It's still July but we are into the third round of qualifying for the elite club competition. Adam Bate thinks that the ongoing Ukrainian season will hinder the Dutch sideDynamo Kiev's build-up to this crucial Uefa Champions League third-round qualifying tie with Feyenoord has been disrupted by the news that their greatest ever player has retired.
Andriy Shevchenko has decided that Ukraine's hosting duties at Euro 2012 were a fitting finale to a remarkable career and will not be helping Dynamo in their European adventure this season.
While that will understandably dominate the headlines, it should not suggest that Dynamo do not have quality without Shevchenko in the ranks. They have won their first three games of the Ukrainian season and carry decent momentum into this tie.
For that reason, as well as the unique delights of a hostile Kiev crowd, the home side are favourites to win the first leg of this encounter.
Dynamo Kiev can be backed at 8/15 (1.53) with William Hill to win here.
And it must be acknowledged that Dynamo are not the only ones whose squad has lost a familiar face in recent weeks.
Feyenoord will be without their captain and defensive leader Ron Vlaar after the 27-year-old completed his switch to Aston Villa.
"I will miss him at the back," admitted fellow defender Stefan de Vrij. "This is a new experience for all of us." Not ideal when preparing for a Champions League qualifier.
Even coach Ronald Koeman appears concerned by the prospect of their trip to Ukraine. "It's a tough draw. Dynamo Kiev were not my preference," he told RTV Rijnmond.
"They are a team with experience in Europe and a team that is always competing for a place in the Champions League. Therefore, it's a very difficult draw."
But while Koeman remains cautious, he is not without optimism about the challenge ahead.
"Kiev have already started their national competition, that may be an advantage to us," he added. "We have two weekends to watch their games."
Feyenoord are 19/5 (4.8) with William Hill to cause an upset in Kiev and earn an away victory. The draw is available at 11/4 (3.75).
The Dutch team have the quality to pull off either of those results but the key to this one is whether you judge Feyenoord's scouting to be more significant than Dynamo’s competitive experience.
If Koeman can identify something from the early matches of the Ukrainian season then perhaps the visitors can make it count.
But this punter believes that Feyenoord's pre-season games will not prove adequate preparation for a Champions League game on foreign soil. Back Dynamo Kiev to gain a narrow win here.
|Dynamo Kiev to win at 8/15 (1.53) with William Hill
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Adam Bate is a professional freelance journalist who specialises in football and betting. He is editor of GhostGoal which can be found here - you can also follow Adam on
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