Unravelling the enigma of football in the post-Soviet republics
Valeriy Lobanovskiy was a man with the Midas touch. “Golden generation” is a term bandied about all too freely these days, but the pioneering coach was able to forge great sides during each of his three spells in charge of Dynamo Kyiv between 1973 and 2002.
The Ukrainian won countless trophies, and it was under his stewardship that Dynamo became the first team from the Soviet Union to win a major European honour.
During his three reigns they won the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1975 and 1986 plus the Super Cup. And although in Lobanovskiy’s third stint at the club he was unable to bring a European trophy back to Ukraine, Dynamo’s run to the semi-finals of the Champions League in the 1998/99 season was nevertheless an incredible achievement by a crop of players who could justifiably say they lived up to the oft-used "golden" moniker.
In the group stages Dynamo finished ahead of Lens, Arsenal (off whom they took four points) and Panathinaikos. They then put Real Madrid to the sword in the quarter-finals before being drawn against Bayern Munich in the semis.
And it could have been the Ukrainians, not the Germans, facing Manchester United in the Camp Nou in 1999. Dynamo were 3-1 up in the first legat a sell-out NSC Olympiyskiy Stadion, but two late goals brought Bayern level. Mario Basler’s superb strike in Munich dumped Lobanovskiy’s side out 4-3 on aggregate.
Quarter-finalists the year before, the Kyiv team oozed quality – and like United and Bayern they were hunting the treble, having won the league and cup in Ukraine that season.
The German champions had a team brimming with talent: Oliver Kahn, Lothar Matthäus and Stefan Effenberg were part of a star-studded Bayern side pushed all the way over two legs, and it was a case of what could have been for Ukraine’s most successful club and manager.
Here’s Never Mind the Bolsheviks’ look at what the players who featured against Bayern Munich are up to now…
Goalkeeper: Oleksandr ShovkovskiyA product of the club’s renowned academy, 'Sasha' made his Dynamo debut in 1994 and never left Kyiv: he's still their No.1 today, clocking up his 500th appearance at the weekend against Vorskla Poltava. Over the last 17 years he’s been part of 12 Vyscha Liha-winning teams. Upon Yuri Semin’s return as manager in December, the veteran Ukrainian shot-stopper was handed the captain’s armband, and is a superb role model for Maksym Koval, his prodigious teenager understudy whom big things are expected of.
Right-back: Oleh LuzhnyEnglish fans perhaps didn’t get to see the best of Luzhny during his time at Arsenal and Wolves, but the right-back remains an immensely popular figure in Kyiv, where he won seven league titles. Luzhny had a year as player-coach at Venta Kuldīga in Latvia, but since 2006 the former Ukrainian international has been back at Dynamo as part of the coaching staff, and has twice stepped in as interim manager. The 42-year-old is currently Semin’s right-hand man.
Centre-back: Oleksandr Holovko Holovko was part of the Tavriya Simferopol side that won the inaugural Vyscha Liha in 1992 and joined Dynamo three years later, making him the only player to have won the Ukrainian championship with two different clubs. Although once a target for Liverpool, Holovko never made it west: in fact, he went east for an ephemeral stint in China with Qingdao Jonoon in 2004, but returned to Tavriya the following year. He represented his country 58 times and is now the head coach of the Ukrainian under-19 national team.
Holovko and Husin watch that man Basler
Centre-back: Vladyslav VashchukNow 36, Vashchuk is still playing in the Vyscha Liha with Volyn Lutsk, and bar a year with their Russian rivals Spartak Moskva, the centre-back has been ever-present in Ukraine’s top flight since joining Dynamo in the 1992/93 season. Vashchuk has also represented Chornomorets Odesa and FC Lviv, and won 61 caps for Ukraine, scoring once.
Left-back: Kakhaber Kaladze Kaladze was one of three non-Ukrainians to line up against Bayern, and the Georgian's goal from Andriy Shevchenko’s free-kick put Dynamo two goals up in the first leg. In 2001 Khakha became Georgia’s most expensive ever footballer when he was bought for £12.2m by AC Milan, where he played for nine years. The 33-year-old transferred to Genoa in 2010 and recently signed a new two-year deal with the Serie A club.
Right midfield: Aleksandr KhatskevichOne of two Belarusians in the XI that night, Khatskevich won seven league titles while at Dynamo and was twice voted the Belarus player of the year. The midfielder was also another who went to the Far East. Khatskevich left Dynamo in 2004 and briefly played for Chinese outfit Tianjin Teda and then the Latvians Venta Ventspils, until he became player-coach at his first club, Dinamo Minsk in Belarus. After retiring from playing in 2007 Khatskevich managed the Belarus under-18 side and also Vitebsk. Since 2010 he has been on the coaching staff of Dynamo and the Ukrainian national team.
Central midfield: Valentin BelkevichThe other Belarusian in the starting XI, Dynamo’s influential playmaker went one better than his compatriot Khatskevich by winning eight league titles while at the club. Belkevich left at the end of the 2007/08 season to continue his career in Azerbaijan, but the 38-year-old was another old head brought back to Kyiv in 2010 to assist with coaching the youth team.
Central midfield: Andriy HusinHusin stayed on in Kyiv even after many of the famous 1999 side departed, although he opted for pastures new himself with a move to Russia in 2005. He joined Krylya Sovetov Samara, where he began his coaching career, and he also spent time at Saturn Moskovskaya Oblast. The 38-year-old was working with Anzhi Makhachkala until Yuri Semin put out the call; Husin is now head coach of Dynamo-2.
Left midfield: Vitaliy KosovskiyDynamo went 3-1 ahead in Kyiv after Kosovskiy’s pass into the Bayern box ricocheted back to him off of Samuel Kuffour for the winger smash the ball past Oliver Kahn. Kosovskiy made 25 appearances for Ukraine, but injury brought a premature end to his career at the age of 30 in 2003. He spent some time as a scout at Dynamo and worked as a youth coach with the national team, but is now the assistant manager of Dynamo Khmelnistkiy in the Druha Liha, Ukraine’s third tier.
Kosovskiy holds off Jens Jeremies
Centre-forward: Serhiy RebrovDynamo’s forward line was one of the most feared on the continent, and Serhiy Rebrov is still the club’s leading scorer both domestically and in Europe. His goals earned him a big-money move to England, although like Luzhny, he never really reproduced his Dynamo form in London. Rebrov’s time at Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United was without distinction, and eventually he returned to Ukraine. Since ending his career, Rebrov has been part of the backroom staff at Dynamo in various roles, and is currently assisting Semin with first team affairs.
Centre forward: Andriy Shevchenko In his prime, Rebrov’s partner Andriy Shevchenko was one of the best strikers in the world. His goal against Manchester City in the first leg last week was his 67th in UEFA competitions, putting him behind only Filippo Inzaghi and Raúl in the list of all-time scorers in Europe. The prolific Ukrainian international was another pupil of Dynamo’s academy and joined AC Milan in 1999, where he spent seven years and won the prestigious Ballon d’Or award. After an unsuccessful spell with Chelsea (and then another at Milan), in 2009 he was brought back to Dynamo by Valeriy Gazzaev. He remains a key figure both on and off the pitch.
Substitutes:Oleksandr Kyryukhin (who came on for Aleksandr Khatskevich in Kyiv) was never a regular at Dynamo and left the club the following year, enduring a nomadic career in Ukraine and Russia. Once a beach football player, Kyryukhin is no longer involved in the game.Vasyl Kardash (who replaced Andriy Husin in the second leg) left Dynamo in 2003 for their city rivals Arsenal Kyiv, where the 38-year-old spent three seasons. A year at Zakarpattia Uzhhorod followed until his retirement in 2006. Sometimes appearing on Ukrainian television as a pundit, he also manages FC Maestro, a celebrity football team comprised mainly of musicians.
Manager: Valeriy Lobanovskiy Few would disagree that Valeriy Lobanovskiy was one of the most influential managers of the modern era. The pioneering coach was renowned for his scientific approach to the game and was a shrewd tactician and strict disciplinarian. Between 1973 and 2002 Lobanovskiy had three spells in charge of Dynamo, winning a clutch of trophies in the Soviet era and in post-independent Ukraine, including two Cup Winners’ Cup and the European Super Cup. Lobanovskiy spent time in the Middle East and also took charge of the USSR and Ukrainian national teams, but returned to Kyiv in 1997. He was in ill health during his third stint at Dynamo and collapsed in the dugout towards the end of a match against Metalurh Zaporizhzhya and was subsequently diagnosed with a brain haemorrhage. Lobanovskiy died on 13 May 2002, aged 63.
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