Lokomotiv host Dinamo in the small-Moscow Derby

Lokomotiv host Dinamo in the small-Moscow Derby

Lokomotiv vs Dinamo – Friday, September 14, 17:30BST/18:30 CEST/19:30 MSK – RŽD-Arena, Moscow, Russia 

Lokomotiv vs Dinamo will take place at the RŽD Arena in Moscow. (Photo by Alexander Fedorov/EuroFootball/Getty Images)

Lokomotiv vs Dinamo will take place at the RŽD Arena in Moscow. (Photo by Alexander Fedorov/EuroFootball/Getty Images)

The other Moscow derby, the little Moscow derby, or even the smallest Moscow derby. Lokomotiv vs Dinamo is definitely in the shadow of the big Moscow derby between Spartak and CSKA and Spartak against Dinamo.

Nonetheless, this is a city derby and, as a result, our Futbolgrad Network Russian Premier Liga top match of the weekend. Furthermore, this game will include the current Russian champions in Lokomotiv and a Dinamo side that despite being in crisis over the last few years had a relatively decent start to the 2018/19 RPL season.

First things first, however. Lokomotiv might be the current champions. But a quick glance at the table reveals that Loko are only eighth in the table one point behind Dinamo Moscow, who are sitting one place on top of them in seventh. This might be just matchday 6 of the RPL, but the current standings are a surprise nonetheless given Lokomotiv’s recent championship as well as the addition of high profile players Benedikt Höwedes, Grzegorz Krychowiak, Bryan Idowu and Fedor Smolov.

Led by head coach Yuri Semin Lokomotiv’s success last season, however, was team cohesiveness. The 71-year-old head coach very much managed to put together a team of misfits and forge them into a unit that did not always dazzle but showed consistency. Another bonus was that top sides Spartak and Zenit very much had an off year.

It is still early but it appears that neither Zenit or Spartak will show the same weaknesses this season. Furthermore, Lokomotiv will be back in the Champions League this year and the club is not used to additional travel and games. With this in mind winning the derby on Friday will be key for Semin in order to put some confidence into his side ahead of the difficult away trip to Galatasaray Istanbul.

Dinamo, in the meantime, might be one point ahead of Lokomotiv at the moment. But the club’s recent troubles have been well-documented in a recent series on Russian Football News on the Futbolgrad Podcast and in a series of articles that can be found on the Futbolgrad Network.

In short, Dinamo have been struggling financially for several years now ever since UEFA banned for breaches of Financial Fair Play. As a result, the club’s owners, the VTB-Bank, which in turn is owned by the powerful Rotenberg family, has limited the spending on the club and officially has been withdrawn as the club’s owner.

As a result, Dinamo were relegated at the end of the 2015/16 season. It was the first time in history that the club were not playing in the top flight and although Dinamo managed to return to the Russian Premier Liga questions of finances quickly and the new stadium remain. A current scenario may even see the new stadium at the Petrovsky Park remain empty after completion and Dinamo remain in Khimki, which is located in the suburbs of Moscow.

Matters off the pitch are not fantastic. On the pitch, the season, however, has started alright with nine points out of the first six games. At the same time head coach Dmitri Khokhlov was on the brink of stepping down just a couple weeks ago following a fight with the management of the club over the appointment of youth coaches. Thankfully, for Dinamo, that situation has been resolved as Khokhlov is considered one of the most talented coaches in Russian football.

The 42-year-old likes to play dynamic attacking football and is one of the few coaches in Russia, who still relies on a four-man defence. The tactical battle on the pitch will be as fascinating as the politics of the pitch as Khokhlov will try to find a way to dissect Semin’s formation, which regularly switches from 4-2-3-1 to a 3-5-2. With that in mind tactics could almost end up nullifying each other, but given Lokomotiv’s superior firepower the Railwaymen should be able to carry the day in the small Moscow-derby.

Lokomotiv vs Dinamo – Players to look out for:

Fedor Smolov #9 – Lokomotiv Moscow

Fedor Smolov was linked to various clubs in Western Europe over the last two seasons. Borussia Dortmund wanted him as did West Ham United. But the striker perhaps missed the right moment to make the move abroad and after a poor World Cup interest in him dropped. Hence, when Lokomotiv, and the opportunity of playing Champions League football, came knocking Smolov packed his bags and headed to Moscow. There, however, he has struggled thus far this season as he no longer plays for a side that has been designed around him as it was the case in Krasnodar.

The World Cup was a tough lesson for Fedor Smolov and Co. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The World Cup was a tough lesson for Fedor Smolov and Co. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Fedor Černych – Dinamo Moscow

The 27-year-old Dinamo Moscow striker Fedor Černych (also known as Chernykh) was born in Moscow to Lithuanian parents. Brought through the FK Granitas youth setup in his native Lithuania Černych has played in Belarus and Poland before joining Dinamo Moscow in January 2018. A dynamic winger Černych has already played 41 times for Lithuania scoring eight goals. His pace and directness will be key for Dinamo as they face a side that will stand compact with two, or perhaps even three centre-backs, in the back of the park.

Fedor Černych (r) will be Dinamo Moscow's key player (Photo by Epsilon/Getty Images)

Fedor Černych (r) will be Dinamo Moscow’s key player (Photo by Epsilon/Getty Images)

Lokomotiv vs Dinamo – Match Stats

  • Lokomotiv have a positive record against Dinamo Moscow. The Railwaymen have faced Dinamo 52 times and their record is: W24 D14 L14.
  • Loko won both matches last season beating Dinamo 3-0 on matchday 12 and 4-0 on matchday 26.
  • Yuri Semin’s record against Dinamo Moscow is W17 D7 L9.

Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Lokomotiv vs Dinamo – 3-0

Lokomotiv vs Dinamo – Lineups

Lokomotiv Moscow:

Formation: 4-2-3-1

Guilherme – Höwedes, Corluka, Kvirkvelia – Fernandes, Krychowiak, An. Miranchuk, Denisov, Ignatyev – Farfan, Smolov

Head Coach: Yuri Semin

Dinamo Moscow:

Formation: 4-2-3-1

Shunin – Rausch, Rykov, Sunjić, Holmen – Tetteh, Sow – Joãozinho, Panchenko, Černych – Lutsenko

Head Coach: Dmitri Khokhlov

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.