UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE PLAYOFF – FIRST LEG – BORUSSIA MONCHENGLADBACH 1-3 DYNAMO KIEV

Before the match between Borussia Mönchengladbach and Dynamo Kyiv, Ukrainian press exploded with rumours regarding Oleg Blokhin and his possible appointment as Dynamo manager in case of the team, headed by Russian coach Yuriy Semin, failing to make it to the Champions League group stage. Moreover, Dynamo were going into this game on the back of the domestic league defeat at the hands of a lacklustre club Vorskla Poltava.

For Semin, it was a make-or-break game. Dynamo’s coach went with a 4-2-3-1 formation, employing a cautious, counterattacking approach that eventually bore fruit or it was more down to a mix of luck and players’ individual brilliance rather than a well-thought out plan.

After conceding an opener as a result of Danilo Silva’s poor marking inside the penalty box, Dynamo got back into the game through Mykhalyk, whose screamer from outside the opposition penalty area took a deflection off the defender and into the roof of the net. Prior to the equalizer, Borussia Mönchengladbach dominated proceedings, with Dynamo sitting deep in their own half, failing to engineer a single, proper attacking/counterattacking move.  Niko Kranjcar, Dynamo’s main creative force along with Miguel Veloso in the centre of midfield, didn’t look convincing in the first 45 minutes, although Dynamo had a numerical advantage (3 v 2) in the middle of park. His replacement in the second half didn’t come as a surprise.  Dynamo took the lead thanks to Garmash’s excellent through ball and Yarmolenko, who danced past the opposing player to plant the ball into the left-hand corner of the net.

After the break, the overall picture was more or less the same, with the only difference being that Borussia and Dynamo took 10 and 1 shots respectively, compared to 9 and 7 in the first period. Having failed to take at least one shot on goal in the second half, Dynamo managed to put the game to bed thanks to an unlikely source:  Twente’s former  hitman Luuk de Jong who marked his first appearance in the European competitions for his new club by netting an own goal following Dynamo’s free-kick

Although it is a great win for Dynamo and it is very unlikely that Borussia will get a desired result in Kyiv, today’s performance by Semin’s charges raises more questions than answers, namely defensive setbacks regarding both open play and set pieces and lack of creativity from midfield. One thing that is known for certain now is that  Yuriy Semin doesn’t have to start doing his duty free shopping in search of a quality, German suitcase before heading home to Russia after a spell with Dynamo.

Oleksandr Sereda

Twitter @Sereda_Alex

Website – http://ukrainianfootball1894.blogspot.com/

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