He is not an adversary like the others. This Thursday in the Europa League, the Stade Rennais will play a very symbolic match against Dynamo Kyiv. And obviously, the terrible context that affects Ukraine is at the center of all thoughts. As the Russian invasion that began at the end of February continues, facing the club in the Ukrainian capital is no small matter. And ask about the state of formation in kyiv before this appointment.
The Dynamo have slowly returned to their daily lives with the restart of their national championship. In addition to their Champions League qualifying campaign and their two Europa League outings (note: two defeats), Mircea Lucescu’s side played four league games. Because the Ukrainian Premier League manages to take place for the time being. “Most games were played without incident“, tells us Andrew Todos, founder of the specialized site Zorya Londons on Ukrainian football.
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Air raid sirens before and during the match
However, the war obviously makes this national championship play unique. The threat is never far away. “During the match between Rukh and Metalist in Lviv on behalf of the first day, there were four times sirens due to air raids before and during the match.explains the Ukrainian football journalist. Thus, the match took 4.5 hours to complete, with all teams and media having to go to bomb shelters every time a siren sounded. Some other matches were also temporarily halted or had starts delayed. However, fortunately there were no attacks or missile strikes near the stadiums.“.
In this heavy environment, Dynamo kyiv tries to do its best. But his start to the season is weak if we limit ourselves to the sports field. In the European scene where the club lost its first two Europa League games but also in the league with two defeats in four games. And it is not necessarily related to the fact that Dinamo lost elements while FIFA gave foreign players and coaches who played in Ukraine and Russia the possibility to sign contracts elsewhere until June 30, 2023.”Kyiv saw the departure of some foreign players such as Benjamin Verbic, Carlos De Pena, Eric Ramirez or Vitinho, observes Andrew Everyone. However, these losses cannot really be called detrimental. Most of the workforce was already Ukrainian and Dynamo was able to retain its hard core.” Unlike, for example, Shakhtar Donetsk, which is unrecognizable without its Brazilians.
Less interest in club football given the current context
For Mircea Lucescu, this difficult start to the season is explained more by the context. And the limitations imposed on the Dynamo, forced to travel to the Ukraine but also outside the Ukraine every three days. In his opinion, this has repercussions on the psychological and physical level of his protégés, while the Dinamo formation must play these games “at home” on the European stage in Poland because of the war. “Last month, the Dynamo lost two key players, Mykola Shaparenko and Georgiy Bushchan, to injuries. However, Shaparenko is arguably the best player on the team, thanks to his impact on playmaking, pace management and ball control. Without him, the Dynamo lacks inspiration.“, remarks the founder of Zorya Londons.
Although the two clubs met in the same competition in 2018-2019, with two wins for the Dynamo (3-1 and 2-1), the Stade Rennais will therefore find the Ukrainians diminished. But like the gesture of the Breton club that offered 200 places to Ukrainian refugees for this match according to L’Equipe, this meeting cannot be reduced to a purely sporting issue.
Although this European campaign of the club from the Ukrainian capital does not unleash passions. “Dynamo kyiv remains one of the most popular clubs in Ukraine, if not the most popular. However, compared to the national team, for example, there is much less interest in club football as a whole given the current war context.confirms Andres All. And since the results are not there, we can say that their performances were a little less inspiring than those of Shakhtar, for example..”
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