Champions League team guide: Dynamo Kyiv in the spotlight
Dynamo Kyiv returned to the summit of Ukrainian football last season, after four years of finishing runners-up to Shakhtar Donetsk.
They finished 11 points ahead of their title rivals, having topped the league from the fourth week of the season and remained there throughout the campaign.
Mircea Lucescu’s outfit only lost once all season in the league and even won the Ukrainian Cup for good measure.
That sensational season saw them qualify for the Champions League group stage in 2021-22.
Dynamo have been European football regulars since they qualified for their first continental competition — the Cup Winners' Cup in 1965.
They have won that trophy twice, in 1975 and 1986, and have been as far as the semi-finals in the European Cup/Champions League three times, most recently in 1999 when they were knocked out by Bayern Munich.
Last season they finished third in their Champions League group, dropping down into the Europa League where they were knocked out by eventual winners Villarreal in the last 16.
Given the size of the club, they will be disappointed to have never reached a European Cup final, but Dynamo are a regular presence in continental competition and remain one of the biggest names in Eastern European football.
Dynamo Kyiv's Champions League group
Group E: Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Benfica, Dynamo Kyiv
Despite finally reclaiming their Ukrainian league title from Shakhtar, Kyiv may struggle to have the same impact in the Champions League.
Dynamo face a tough draw this season and past form suggests they are likely to drop down into the Europa League at best ahead of the knockout rounds.
Finishing third would be a reasonable outcome for Lucescu’s side, but they will be hoping to pull off a shock and reach the round of 16 against the odds.
Star man: Viktor Tsyhankov
Viktor Tsyhankov, 23, was Dynamo’s top scorer last season as they cruised to the title.
Despite being relatively young, Tsyhankov is already one of the team’s vice-captains and one of the star players in a squad dominated by homegrown players. He is also closing in on 200 appearances for the club.
Kyiv’s No15 has six goals in 29 caps for Ukraine, though he only played a bit-part role at Euro 2020, having gone into the tournament carrying a calf injury.
Now firing on all cylinders, the winger could attract attention from across Europe if his Champions League performances match those he puts in domestically.
One to watch: Vitaliy Mykolenko
Like Tsyhankov, Vitaliy Mykolenko was part of the Ukraine squad at this summer’s European Championship.
The 22-year-old left-back was one of 10 Dynamo players representing Ukraine at the Euros and is among of the country’s most exciting young talents.
He occasionally chips in with goals from his position down the left flank but will be tested defensively at Champions League level.
It will be interesting to see how he responds to such a challenge, while opposition teams will have to watch out for his impressive attacking attributes.
The boss: Mircea Lucescu
The experienced Romanian has had previous success in Europe, having won the UEFA Cup in 2009 during a successful spell with Dynamo’s rivals, Shakhtar.
Dynamo hired Lucescu in 2020 in an attempt to taste similar glory.
Having already overtaken Shakhtar domestically with last season’s double, they will now be looking to make their mark on the continent and Lucescu will be key to achieving that.
If they drop into the Europa League, the 76-year-old’s own expectations might be to win it – but qualifying for the Champions League knockout rounds would perhaps be a bigger achievement for the wily operator and a more lucrative result for the club.
All information correct as of 10am, September 10, 2021