Manuel Veth –
Dynamo Kyiv vs Jablonec – Thursday, December 13, 18:55GMT/19:55CET – NSK Olimpiyskyi, Kyiv, Ukraine
Three victories in a row have taken Dynamo Kyiv through to the UEFA Europa League knockout phase as winners of Group K. At the same time, it was not the success in the Europa League that was at the forefront ahead of the match but rather where this game would take place.
With Shakhtar forced to move their final game of the UEFA Champions League from Kharkiv to Dynamo’s home stadium the NSK Olimpiyskyi, there have been rumours that Dynamo, in turn, might be forced to play their final game in the Europa League group stage at the Lobanovskyi Stadium. Rumours that were shut down this weekend with UEFA and the club confirming that the game will go ahead at the Olimpiyskyi as planned.
“We are supporting Shakhtar’s decision to move to the Olimpiyskyi,” Dynamo President Ihor Surkis told the media this weekend. “Yes, of course, the state of the field on the day after the match between Shakhtar and Lyon won’t be ideal, but we will try to win the game in the Europa League nonetheless,” Surkis added.
Not that Dynamo really need to. The Ukrainian side are already confirmed group winners. Furthermore, Dynamo will not have another match until February as the Ukrainian Premier League concluded the first half of the season and will now shut down for the winter.
On Saturday Dynamo easily dispatched Karpaty 4-0 retaking the second spot from high-flying Oleksandriya. Seven points behind rivals Shakhtar the focus will now be on the winter preparations and the second half of the season in which Dynamo want to catch up with the league leaders.
And Jablonec? The Czechs are third in the HET Liga standings. Ten points behind league leaders Slavia, however, it s unlikely that the team coached by Petr Rada will have any influence on the Czech title this season. Hence, the game on Thursday is nothing more than a glorified friendly that will very much be overshadowed by Shakhtar’s must-win game that will take place the previous day at the same stadium.
Dynamo Kyiv vs Jablonec – Players to look out for:
Mykola Shaparenko #10 – Dynamo Kyiv
Mykola Shaparenko is one of the biggest talents in Ukrainian football. The 20-year-old made his debut last year but whereas Dynamo have struggled this season has been one of the most improved players in the team this season. The improvement has been evident when looking at this statistical numbers in comparison to last year. Last year Mykola Shaparenko averaged 0.08 goals per game, this year that number has gone up to 0.59 goals per game (all senior competitions). More selfish in front of goal Shaparenko is now more dangerous when going forward having improved his shots per game from 2.3 to 3.32 with 57.7% of those shots on target.
Michal Trávník #10 – FK Jablonec
The Czech midfielder will be familiar with some of the Ukrainian opposition. Having played for the Czech national team in the UEFA Nations League – League B Group 1 earlier this year, the Czechs were defeated by a strong Ukrainian side. Trávník will hope to make amends for the national team’s loss, and Jablonec’s 2-2 draw in the return fixture. The winger has been in excellent form for his side scoring eight goals and seven assists in 17 HET Liga games this season.
Dynamo Kyiv vs Jablonec – Match Stats
- Jablonec held Dynamo at home on matchday two, coming from two goals down to draw 2-2 and earn their first ever group stage point. It was the Czech side’s maiden encounter with Ukrainian opposition in UEFA competition.
- Dynamo have hosted Czech clubs on seven previous occasions and been victorious six times, all of those wins having been achieved with clean sheets.
- The exception was a 0-1 defeat to Sparta Praha in the second qualifying round of the 1998/99 UEFA Champions League, but they won the second leg of that tie by the same score and went through in a penalty shoot-out.
- Jablonec have managed just two points from their first five fixtures and lost the last two – 1-2 at Astana and 0-1 at home to Rennes, the first game in which they failed to score.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Dynamo Kyiv vs Jablonec – 4-2
Dynamo Kyiv vs Jablonec – Lineups
Boyko – Mykolenko, Pantić, Kádár, Kedziora – Shaparenko, Sydorchuk, Shepeliev – Tsygankov, Biesiedin, Verbić
Head Coach: Aleksandr Khatskevich
Hruby – Hanousek, Lischka, Hovorka, Holes – Kubista, Hübschmann – Kratochvil, Povazanec, Travnik – Dolezal
Head Coach: Petr Rada
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others works for the Bundesliga and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.