Karpaty vs Dynamo Kyiv – Saturday, December 8, 12:00GMT/14:00 EET – Stadion Ukraina, Lviv, Ukraine
The Futbolgrad Network top game of the weekend in Ukraine will take us to Lviv where local side Karpaty host the country’s most successful club Dynamo Kyiv. Not only will it be the meeting between two of the most recognised teams in the country but it will also be the final matchday of the calendar year as Ukrainian football will go on a lengthy break and not restart the season until the end of February.
For Karpaty this will be a key match. While the 1969 Soviet Cup winner is one of the most recognised names in Ukrainian football the club has somewhat struggled in recent years.
Well funded by the Ukrainian oligarch Petro Dyminsky during the second half of the 2010s Karpaty finished fifth in 2010 and 2011. But the involvement of local politics and youth groups at the club diminished the oligarch’s influence and the power of the club in recent years and made Karpaty a perennial relegation candidate that had to turn over every cent twice to make ends meet.
In fact, the financial situation at the club has forced Karpaty to play at the old Stadion Ukraina instead of the Arena Lviv, which was built for the 2012 European Championships. As a result, European adventures, like the one in 2010/11 where Karpaty had Borussia Dortmund on the brink of defeat but eventually lost 3-4, have been long a thing of the past.
This season Karpaty have collected 17 points from the first 17 games, and under head coach, José Morais embarked on an ambitious project the revitalise the club. The Portuguese head coach, who for some time worked under Jose Mourinho, however, left the club at the end of November to take over Korean side Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors. In his stead, the club appointed youth coordinator Oleg Boychyshyn on an interims basis. In his first task, he oversaw a 1-1 draw against newly promoted Arsenal Kyiv.
A task that will be much more complicated when Karpaty host Dynamo Kyiv. Like Karpaty Dynamo have been somewhat in a rebuild over the last two years.
The Ukrainian record champions and 13-times winner of the Soviet championship have been playing second fiddle to their biggest rivals Shakhtar Donetsk over the last two seasons. Coached by Aleksandr Khatskevich Dynamo would have won the title last year, however, had they not refused to travel to Mariupol citing security concerns. Mariupol were eventually awarded the three points, and Dynamo ended up finishing second just two points behind Shakhtar.
This season it is unlikely, however, that Dynamo will be able to challenge Shakhtar at all. After 17 games Dynamo have collected 35 points and are third seven points behind their biggest rival, and league leaders, Shakhtar. Sandwiched right between Shakhtar and Dynamo are Oleksandriya the biggest surprise package of the season thus far.
Where has it gone wrong for Dynamo? The biggest problem for Dynamo this season has been consistency. Between matchday 12 and 17 Dynamo have failed to win more than one game in a row. In fact, Dynamo lost three of their last five games, including against newly promoted side FK Lviv and Oleksandriya. Heading into the winter break with a win will, therefore, be crucial for Khatskevich as Dynamo are looking to close the gap to Shakhtar, but more importantly overtake Oleksandriya ahead of the winter break.
Karpaty vs Dynamo Kyiv – Players to look out for:
Marian Shved #10 – Karpaty
Marian Shved has been one of the most exciting players of this season’s Ukrainian Premier Liha. The 21-year-old Ukrainian striker has scored eight goals and three assists in 16 games for his club this year and is second in scoring behind Shakhtar’s Júnior Moraes (13 goals).
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.
Karpaty vs Dynamo Kyiv – Match Stats
- Karpaty have managed just three wins in their entire Ukrainian Premier Liha history.
- Their overall record against Dynamo is: W3 D7 L21.
- Two of those three victories came at home.
- Dynamo head coach Aleksandr Khatskevich, however, has a balanced record against Karpaty. In his three matches in charge against Karpaty he has managed one win, one draw and one defeat.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Karpaty vs Dynamo Kyiv – 1-2
Karpaty vs Dynamo Kyiv – Lineups
Kuchynsky – Fedetsky, Gueye, Lebedenko, Mehremic, Miroshnichenko – Di Franco, Erbes, Klyots – Hutsulyak, Shved
Head Coach: Oleg Boychyshyn
Boyko – Burda, Kedziora, Mykolenko, Shabanov – Shaparenko, Shepeliev, Sidcley, Tchê Tchê – Tsygankov, Verbić
Head Coach: Aleksandr Khatskevich
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.