is struggling for full fitness.

He joins an already strong squad, packed with talent including two players who started last month in the World Cup in Brazil with Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Tino Susic, 22, came on as a substitute in their second group game against Nigeria and started their third group game against Iran while clubmate Advija Vrsajevic, 28, only played in the third group game against Iran but had a big impact - scoring the third goal in a 3-1 win.

This Hajduk squad is a young one with the average age of the 28-man squad just 22-years-old, the club having a strong policy to promote from their burgeoning youth academy.

Hajduk Split are one of the biggest names in Croatian football with European history too. Thave won 18 national league titles - last winning it in 2004/05) - 15 National Cups and six Croatian Super Cups.

They are three-time Champions League/European Cup quarter-finalists (last doing so in 1994/95), Cup Winners Cup semi-finalists in 1972/73 and UEFA Cup semi-finalists in 1983/84.

The famous Torcida Split supporters group was founded on October 28, 1950 and is the oldest such group in Europe while the squad number 12 is retired as a tribute to the supporters - for being their 12th man.

They demand success and are hard on players who don’t deliver. They award a famous ‘Heart of Split’ trophy to the player they deem to have had the best season for the club. Twice, due to below-par performances, they have chosen not to honour anyone and once even gave it to the entire youth academy.

Notable former players to have played for the club include Nikica Jelavic, Stipe Pletikosa, Igor Tudor, Niko Kranjcar, Alen Boksic, Igor Stimac and Darijo Srna.