It is time for the biggest game in Serbian football, as Partizan welcomes Crvena Zvezda tomorrow evening in Belgrade.
Have you ever heard about the Serbian Eternal Derby, one of the most intense football games on the whole Balkans?
It features the country’s most successful sides Partizan and Crvena Zvezda (Red Star), both located in Belgrade.
The 161st league edition of the fixture is scheduled for this Sunday (September 22nd) at 18:00 (CET).
📋 The club’s message to children, teachers and coaches..
“Last night we sent the most beautiful picture to the world.
“In front of Europe, thousands of children supported their beloved team, conveying a message of love, peace, togetherness, sports tolerance and fair play.”
— Partizan Belgrade 🇬🇧 (@FKPartizanEN) September 20, 2019
The hosts will enter the derby on the back of a 2-2 draw against 10-men AZ Alkmaar in the UEFA Europa League opener last Thursday.
Crvena Zvezda, on the other hand, opened their second successive Champions League campaign with a 3-0 defeat at Bayern Munich.
The Red Stars are former European champions, as they won the final edition of the European Cup back in 1991, beating Olympique Marseille on penalties in Bari.
Partizan have also reached the final of the European Cup in 1966, but lost 2-1 to Real Madrid at the Heysel Stadium in Brussels, throwing away a one-goal lead in the last 20 minutes of the game.
Israeli midfielder Bibras Natkho, who scored both goals in the Europa League opener vs AZ will lead Partizan in the encounter with their arch-rivals this weekend.
Keep an eye on former Premier League players Zoran Tosic (Manchester United) and Lazar Markovic (Liverpool, Hull City and Fulham).
The rule says four foreign players can start for either side, which means Crvena Zvezda will most probably start with former Chelsea midfielder Marko Marin, Jose Canas, Mateo Garcia and Richmond Boakye.
Defender Milan Rodic could return in the visitors’ starting line up, after quickly gaining match fitness during the week.
Talk to the press
Partizan head coach Savo Milosevic, known for his playing days at Aston Villa, Zaragoza and Parma, says expectations are always the highest whey the Black and Whites play at home.
“I don’t have many things to say to you because we only had one recovery training,” he said at the press conference.
“We have preparatory training tonight and we do not yet have a specific state and situation. Expectations are always the highest, we will try to get a result that will leave us in the race for the title.
“We will try to get the best result possible. We play at home, and all the games this season at home we played quite well, despite some draws. If we repeat such a game, we have something to hope for.”
In their most recent encounter, Partizan defeated Crvena Zvezda 1-0 in the Serbian Cup Final last season.
In the league, however, the Black and Whites have not registered a win in the last six Eternal Derbies since April 2017.
— FK Crvena zvezda (@crvenazvezdafk) September 18, 2019
Crvena Zvezda has noted only two league wins at Partizan in the past decade, with their most recent one coming in February 2012.
They have a perfect record in the 2019-20 season with six wins in six games in the season so far.
Partizan, on the other hand, have dropped four points, but are yet to lose in the new season.
The Red Stars suffered only one defeat in the Serbian Super Liga in 2019, losing 3-2 in Cukaricki back in April.