By Svend Frandsen
Fresh from a 5-0 lesson at the hands of Juventus FC in Turin last week and with defeats in each of their last seven away fixtures in the UEFA Champions League, FC Dynamo Kyiv have a mountain to climb in the Netherlands.
Point is vital
The Ukrainian side arrived in Rotterdam to do battle with Feyenoord on Matchday Three knowing that gaining at least one point is vital to their Group E chances. They already have three thanks to an opening day 2-0 home victory against Newcastle United FC, but defeat at the Feijenoord stadium could leave them four points adrift of Juventus and Feyenoord by the halfway mark of the first group stage.
Dynamo's last away 'success' in the Champions League, not counting qualifying rounds, was a 2-2 draw at Real Madrid CF in March 2000. A similar result would do tomorrow especially considering the major injury problems within the club. Feyenoord have made a solid start to the competition though, the UEFA Cup holders drawing 1-1 with Juventus and winning 1-0 in Newcastle.
History does not bode well for Dynamo either when considering past trips to the Netherlands. Three of their four games in the country have ended as 2-1 defeats. The only exception coming in the 1997/98 Champions League with a 3-1 victory at PSV Eindhoven.
'We cannot lose'
Yet Dynamo president Ihor Surkis has pledged his side will improve. "In a game with Feyenoord, players should not try to sell themselves, like they did against Juventus," Surkis said. "Tomorrow we will act according to the situation in the group, which means we cannot lose in Rotterdam, we need points."
Oleksiy Mykhaylychenko will be pleased his side won 2-0 against FC Polihraftechnica Olexandria on Saturday in domestic action, especially after resting Romanian international Tiberiu Ghioane and Croatian duo Goran Sablic and Jerko Leko. Feyenoord had a less than satisfactory warm-up, going down 4-2 away at the hands of RBC Roosendaal which left coach Bert van Marwijk well aware of where his team went wrong. "We played more against ourselves than against the opponent and that is something we really need to correct against Kyiv," he said.
Van Wonderen doubt
Van Marwijk has a number of players struggling to reach full fitness with central defender Kees van Wonderen a major doubt because of a back problem suffered in training on Sunday. Also unlikely to play are Chong-gug Song and Ramon van Haaren.
However, Feyenoord are confident of their chances at home against Dynamo. "I think we're getting stronger with every game," said Van Marwijk after the Newcastle success. If that is true, the Ukrainian visitors will need to be at their very best.
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