The Croatian Second Football League (Croatian: Druga hrvatska nogometna league or more often Druga HNL or 2nd HNL) is the second highest football league in Croatia. The league was founded in 1991 with the dissolution of the Yugoslav second division and is run by the Croatian Football Association.
Between the 2001/02 season and the 2005/06 season, the league was divided into two divisions, one was the Northern Croatian Second Division and the other the South Croatian Second Division. Each of these two leagues consisted of twelve teams playing for a system quite similar to the Prva HNL. Since the beginning of the 2006/07 season, however, the United Croatian Second League consists of twelve teams from across the country. The descent from this department takes place in one of the regional departments of Treća HNL.
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On 25 April 2019, the Croatian Football Federation announced the completion of the first phase of the licensing procedure for the 2019-20 season. For the period 2019-20 Druga HNL, the clubs received a second-tier license: BSK, Dinamo Zagreb II, Hajduk Split II, Kustošija, Međimurje, Osijek II, Sesvete, Šibenik. In the second phase of the licensing process, clubs that had not been licensed in the first round appealed the decision. On May 25, 2019 all remaining Druga HNL received the second division license and the third division clubs Cibalia, Croatia, Dubrava, Dugopolje, Hr. Dragovoljac, Orijent 1919, Rudeš and Solin.
Lučko were relegated to last place by the 2018-19 Druga HNL, and Zadar were relegated administratively by the Croatian Football Association. Varaždin were promoted to Prva HNL as the champion of the 2018-19 Druga HNL.
Rudeš was relegated from Prva HNL. Orijent 1919 and Dubrava were carried by Treća HNL West, Cibalia by Treća HNL East and Croatia Zmijavci by Treća HNL South.
Hajduk Split are the only Croatian club to have played in the knockout stages of the European Cup or the UEFA Champions League, either in the Yugoslav era or since independence, and have already reached the quarter-finals three times (1975/76). 1979-80 and 1994-95). Dinamo Zagreb have already qualified for the group stage of the Champions League six times (1998-99, 1999-2000, 2011-12, 2012-13, 2015-16 and 2016-17), but still have to improve.
Hajduk are also the only Croatian club to survive the UEFA Cup / Europa League knockout rounds, reaching the semi-finals in 1983/84 and the quarter-finals in 1985/86. They also reached the last 16 in the 1981/82 and 1986/87 UEFA Cup, while Dinamo Zagreb retired in the same round in 1997/98 and 2018/19. The Croatian clubs had their most consistent success in the recent UEFA Cup Winners' Cup. Both Dinamo Zagreb (1960-61) and Hajduk Split (1972-73) reached the semi-finals of the competitions. Dinamo also reached the quarter-finals in the years 1964-65 and 1969-70, while Hajduk retired at this stage in the years 1977-78. The UEFA Cup Winners' Cup is also the only European competition where Croatian clubs other than Dinamo and Hajduk have reached the advanced stadiums. Rijeka reached the quarter-finals in the 1979-80 edition, while Vartek's 1998-99, the last edition of the competition, reached the quarter-finals.
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