By Igor Linnyk
FC Dynamo Kyiv and Feyenoord meet at the Olympiyskyi stadium on Wednesday with the teams vying for second place in UEFA Champions League Group E.
After their scoreless draw three weeks ago, Feyenoord are second in the group on five points with Dynamo one point back in third, so victory tonight is crucial for both sides. "We have no option but to beat our opponents, otherwise we will be left depending on other results," said Dynamo captain Andriy Husin.
Feyenoord defender Tomasz Rzasa concurred: "When we played out a draw in Rotterdam we put ourselves in quite an unfavourable situation. I think this game in Kyiv will decide who is going to finish second. It looks like nobody will catch Juventus [FC]."
'Chances are good'
Yet Dynamo coach Oleksiy Mykhaylychenko is optimistic about his side's chances. "Only after this game, given we get the three points, can we judge our prospects," he said. "However, I think our chances are quite good. The best news is that several injured players are back with us again."
Belarussian playmaker Valentin Belkevich, goalkeeper Olexandr Shovkovsky and defender Yuriy Dmytrulin have all returned to full fitness. Belkevich even managed an assist at the weekend when Dynamo qualified for the Ukrainian Cup quarter-finals with a 2-0 victory over FC Stal Alchevsk, Diogo Rincón and Maksim Shatskikh scoring the goals.
The mood is quite different in the visitors' camp. Feyenoord dropped two points at the weekend, drawing 1-1 with SBV Vitesse after Thomas Buffel scored the equaliser to spare the Rotterdam side's blushes. Bert van Marwijk's team currently lie fourth in the Eredivisie, eight points behind AFC Ajax, and are missing a key figure in Pierre van Hooijdonk.
The tall striker is out with a fractured ankle, but the defence has been boosted by the return of Patrick Paauwe and Ramon van Haaren. Paul Bosvelt is also fit, while Bonaventure Kalou will probably take Van Hooijdonk's role.
"We watched all the Dynamo games in the Champions League this season and we found that Florin Cernat is their danger man. If we manage to neutralise him, half the job will be done," said Van Marwijk. However, with Belkevich back in the fold, Feyenoord might have their hands full elsewhere.
'We are not afraid'
Indeed, Van Maarwijk knows only too well that his side's record of 15 unbeaten games in Europe will stand a serious test in Kyiv. He said: "We are not afraid of Dynamo, but we do respect them. Despite players missing, we will be hoping for a result and we will not repeat the mistakes of the other teams."
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