Lokomotiva - RijekaI was planning to write this preview tomorrow after the match Dragovoljac-RNK Split, but the odds are dropping too fast.
Lokomotiva Zagreb finished second last season, but they are running to finish 4th now and have equal points with RNK Split. The fourth place is important because it leads to the Europa League. Lokomotiva will travel to Split to face their direct rivals, so this is the last home match for them. Split will surely have better head-to-head, so Lokomotiva must take advantage in this round to have situation in which a draw may guarantee them a place in the Europa League. The fact that they won 3:4 in Zadar in a match important for both teams shows signals that they're serious in their attempts to catch European competition again.
Rijeka are stronger than Lokomotiva, there's no doubt in it, but they are in a relaxed situation in the league, while they are hoping to win the trophy in the national cup. Rijeka won 0:1 in Zagreb against Dinamo in the first leg of the final of the national cup and welcomes the same opponent on 13.05. They are sure on the second place of the table and if you visit their facebook page or even their official page, you won't find anything about this match against Lokomotiva. Their fans are nervous because many of them couldn't take their reserved tickets for the final of the Cup. The whole city of Rijeka, the club and everyone around the club is talking only about Dinamo, they don't think at all about Lokomotiva. Also, both clubs are in close relations, but Lokomotiva is practically Dinamo 2, so I don't expect the key players to play for Rijeka. The coach will keep them fresh and healthy for Dinamo because he has enough problems with injuries, knowing that there are actually 3-4 injured players.
I see the dropping of the odds as very real and expect to continue. Because of that, I wrote this preview so early. If RNK Split win or lose, a draw in Zagreb will have the same effect for Lokomotiva. However, I'm on the opinion that they are willing to go to Split with a winning spirit and Rijeka will be the final test for that crucial match.