2008–09 Croatian First Football League
11th Croatian title
15th domestic title
|Champions League||Dinamo Zagreb|
|Europa League||Hajduk Split|
|Goals scored||522 (2.64 per match)|
|Top goalscorer||Mario Mandžukić (16)|
|Biggest home win||Dinamo 6–0 Cibalia|
|Biggest away win||Varteks 1–6 Dinamo|
|Highest scoring||Rijeka 6–2 Slaven B.|
The 2008–09 Croatian First Football League (officially known as the T-Com Prva HNL for sponsorship reasons) was the eighteenth season of the Croatian First Football League, the national championship for men's association football teams in Croatia, since its establishment in 1992. It started on 27 July 2008 and ended on 31 May 2009. Dinamo Zagreb were the defending champions, having won their twelfth championship title the previous season, and they defended the title again, after a win against Slaven Belupo on 17 May 2009.
Promotion and relegation
Međimurje were automatically relegated to Druga HNL as they finished last in the previous season, while Croatia Sesvete were automatically promoted from Druga HNL after winning the 2007–08 title. In a two-legged playoff between Inter Zaprešić and Hrvatski dragovoljac, the former kept their Prva HNL status by beating Hrvatski dragovoljac with 2–0 on aggregate (2–0, 0–0).
In June 2007 Igor Štimac, president of Association of Prva HNL clubs, proposed a future expansion of Prva HNL from 12 to 16 clubs, starting from 2008–09 season. However, although a majority of club representatives supported that proposal, no strict agreement or final decision was made. On HNS meeting in late August 2007 it was decided to postpone the decision for late 2007 or even 2008 and that the expansion would not be possible before the 2009–10 season.
For more than a year nothing explicit was stated on that matter. Finally, on a regular HNS meeting in February 2009 HNS Secretary Zorislav Srebrić stated that club licensing would decide whether the 2009–10 season would feature 12 or 16 teams. Theoretically, if only 15 teams obtained Prva HNL license, league would have featured 12 teams. The deadline for submitting the license was 1 May 2009. On 8 May 2009 HNS declared that all 19 clubs that applied for the license were awarded with it and would be in possibility to enter the league in 2009–10, now expanded to 16 clubs. Also, on 26 May 2009 HNS received official confirmations from all 19 clubs in which they expressed their will to compete in next year's Prva HNL, what means that none of the clubs would withdraw from the league. However, despite their guarantee to compete in Prva HNL, Slavonac eventually withdrew although they finished fourth and earned direct access to 2009–10 Prva HNL. Their place was taken by Međimurje while sixth-placed Hrvatski Dragovoljac competed in a relegation play-offs.
Stadiums and locations
After the death of Hrvoje Ćustić during a game played at Zadar's Stanovi Stadium in March 2008, it was decided that the stadia for the 2008–09 season would have to pass a closer inspection to be deemed fit for first-league football. Since only 9 stadia managed to meet the requirements and obtain first-league license from the Croatian Football Federation, it was announced in May 2008 that some of the teams (Cibalia, Croatia Sesvete, Zadar and NK Zagreb) would have to share stadia and temporarily play their home games at other venues. Just before Round 1 kicked off, Cibalia managed to bring their stadium to standard, and in August, just before round 5, Zadar secured the licence to play their games at Stanovi Stadium.
Stadia and personnel
|Cibalia||Stanko Mršić||Vinkovci||Stadion HNK Cibalia|
|Croatia Sesvete||Milan Đuričić||Zagreb||Stadion Kranjčevićeva|
|Dinamo Zagreb||Krunoslav Jurčić||Zagreb||Stadion Maksimir|
|Hajduk Split||Ante Miše||Split||Stadion Poljud|
|Inter Zaprešić||Borimir Perković||Zagreb||Stadion ŠRC Zaprešić|
|Osijek||Tomislav Steinbrückner||Osijek||Stadion Gradski vrt|
|Rijeka||Robert Rubčić||Rijeka||Stadion Kantrida|
|Slaven Belupo||Mile Petković||Koprivnica||Gradski stadion u Koprivnici|
|Šibenik||Ivica Kalinić||Šibenik||Stadion Šubićevac|
|Varteks||Dražen Besek||Varaždin||Stadion Anđelko Herjavec|
|Zadar||Dalibor Zebić||Zadar||Stadion Stanovi|
|NK Zagreb||Luka Pavlović||Zagreb||Stadion Kranjčevićeva|
- 1 On final match day of the season, played on 31 May 2009.
|Team||Outgoing manager||Manner of departure||Date of vacancy||Replaced by||Date of appointment||Position in table|
|NK Zagreb||Miroslav Blažević||Luka Pavlović|
|Dinamo Zagreb||Zvonimir Soldo||Branko Ivanković|
|Slaven Belupo||Krunoslav Jurčić||Mile Petković|
|Hajduk Split||Robert Jarni||Goran Vučević|
|Croatia Sesvete||Zlatko Kranjčar||Ljupko Petrović|
|Rijeka||Zlatko Dalić||Mladen Ivančić|
|Osijek||Ilija Lončarević||Tomislav Steinbrückner|
|Zadar||Dalibor Zebić||Ivica Datković|
|Rijeka||Mladen Ivančić||Robert Rubčić|
|Inter Zaprešić||Milivoj Bračun||Borimir Perković|
|Hajduk Split||Goran Vučević||Ante Miše|
|Cibalia||Srećko Lušić||Stanko Mršić|
|Dinamo Zagreb||Branko Ivanković||Marijan Vlak|
|Croatia Sesvete||Ljupko Petrović||Zlatko Kranjčar|
|Zadar||Ivica Datković||Dalibor Zebić|
|Croatia Sesvete||Zlatko Kranjčar||Milan Đuričić|
|Dinamo Zagreb||Marijan Vlak||Krunoslav Jurčić|
|Pos||Team||Pld||W||D||L||GF||GA||GD||Pts||Qualification or relegation|
|1||Dinamo Zagreb (C)||33||23||5||5||71||26||+45||74||2009–10 UEFA Champions League Second qualifying round|
|2||Hajduk Split||33||21||5||7||59||25||+34||68||2009–10 UEFA Europa League Third qualifying round|
|3||Rijeka||33||17||5||11||50||44||+6||56||2009–10 UEFA Europa League Second qualifying round|
|4||Slaven Belupo||33||16||7||10||46||39||+7||55||2009–10 UEFA Europa League First qualifying round[a]|
|12||Croatia Sesvete (O)||33||6||8||19||31||66||−35||25[b]||Relegation play-off|
Rules for classification: 1) points; 2) goal difference; 3) number of goals scored.
(C) Champion; (O) Play-off winner.
- Because both cup finalists, Dinamo and Hajduk, qualified for Europe through their league positions, all three UEFA Europa League spots were given to teams according to their league positions, what means that fourth-placed Slaven Belupo also earned a spot in Europa League.
- Croatia Sesvete were docked 1 point due to unpaid debts to Imotski over player Darko Vučić.
Due to the expansion of Prva HNL to 16 clubs in the 2009–10 season, four clubs from 2008–09 Druga HNL were automatically promoted. Those should have been top four clubs, but since Slavonac withdrew their direct access spot was taken by fifth-placed Međimurje. Therefore, the 12th placed Croatia Sesvete played a two-legged relegation play-off against the 6th placed team of Druga HNL, Hrvatski Dragovoljac. Croatia Sesvete won 2–1 on aggregate and thereby earned a spot in the 2009–10 season.
|Hrvatski Dragovoljac||0 – 0||Croatia Sesvete|
|Ercegović 58' 84'||Report
|Croatia Sesvete||2 – 1||Hrvatski dragovoljac|
|Vojnović 10' 41' 62'
The schedule consisted of three rounds. During the first two rounds, each team played each other once home and away for a total of 22 matches. The pairings of the third round were then set according to the standings after the first two rounds, giving every team a third game against each opponent for a total of 33 games per team.
First and second round
|Home \ Away||CIB||CRS||DIN||HAJ||INT||OSI||RIJ||SLA||ŠIB||VAR||ZAD||ZAG|
Source: prva-hnl.hr (in Croatian)
1 ^ The home team is listed in the left-hand column.
2The match was suspended after 82 minutes due to heavy fog. However, since more than 80% of the game was played it was officially registered with the score at the moment of suspension (0–0).
Colours: Blue = home team win; Yellow = draw; Red = away team win.
|Home \ Away||CIB||CRS||DIN||HAJ||INT||OSI||RIJ||SLA||ŠIB||VAR||ZAD||ZAG|
Source: HRnogomet.com (in Croatian)
- 16 goals
- 15 goals
- 14 goals
- 12 goals
- 11 goals
- Goran Mujanović (Varteks)
- Ilija Sivonjić (Inter Zaprešić (8) / Dinamo Zagreb (3))
- Davor Vugrinec (NK Zagreb)
- Berislav Jelinić (28 August 2007). "'Liga 16' nogometu donosi 400 mil. kn" [League of 16 brings 400 million kuna to football] (in Croatian). Nacional (weekly). Archived from the original on 13 April 2009. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
- Liga 16 (zasad) stopirana (in Croatian)
- Licenciranje odlučuje o Ligi 16 (in Croatian)
- Njih 15, stadiona sedam (in Croatian)
- Svi žele u Prvu HNL (in Croatian)
- Međimurci direktno, Slavonac odustao (in Croatian)
- Zagreb u Maksimiru, Zadar na Šubićevcu (in Croatian)
- Zadar se vraća kući (in Croatian)
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- "Smijenjen Ilija Lončarević" (in Croatian). sportnet.hr. 26 September 2008. Archived from the original on 4 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-26.
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- "Cibalia dala otkaz Lušiću" (in Croatian). sportnet.hr. 10 November 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-13.
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- "Otišao Ivanković!" (in Croatian). sportnet.hr. 24 November 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-24.
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- Sesvećanima ipak oduzet bod Archived 2009-08-17 at WebCite (in Croatian)
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