Dynamo Kyiv v Skënderbeu background

Dynamo Kyiv are on a run of decent home form in Europe, but would do well not to underestimate Skënderbeu in their UEFA Europa League Group B opener.

Dynamo coach Aleksandr Khatskevich
Dynamo coach Aleksandr Khatskevich ©AFP

#EQUALGAME
This week, football fans watching UEFA Europa League matches in stadiums, online and on TV will witness the premiere of the new UEFA RESPECT TV ads, called #EqualGame. The adverts feature Ada Hegerberg, Lionel Messi, Paul Pogba, Cristiano Ronaldo and amateur players and will run throughout the season to promote inclusion, diversity and accessibility in European Football with the motto "Everyone has the right to enjoy football, no matter who you are, where you're from, or how you play." More information on the campaign and on the advertisements can be found in the accompanying media release and on the campaign website: www.equalgame.com.

Dynamo Kyiv are on a run of decent home form in Europe, but would do well not to underestimate Skënderbeu in their UEFA Europa League Group B opener.

Previous meetings
• The sides are meeting for the first time in UEFA competition, and it is Dynamo's first UEFA encounter with Albanian opposition.

• In their only past meeting with Ukrainian opponents, Skënderbeu traded 1-0 home wins with Chornomorets Odesa in the 2013/14 UEFA Europa League play-offs before losing the tie on penalties in Tirana.

Form guide
• Dynamo are on a three-game winning streak at home in Europe: 6-0, 3-1, 3-1. That last result came against Marítimo in their UEFA Europa League play-off.

• Skenderbëu have lost only once in four European away matches this season, from first qualifying round to play-offs for this competition: W1 D2 L1. This sequence includes the 1-1 play-off draw at Dinamo Zagreb that set up their away goals win.

• Ukrainian league runners-up in 2016/17, Dynamo reached the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals in 2010/11 and 2014/15, when they last competed in this group stage.

• Albanian Cup runners-up last term, Skënderbeu were the first Albanian side to contest a major UEFA group stage when they featured in the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League.

Links and trivia
• The journey from Korce to Kyiv is around 1,300km.

• Skënderbeu's Bakary Nimaga is serving a one-match suspension for this game.

• Skenderbëu's Tefik Osmani (Metalurh Zaporizhya 2005–06) and Kristi Vangjeli (Chornomorets 2011–13) have both played league football in Ukraine.

The coaches
• Hired as coach in July 2017, Aleksandr Khatskevich won seven league titles as a Dynamo player from 1996–2004, and later worked with their youth and reserve teams. The 38-times capped international coached his native Belarus from 2014–16.

• Appointed at the start of 2017, Ilir Daja led Skënderbeu to a losing appearance in the Albanian Cup final but then steered them into this group stage. A former midfielder with Tirana, he has guided Elbasan and Dinamo Tirana to domestic championships as a coach.

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