Partizan vs Dynamo Kyiv – Thursday, September 28, 20:05 BT/20:05 CET Partizan Stadium, Belgrade.
Partizan vs Dynamo Kyiv is almost a match of a bygone era. The game takes us back to a time of the Iron Curtain when the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia were both communist states and reluctant allies. Long gone are the days were Soviet teams could be dissolved to losing to an estranged Communist cousin, like it was the case for the Red Army side CDKA after the Soviet Union lost in the round of 16 at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki.
Today Partizan and Dynamo Kyiv represent two countries that are still dealing with the realities of post-Communist empires. Dynamo Kyiv was one of the two most dominant teams in the Soviet Union and when the two clubs last met in 1977 was one of the biggest clubs in Soviet Empire. When the wall collapsed burying the Soviet Union Dynamo became the master of Ukrainian football. That dominance was broken in the 2000s and a fleeting moment in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 championship years was lost when the Surkis brothers, who own Dynamo, came under financial pressure.
Last year Dynamo once again collapsed in the shadow of their biggest rival Shakhtar. Financial trouble meant that successful coach Serhiy Rebrov left and the team’s biggest star Andriy Yarmolenko had to be sold. Leaving for Borussia Dortmund his €25 million transfer fee gives Dynamo the ability to rebuild under new head coach Aleksyandar Khatskevich.
A former star of Dynamo Khatskevich mostly relies on youth players and the likes of Dieumerci Mbokani and Junior Moares, who were sent out on loan by Rebrov. Under Khatskevich both have found their scoring touch again and are now looking to resurrect their respective careers. An early victory against Shakhtar in the league then suggested that Dynamo could once again challenge for the title. A recent draw against Veres Rivne and disappointment in Champions League qualification shows, however, that the reality is a long rebuild with very little resources.
Partizan in the meantime are showing signs that the long rebuild could be finally over. The powerhouse of Serbian football has struggled with post-Yugoslavia’s reality of playing in a small country with little to no resources available. The full force of capitalism also have meant that Partizan frequently loses its brightest talents to the big leagues in Western Europe. Poor management and complicated ownership structures in Serbian football have done the rest.
Perhaps changes to Serbian football ownership will fix Partizan’s complicated situation in the long-term. Meanwhile, Dynamo are looking to lick their wounds sustained from their Champions League and Ukrainian league campaign failures with a long run in the Europa League. The Ukrainian giants have certainly shown in the past that they can go deep in this competition and will certainly be the favourites on Thursday night in what will be a heated match in Belgrade that should not only fascinate the nostalgic.
Partizan vs Dynamo Kyiv – Players to look out for:
Zoran Tosić #7 – Partizan
Zoran Tosić has returned to Serbian football. Brought through Partizan’s youth academy, Tosić joined Manchester United in 2009 without ever breaking into the first squad. A loan move to 1.FC Köln in 2010 provided the big breakthrough and a big money move to CSKA Moscow. Joining CSKA in the summer of 2010 Tosić remained with the Red Army club for seven years winning three Russian championships and two Russian Cups.
Derlis González #25 – Dynamo Kyiv
With Dynamo Kyiv refusing to sell Andriy Yarmolenko Derlis González was long considered the club’s biggest potential financial asset. Several clubs have shown interest in the last two transfer windows, but with Yarmolenko joining Borussia Dortmund this summer the Paraguayan national team player all of a sudden has a bigger role to play in Khatskevich’s system.
Partizan vs Dynamo Kyiv – Match Stats
- The sides’ only past encounter was in the first round of the 1976/77 European Cup when Valeriy Lobanovskiy’s Dynamo beat Tomislav Kaloperović’s Partizan 3-0 at home and 2-0 in Belgrade.
- Partizan’s overall record in eight meetings with Ukrainian clubs is W2 D1 L5.
- Dynamo also eliminated Partizan’s neighbours Crvena Zvezda on away goals after 0-0 and 1-1 draws in a 2000-01 UEFA Champions League qualifier, and are thus unbeaten in four meetings with Serbian opponents: W2 D2.
Futbolgrad’s Prediction: Partizan vs Dynamo Kyiv 1-1
Partizan vs Dynamo Kyiv – Possible Lineups
Jovicic – Antonov, Mitrović, Miletić, Vulicević – Marjanović, Radin – Pantić, Djuricković – Tawamba, Ozegović
Manager: Miroslav Djukić
Koval – Pivaric, Kádár, Khacheridim Morozyuk – González, Sydorchuk, Buyalsky, Tsyhankov – Mbokani, Junior Moraes
Manager: Aleyksandr Khatskevich
Manuel Veth is a freelance journalist and social media junior editor at Bundesliga.com. He is also a holder of 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 will be available in print soon. 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.