Slavia Praha vs Dynamo Kyiv – Tuesday, August 7, 18:30 BST/19:30 CEST – Eden Arena, Prague, Czech Republic
Owned by a Chinese investment group the future was supposed to belong to Slavia Praha at the end of the 2016/17 season. The club had just won its fourth title, and major investments in the squad were supposed to ensure Champions League qualification.
The likes of Danny, Tomas Necid and Halil Altintop all disappointed, however. The club was eliminated at the playoff stage of the Champions League and then failed to get past the group stage of the Europa League.
Domestically, Slavia Praha finished behind Viktoria Plzen. As a result, the squad was somewhat overhauled over the summer with many of the old star players being sold, or let go, and replaced with younger players like Nigerian Peter Olayinka (Gent), Alexandru Baluta (Craiova), Jaroslav Zeleny (Jablonec) and Vladimir Coufal (Slovan Liberec).
As a result, Slavia’s average squad age is just 25.7 this season. Early results suggest that the injection of youth has worked. Slavia have won the first three matches of the HET Liga in convincing fashion and will head into the third round qualifier with some much-needed confidence.
That confidence will be necessary against Dynamo Kyiv. The Ukrainian record champions will be heading into the game on Tuesday after beating eternal rivals Shakhtar Donetsk 1-0 on Friday.
Dynamo finished second behind Shakhtar in the Ukrainian Premier League last season. Two points behind Shakhtar Dynamo would have potentially won the league had they not refused to travel to Mariupol at the first stage of the season.
The club cited security concerns and wanted the game moved. An eventual law case ruled against Dynamo and the three points from that match were awarded to Mariupol. Those three points would have been enough to make the club champions.
Coached by former Dynamo midfielder Aleksandr Khatskevich Dynamo, however, look like the early favourites to win the Ukrainian title this season. Khatskevich has successfully integrated youth players into the first squad and the club, for the first time in two years, also has made some significant signings that make Dynamo an exciting proposition to watch – both at home and abroad.
Slavia Praha vs Dynamo Kyiv- Players to look out for:
Milan Skoda #21 – Slavia Praha
Milan Skoda is Slavia Praha’s biggest attacking threat. The 32-year-old Czech striker has scored 74 goals and 27 assists in 195 games for Slavia. A tall striker Skoda usually plays on top of a 4-2-3-1 formation and is dependent from the services he receives from the attacking midfielders. The striker has come off to a good start this season scoring two goals in his first two games in the HET Liga.
Viktor Tsygankov #15 – Dynamo Kyiv
Viktor Tsygankov continues his stellar development. The 20-year-old attacking midfielder has been a full first team member of Dynamo for two straight seasons. Dynamo, in fact, were convinced enough by the winger’s talent to sell Andriy Yarmolenko last summer. At home on the right flank of a three-man attacking midfield Tsygankov does not quite have Yarmolenko’s physical presence and instead shines with his technical ability and dribbling qualities.
Slavia Praha vs Dynamo Kyiv – Match Stats
- Both teams entering at this stage
- Slavia were last in group stage in 2007/08
- Dynamo reached group stage in 2016/17
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Slavia Praha vs Dynamo Kyiv – 0-2
Slavia Praha vs Dynamo Kyiv – Lineups
Kolar – Boril, Deli,
Head Coach: Jindrich Trpisovsky
Boyko – Morozyuk, Kádár, Burdar, Kedziora – Shepelev, Sydorchuk – Verbić, Buyalsky, Tsygankov – Besiedin
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.