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The Champions League continues for FC Barcelona with a home game against Dynamo Kyiv on Wednesday at 9.00pm CET. The run of four games without a win in La Liga contrasts enormously to their excellent European form.
After impressive wins at home to Ferencváros (5-1) and away to Juventus (2-0), the Catalans will now be looking to make it three-out-of-three in an empty Camp Nou against a Ukrainian side that is arriving with just 13 players after half the squad tested positive for Covid-19.
Dynamo Kyiv: History
In the days of the Soviet Union, Dynamo Kyiv were not just the darlings of Ukrainian football but of the Ukrainian cause in general, and actually won more leagues (13) than any of the big Moscow clubs. They also won two European Cup Winners’ Cup titles and had two winners of the Ballon d’Or, Oleg Blokhin (1975) and Ihor Belanov (1986).
Following independence, Dynamo dominated the early years of the new Ukrainian league, once winning nine titles in a row. But rival clubs have grown stronger as the years have gone by, and particularly Shakhtar Donetsk, who as winners of nine of the last eleven leagues are, at least statistically, now the strongest force in the country.
Dynamo Kyiv: Form guide
Dynamo have had to settle for second place in the Ukrainian Premier League in the last four editions, but are currently unbeaten and four points clear of Shakhtar, who they play in a huge fixture on Saturday.
They had to qualify for the Champions League group stage, seeing off AZ Alkmaar of Holland (2-0) and Gent of Belgium (5-1 on aggregate).
Once there, they lost 2-0 at home to Juventus in their opening game and then drew 2-2 at Ferencváros.
Dynamo Kyiv: The players
Dynamo have been seriously hit by an outbreak of Covid-19 among their squad. While three players (Buschan, Mykolenko and Boyko) were already in quarantine, eight others (Tsitaishvili, Garmash, Duelund, Karavaev, Belutse and Shaparenko) have tested positive this week and been prevented from travelling. In addition to regular injuries this means only 13 first team players, the bare minimum required by UEFA regulations, have arrived in Catalonia, with both the first-choice goalkeepers among the absentees.
Most international caps: Denys Harmash (Ukraine, 30), Gerson Rodrigues (Luxembourg, 29), Benjamin Verbič (Slovenia, 29), Viktor Tsyhankov (Ukraine, 24), Serhiy Sydorchuk (Ukraine, 25), Oleksandr Karavayev (Ukraine, 22), Tomasz Kędziora (Poland, 18).
Dynamo Kyiv: The boss
Romanian Mircea Lucescu, one his country’s greatest players in the 1970s, later became manager of his national side and has since been in charge at such clubs as Inter Milan, Galatasaray, Shakhtar Donetsk (who he led to the UCL quarter finals, where they lost to Barça) and Zenit Saint Petersburg. Before taking the Dynamo job earlier this year, he had been coach of the Turkish national team.
Barça v Dynamo Kyiv: Head to head
Of all the six previous meetings between the teams, perhaps the most memorable have been those in 1993 and 1997. The former saw Barça bounce back from 3-1 defeat in Kyiv to win the return 4-1 in what many regard as the greatest game of the ‘Dream Team’ era.
But in 1997, it was the Ukrainians who had the upper hand. They won 3-0 in Kyiv, and then stunned the Camp Nou with a 4-0 victory. Andriy Shevchenko’s hat-trick that day was viewed as his first big step towards international stardom.
1990/91 Cup Winners' Cup Quarter Final
Barça won 4-3 on aggregate
1991/92 European Cup Group Stage
Kyiv 0-2 Barça / Barça 3-0 Kyiv
1993/94 Champions League Qualifying Round
Kyiv 3-1 Barça / Barça 4-1 Kyiv
1997/98 Champions League Group Stage
Kyiv 3-0 Barça / Barça 0-4 Kyiv
2009/10 Champions League Group Stage
Barça 2-0 Kyiv / Kyiv 1-2 Barça
Barça: Team news
Marc-Andre ter Stegen is back in the squad, and Gerard Piqué returns from a one-match suspension but Samuel Umtiti, Philippe Coutinho and Ronald Araujo are all still injured.
Ronald Koeman says
On Dynamo and Covid-19: "Of course missing so many players will affect their quality, but we should remember that the other day Shakhtar were missing players and beat Real Madrid.”
On the team's form: “I like how the team is working, we have changed the intensity in training and the players are listening and improving. We have to get more out of the players. They are creating more chances than anybody but need to be more clinical.”
On Tonny Bruins Slot: “It was very sad news because I know him very well. We have always had a very close friendship. He was a wonderful assistant here at Barça and a wonderful person. We will miss him.”
Did you know?
- Dynamo have not beaten a La Liga team in any of their last 14 attempts.
- Barça are on an unbeaten run of 22 games in the Champions League group stage.
- Leo Messi has scored 20 goals in his his last 24 Champions League games and in only two previous meetings with Dynamo he has scored both times. Gerard Piqué is the only other current Barça player to have ever scored against Dynamo.
- Mircea Lucescu has twice avoided defeat at Camp Nou. As manager of Galatasaray he got a 2-2 draw in 2001 and led Shakhtar to 3-2 victory in 2008.
- In all competitions, Dynamo’s top scorers this season are Viktor Tsygankov and Uruguayan Carlos de Pena with five each.
- Leo Messi has had more shots (11) than any other player in the competition so far.
- Today’s referee is Michael Oliver of England, the same man who was in charge of Barça’s 0-0 draw with Slavia Prague last season. He has never whistled Dynamo before.
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