Barcelona vs Dynamo Kyiv Final – LIVE Reddit Soccer 20/10/2021
A 3-0 home defeat to a side as rampant and merciless as Bayern Munich was not the end of the world for Koeman – although those inside Camp Nou made their feelings clear – and the pressure would soon pile on the Dutchman as Benfica marched to victory by the same scoreline on matchday two.
Darwin Nunez would take all of three minutes to break the deadlock before Rafa Silva doubled Benfica’s advantage in the 69th minute, and Nunez would double his tally for the evening from the penalty spot 10 minutes before the full-time whistle blew in a humiliating experience for La Blaugrana.
Despite widespread speculation that his time in the Catalan dugout may soon be coming to an end, Koeman has retained the faith of Joan Laporta for the time being and oversaw a much-needed 3-1 win over Valencia at the weekend, with Ansu Fati, Memphis Depay and Philippe Coutinho on the scoresheet after Jose Gaya’s stunner.
Victory over Los Che represented only Barcelona’s second win from seven games in all competitions – simply unacceptable for a club of the Catalans’ calibre – and their Champions League goal difference of -6 is the second-worst across all eight groups ahead of Malmo’s -7.
Already at risk of failing to make the knockout rounds for the first time since the 2000-01 season, Barcelona must seek to reverse a miserable run of form which has seen them lose their last three Champions League games at Camp Nou, and not since November 2019 have they kept a clean sheet at home in the competition.
While they managed to hold Benfica to a goalless stalemate in their opening game, Dynamo Kiev were never expected to spring any sort of surprise against Bayern Munich on matchday two, and the Bavarians produced a five-star performance to sink the Ukrainian giants.
Robert Lewandowski netted twice while Serge Gnabry, Leroy Sane and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting also made the net ripple on the day, but Dynamo’s opening-day point against Benfica sees them occupy third spot ahead of Barcelona at this early stage in Europe.
Mircea Lucescu’s side made their return to winning ways in convincing fashion at the weekend, though, as Vitaliy Buyalskyi, Viktor Tsygankov and Denys Garmash (2) were all on the scoresheet during a 4-1 domestic romping of PFK Lviv.
A true veteran of the game at 76 years of age, Lucescu has seen his side win just one of their eight encounters in the Champions League – failing to score in four of those games – and the visiting coach will not travel to Catalonia full of optimism, even with Barcelona’s ongoing on-the-pitch and off-the-pitch struggles.
Furthermore, Dynamo are on a four-game losing streak against Barcelona in the Champions League, most recently losing 2-1 at Camp Nou in last season’s group stage before being humbled 4-0 on home soil a few weeks later.
Barcelona defender Eric Garcia was given his marching orders for two bookable offences in the loss to Benfica and is suspended for this battle, so Clement Lenglet should deputise alongside Gerard Pique.
Ronald Araujo’s injury has also depleted Barcelona’s defensive ranks, while Pedri also remains absent for the time being, but there is hope that Ousmane Dembele may be able to feature in some capacity this week.
Sergio Aguero also earned his first minutes in Catalan colours off the bench against Valencia, but the Argentine is unlikely to be considered for a start just yet.
Meanwhile, Dynamo Kiev’s well-documented injury woes on the attacking front are still very much alive, as Artem Besedin, Vladyslav Kulach and Ibrahim Kargbo all remain in the treatment room, while defender Denys Popov is recovering from cruciate ligament surgery.
Ilya Shkurin was also not in the squad to face Lviv at the weekend, but Garmash has staked his claim for a start at the tip of the attack after netting twice off the bench last time out, especially with Vladyslav Supryaga coming off after just 41 minutes.
Nineteen-year-old protege Ilya Zabarnyi was given quite the reality check against Bayern but will hope to return to the first XI here alongside Sergiy Sydorchuk and Mykola Shaparenko.