Verdict: Dynamo Kyiv win
Best Odds: 13/10
Two teams looking to extend on their Champions League qualifying adventure in midweek, Dynamo Kyiv will welcome Dutch outfit AZ Alkmaar to an empty NSC Olimpiyskiy on Tuesday evening.
Starting with the hosts, while Dynamo Kyiv might have been disappointed to have only collected a point against Desna while on Premier League duties over the weekend, the Ukrainian outfit have enjoyed an eye-catching summer. Despite eventually finishing 14 points adrift of heavyweights Shakhtar Donetsk and re-lifting their domestic crown, Head Coach Mircea Lucescu saw his side put in what was a thumping display against the defending champions in the Super Cup final last month. Lifting their first piece of silverware thanks to a 3-1 victory, the Whites are excited to make a Champions League return in midweek. Appearing to have refound their feet after a sluggish end to the extended 2019/2020 campaign, Dynamo have shocked many with some of their performances on home soil while in Europe. Last seen at the NSC Olimpiyskiy on European duties playing out a dramatic 3-3 draw against Belgium giants Club Brugge last year, Tuesday’s hosts are unbeaten in their last five Champions League contests in Kyiv, a run that has seen them also snatch points off of the likes of former semi-finalists Ajax.
The defensive trio of Oleksandr Tymchyk, Mykyta Burda and Denys Popov have all been ruled out of Tuesday’s matchup.
As for the visitors, sat only behind Ajax thanks to their goal difference before the 2019/2020 Eredivisie campaign was brought to an early halt, there is no doubt that AZ Alkmaar are simply hoping to carry on from where they left off earlier in the year. However, while the Cheeseheads might have shocked many across Holland with their exploits last season, Arne Slot’s side have struggled to find their form during their summer preparations. Despite managing to book their first Champions League return since 2009, Alkmaar could only muster a 1-1 draw against Genk in a behind closed doors friendly earlier in the month and only won seven of their pre-season contests, losing five of those appearances. Managing to book their trip to Kyiv on Tuesday night in the most dramatic of fashion against Viktoria Plzen last month, the Dutch outfit needed a 95th-minute penalty before going on to win in extra-time. In for a tough test when they travel across Europe in midweek, it should also be noted that the last time they faced off against Dynamo Kyiv back in 2010, they suffered a 4-1 aggregate defeat.
Central defender Pantelis Hatzidiakos is in line to make a return on Tuesday evening after picking up a knee injury back in November.
AZ will also be boosted by the news that Calvin Stengs is fit and available to start.
Key Factors to Consider
- When the two sides last faced off in the Champions League back in 2010, Dynamo Kyiv picked up a 4-1 aggregate win.
- AZ Alkmaar lost five of their seven pre-season friendlies, failing to score in four of those defeats.
- Tuesday’s hosts are unbeaten in their last five Champions League matchups on home soil.
- In only two of Dynamo’s last six Champions League home fixtures have finished with both teams finding the net.
- Before the 2019/2020 campaign was brought to an early halt, six of AZ’s final seven appearances saw under 2.5 goals.
While AZ might have shocked many with their exploits in Holland before last year’s campaign was scrapped early, Tuesday’s guests have failed to find top form this summer and could be in for a tricky test when they travel across Europe in midweek. With Dynamo Kyiv unbeaten in each of their last five Champions League matchups on home soil, a run that saw them land a thumping 6-0 romp against Turkish outfit Besiktas, Mircea Lucescu’s men should be confident of extending on their European adventure this week. Landing a 4-1 aggregate win when the two sides last met back in 2010, we’re backing a home victory on Tuesday evening.
Verdict: Dynamo Kyiv win
Best Odds: 13/10
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