Dynamo Kiev (or Kyiv, depending on how the Ukrainian capital prefers its name spelled in English nowadays) are the old money of football in Ukraine — as opposed to, say, the more familiar and newer money Shakhtar Donetsk — and going even further back, in the Soviet Union. Dynamo* are easily the most successful club of both the former Soviet and current Ukrainian top flights, and have been associated with several legends of football over the years, including, but not limited to pioneering manager Valeriy Lobanovskiy, striker and Ballon d'Or winner (later manager) Oleg Blokhin, and of course our pal Andriy Shevchenko. Their current manager, Sergey** Rebrov is yet another former standout, though we might remember him more for pulling a bit of a Torres on Spurs after earning his big money move to the Premier League at the turn of the century.
* Using it as shorthand for the club, although Dynamo is a rather generic name that simply signified that the club was, at least originally, part of the Dynamo sports society in the old Soviet Union. Other sports societies you may have heard of include Lokomotiv, Spartak, Zenit, or the Army (as in Sport Club of the Army, i.e. CSKA). Some were associated with trade unions, others, obviously, with the armed forces, but they were all centralized and were a huge reason why the Soviet Union were so good at so many sports, especially at the Olympics.
** Or is it Sergiy? I'm so very confused by these newfangled spellings of names I've taken for granted all my life.
Befitting their status, Dynamo Kiev have taken part in some manner of continental competition in each of the last 27 seasons, though this is their first go at the Champions League proper since finish bottom of Group F in the 2009-10 group stages. Incidentally, that group was won by Barcelona, with Mourinho's Internazionale finishing second (Inter won in Kiev, but drew at home). The two heavyweights would famously meet in the semifinal later that season, with José going on to beat old mentor Louis van Gaal and Bayern Munich in the final.
But enough about history.
Date / Time: Tuesday, October 20, 2015, 19:45 BST; 2:45pm EDT; 12:15am IST (next day)
Venue: Olympic Stadium, Kiev, Ukraine
Referee: Damir Skomina — I will always remember Skomina for being one of the referees in our fateful 2012 Champions League campaign; he officiated the home leg against Benfica in the quarterfinals (the one with the Raul
Meireles MRLSH winner), sending off Maxi Pereira in the first half. Unfortunately, we've lost both of the other two matches refereed by the Slovenian official since, the Super Cup against Atlético (yikes!) and our last visit to Ukraine, the 2-1 loss to Shakhtar Donetsk. All three of these matches happened in 2012, strangely enough. Skomina's last Champions League involvement was Juve's 2-1 win at Manchester City last month. He has shown just 1 red card in his last 10 matches across all competitions, which include European, International (Euro 2016 qualifiers), Slovenian, and even Qatari (Stars League) action.
On TV: BT Sport 2 (UK); Fox Soccer Plus, ESPN Deportes+ in select markets (USA); TEN Sports (India); elsewhere
Online: BT Sport Live (UK); Fox Soccer 2Go, ESPN3 in select markets (USA); TEN Sports Live (India)
Dynamo Kiev team news: The one major injury concern for the Ukrainian champions is defensive midfielder Sergey/Sergiy/Serhiy Rybalka, whose absence was apparently one of the major contributing factors to Dynamo Kiev's shock 3-0 home derby day defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk on Friday. The loss ended Dynamo's rather ridiculous 38-match (!!) unbeaten streak in the Ukrainian Premier League. Even with the three goals given up, they've only conceded seven in all competitions this season, including two against FC Porto on Matchday 1 of the group stages.
I saw Dynamo's defeat by Shakhtar Donetsk [3-0 on Friday] on video and I also sent my assistant to the match. We have also analysed Dynamo's games against Porto and Maccabi Tel-Aviv, so we have all the necessary information. I cannot compare Dynamo to any Premier League side because they have completely different football cultures.
-Jose Mourinho; source: UEFA
The home side will rely on their number one dangerman, Andriy Yarmolenko to cause havoc, though Brazilian Júnior Moraes, who started his career alongside Robinho and Diego Ribas at Santos, can be rather elusive up top in Rebrov's usual 4-1-4-1 formation.
Chelsea team news: Thibaut Courtois (knee) and Branislav Ivanovic (hamstring) are joined by Loïc Rémy and Pedro, both with unspecified minor knocks, in the treatment room this week. Pedro was the only one in contention for a start however, and his absence will likely ensure a start for Eden Hazard, following the swift kick up the butt he received from the manager over the weekend. The rest of the midfield can be a bit difficult to predict at the moment; here's my best effort.
What is not difficult to predict is that this won't be an easy match, despite our initial looks at the group when the draw was first made. Our poor form, combined with a huge and prestigious night for the hosts will ensure that we'll be lucky to walk away with a draw. A loss won't be end of the world — outside of any psychological damage — the rest of the group stage schedule for Chelsea will see two home matches against the top two teams in the group and an away (or neutral venue) tie against minnows Maccabi Tel-Aviv.
Previously: This will be the first ever meeting between the two sides. It will be Mourinho's third meeting with Dynamo Kiev, while Willian will face them for the 21st time. He won 13 and lost 5 of the 20 previous meetings as a player for Shakhtar Donetsk.