FC Dynamo Kyiv returned to the top of the Ukrainian Premier Division on 7 November and have not looked back since, winning four games in a row. Still undefeated in the league this season, Dynamo are now certain to go into the winter break on top of the table.
Another three points from a 4-1 win against FC Zarkapattya Uzhgorod in their most recent match saw Dynamo maintain their six-point lead at the top of the table, although FC Shakhtar Donetsk could close that gap to three points if they can win their game in hand at FC Kryvbas Krivyi Rih on 10 December.
Anatoli Demianenko seems to have had a positive effect on Dynamo's performances since taking temporary command after the departure of Leonid Buryak. A 1-0 win at Shakhtar thanks to Serhiy Rebrov's goal on 7 November certainly did his chances of being given the post on a permanent basis no harm.
Shakhtar, meanwhile, can take comfort from being the only Ukrainian club in Europe in the spring, with FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk now effectively out of the UEFA Cup. However, they are no longer in contention for the Ukrainian Cup, having been knocked out by second division leaders FC Karpaty Lviv.
Karpaty are now through to the last four, having knocked FC Vorskla Poltava out in the quarter-finals, where they have been joined by Dynamo. Two more quarter-finals are yet to be played with FC Metalurh Zaporizhya taking on Kryvbas while FC Illychivets Mariupil entertain FC Arsenal Kyiv, both on 18 November.
UEFA Cup place
Arsenal appointed Aleksandr Zavarov as their new coach back in November, and like the other coaches who are looking to compete in the semi-finals, he will know that a place in the final would mean a guaranteed UEFA Cup place, should Dynamo get there as well.
Fourth-placed FC Chornomorets Odesa are looking to boost their chances of a top-three finish with the signings of Belarussian interntaional defender Pavel Kirylchyk, who has joined from Kryvbas on a three-year contract. Georgian midfielder Ilia Kandelaki has also signed a three-year extension to his deal.
Finally, Dnipro may be out of the UEFA Cup, but rumour suggests they may soon have a new coach in the form of FC Steaua Bucuresti's Oleh Protasov. The former international said: "I started my career at Dnipro and I care for the team," said Protasov. "Dnipro have made me an offer. I am thinking about it."
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