Napoli vs Dynamo Kyiv on Wednesday will be far more important for the South Italian club, as Dynamo Kyiv have more or less been eliminated from European football this season. In fact this year’s Champions League group stage was a major disappointment for Ukraine’s most historic club.
Last season Dynamo Kyiv managed to qualify for the round of 16 for the first time since 1999-00. With back-to-back national titles, there was hope that Dynamo could once again build a dynasty reminiscent of the team that almost reached the UEFA Champions League final in 1999.
This season has been a major disappointment, however, as head coach Serhiy Rebrov has struggled to build on the success of the last two seasons without his Spanish assistant manager Raul Riancho. The Spaniard left the club to assist Andriy Shevchenko at the Ukrainian national team, and since then Rebrov has struggled to find the right shape for his team on the pitch.
Another major factor is the departure of Aleksandar Dragović. The Austrian defender left Dynamo Kyiv this summer for the Bundesliga side CSKA Moscow, and without him the Ukrainian defender Yevhen Khacheridi has looked surprisingly ordinary, after two seasons in which he seemed at the verge of making the transition to a major league himself.
Another Dynamo player, the winger Andriy Yarmolenko, has stagnated in the Ukrainian Premier League. The winger signed a new contract with Dynamo in October 2015 with a salary that would have been unjustifiable for any club in Western Europe.
Perhaps the only positive to take from Dynamo’s disappointing Champions League season is the fact that Rebrov has been able to field several talents from Dynamo’s academy, and with Viktor Tsygankov the club seems to have uncovered a major talent. With no hope of extending Dynamo’s European season into the spring, Rebrov now has two Champions League games in which to test his young stars in the most competitive football environment on the planet.
With the result against Napoli secondary it would therefore not be a surprise if Dynamo field an experimental side, especially as they want to focus on the league where they need to secure the second spot in order to qualify for the qualification stage of the 2017-18 Champions League season.
Futbolgrad’s Prediction: Napoli vs Dynamo Kyiv 3-1
Reina – Ghoulam, Chiriches, Koulibaly, Hysaj – Allan, Diawara, Hamšík – Insigne, Mertens, Callejón
Manager: Maurizio Sarri
Rudko – Makarenko, Vida, Khacheridi, Morozyuk – Garmash, Rybalka, Sydorchuk – Tsygankov, Biesiedin, Yarmolenko
Manager: Serhiy Rebrov