Stade Rennais – Kyiv – In the middle of the war, Dynamo sees the start of the season

He is not an opponent like the others. This Thursday Stade Rennais plays a very symbolic confrontation against Dynamo Kyiv in the Europa League. And, of course, the terrible context affecting Ukraine is at the center of all considerations. With the Russian invasion that began at the end of February continuing, facing the club in the Ukrainian capital is not trivial. And before this appointment asks about the level of training in Kyiv.

Dynamo has gradually returned to his daily life with the restart of his national championship. In addition to his qualification for the Champions League and his two appearances in the Europa League (note: two defeats), Mircea Lucescu’s formation played four league games. Because the Ukrainian Premier League manages to take place for the time being. “Most games passed without incident‘ tells us Andrew Todos, founder of Zorya Londons, a website specializing in Ukrainian football.

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Sirens for airstrikes before and during the game

However, the war obviously makes this opus of domestic championship unique. The threat is never far away. “During the game between Rukh and Metalist in Lviv in the name of the first day, there were four times sirens due to air raids before and during the gameexplains the journalist specializing in football in Ukraine. So it took 4.5 hours to finish the game, with every time a siren went off, all teams and the media had to go to the air-raid shelter. Some other games have also been temporarily suspended or kick-off postponed. Fortunately, however, no attacks or rocket attacks took place near the stadiums.“.

In this heavy atmosphere, Dynamo Kyiv tries to give their best. But his start to the season is sluggish if we limit ourselves to the sports field. At European level, where the club lost their first two Europa League games, but also in the league with two defeats in four games. And it’s not necessarily related to the fact that Dynamo lost elements while FIFA gave foreign players and coaches playing in Ukraine and Russia the opportunity to sign contracts elsewhere until June 30, 2023.Kyiv saw some foreign players leave, like Benjamin Verbic, Carlos De Pena, Eric Ramirez or Vitinho. observes Andrew Todos. However, these losses cannot really be called harmful. Most of the workforce was already Ukrainian and Dynamo was able to keep its hard core.” Unlike Shakhtar Donetsk, for example, which is unrecognizable without its Brazilians.

Less interest in club football given the current context

For Mircea Lucescu, this complicated start to the season is more likely to be explained by the context. And the restrictions imposed on Dynamo, forced to travel to Ukraine every three days, but also outside of Ukraine. In his eyes, this has an impact on the mental and physical level of his protégés, while the Dynamo formation has to play these “home games” on the European stage in Poland because of the war. “Last month Dynamo lost two key players, Mykola Shaparenko and Georgiy Bushchan, to injuries. However, Shaparenko is arguably the best player on the team thanks to his influence on playmaking, pace management and ball control. Without him, the dynamo lacks inspiration”, notes the founder of Zorya Londons.

Therefore, while the two clubs met in the same competition in 2018-2019 – with two wins for Dynamo (3-1 and 2-1) – Stade Rennais will find weaker Ukrainians. But like the gesture of the Breton club which, according to L’Equipe, offered 200 places for this game to Ukrainian refugees, this meeting cannot be reduced to a purely sporting matter.

Even if this European campaign of the club from the Ukrainian capital does not unleash passions. “Dynamo Kyiv remains one of the most popular clubs in Ukraine, if not the most popular. However, compared to the national team for example, there is much less interest in club football as a whole given the current war context.confirms Andrew Todos. And since the results aren’t there, we can say that his performances were a little less inspiring than Shakhtar’s, for example.”

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