Dynamo Kyiv vs Napoli Champions League Preview

Dynamo Kyiv vs Napoli Champions League Preview

Dynamo Kyiv vs Napoli at the NSK Olympiyskiy in Kyiv will be the first-ever encounter between Ukraine’s biggest club, and one of Italy’s most storied teams.

After reaching the round of 16 against Manchester City last season, Dynamo Kyiv will be out to, once again, survive the group stage of the UEFA Champions League, and to build on last year’s performance (read our Dynamo Kyiv Champions League preview here). Napoli, meanwhile, are, once again, in the group stage of the Champions League for the first time since 2013.

Back in the 2013-14 season, Napoli were drawn in a tough group with Borussia Dortmund, Arsenal, and Olympique Marseille and, despite collecting 12 points, failed to reach the round of 16—more than any other side who has failed to get through.

In all their storied history, Dynamo Kyiv, meanwhile, have just won twice in 20 matches against teams from Italy, with both victories coming against AS Roma in the 2004-05 Champions League group stage. It remains to be seen, however, whether they can actually improve their record against Napoli.

Napoli did lose their biggest star, Gonzalo Higuaín, when the Argentinian star striker chose to join Napoli’s league rival, Juventus Turin, in a €90 million transfer.

Napoli, however, has reinvested the money wisely by snapping up Polish international, Arkadiuz Milik (for €32 million from Ajax Amsterdam), centre midfielder, Amadou Diawara (for €14.5 million, from Bologna), Polish midfielder, Piotr Zieliński (for €14 million, from Udinese), defender Lorenzo Tonelli (for €10 million from FC Empoli), and in the final hour of the transfer window, Nikola Maksimović (from Torino)—altogether the club spent €73.5 million in the transfer window.

Furthermore, Napoli also secured the signature of the highly talented Croatian attacking midfielder, Marko Rog (read more on him here). Hence, despite losing Higuaín to Juventus, Napoli should be a serious challenger for Dynamo Kyiv and, although the Olimpiyskiy is a tough ground to play at, Napoli believe that they have a good chance at getting a result in Ukraine.

For Dynamo Kyiv, it will be interesting to see how they will respond to the result in the all-Ukrainian Derby, which took place on Friday and ended in a 1-1 draw that will leave Dynamo Kyiv trailing their closest rival by three points.

The Ukrainian Derby aside, Serhiy Rebrov’s men will try to improve on the round of 16 finish from last season. Napoli definitely will be the toughest opposition for the club, and Dynamo showed last season that they are not a pushover, as they emerged as runners up in Group G last season—finishing ahead of FC Porto, and just two points behind Chelsea.

The Group B match, Dynamo Kyiv vs Napoli, therefore, should provide an interesting encounter on September 13 and, while Napoli could be considered slight favourites, one should never rule out Dynamo, who in the past have caused upsets in Kyiv.

Possible Line-ups

Dynamo Kyiv:

Formation: 4-3-3

Shovkovskyi – Makarenko, Vida, Khacheridi, Silva – Buyalsky, Rybalka, Sydorchuk – Gusev, Moraes, Yarmolenko

Manager: Serhiy Rebrov


Formation: 4-3-3

Reina – Ghoulam, Albiol, Koulibaly, Hysaj – Allan, Jorginho, Hamsik – Mertens, Milik, Callejon

Manager: Maurizio Sarri

By Manuel Veth –