The most successful team in both the Soviet and Ukrainian eras, Dynamo Kyiv were all but usurped by Shakhtar Donetsk until the dramatic double win of 2015. Under former Dynamo (and Spurs) forward Serhiy Rebrov, Dynamo finished the league unbeaten all season while in the cup, wild scenes followed heroic goalkeeping from veteran Olexandr Shovkovskiy in a penalty shoot-out against Shakhtar at Kiev’s Olimpiyskiy Stadium.
While Donetsk was the scene of the bitter Ukrainian conflict, Shakhtar had still managed to romp home ahead of the pack in 2014. Dynamo, meanwhile, had finished out of the top three for the first time since Ukraine gained independence in 1992.
Now permanently in charge. Rebrov could thank Andriy Yarmolenko and striker Artem Kravets for scoring nearly 40 goals between them in all competitions. This included a run in the Europa League, and a first European quarter-final in six years.
Founded as a branch of the Ukrainian Electrical Workers’ Union under the newly established Communist set-up in 1927, Dynamo Kyiv (then Dynamo Kiev) were inaugural members of the Soviet ‘Higher’ League in 1936 and were never relegated.
Kiev only began to challenge Moscow’s domestic monopoly in the Khrushchëv era of the early 1960s. The post-Stalin national leader was a Dynamo Kiev fan, and political favours soon fell their way.
Club coach Oleg Ochenkov had brought in three youngsters who would have a huge bearing on the later development of the club as a whole: Jozef Szabó, Oleg Basilevich and a lively winger called Valeriy Lobanovskiy. He and Basilevich combined to lead the attack and win the Soviet title in 1961.
When Viktor Maslov arrived, Lobanovskiy left to start his coaching career in Odessa. Maslov’s men, though, most notably forward Anatoly Bishovets, maintained domestic success and made strides in Europe. By the early 1970s, Kiev’s giant goalkeeper Rudakov, midfielders Troshkin and Kolotov, and forward Onishenko, also formed the core of the Soviet national side.
It was then that master tactician Lobanovskiy and harsh trainer Basilevich returned to the club to establish a scientific regime, with meticulous preparation of players, not least talented youngster Oleg Blokhin. With a midfield of Buryak, Muntyan, Fomenko and Veremeyev, Dynamo Kiev won the European Cup-Winners’ Cup in 1975, but the team failed to equal this success after the team were selected en bloc as Soviet Olympic representatives. They were simply playing too much football – and Basilevich left.
New arrivals Aleksandr Zavarov from Voroshchilovgrad and Igor Belanov from Odessa later arrived, Lobanovskiy working on their speed and technique. With Blokhin and Buryak adding experience, this new-look Kiev side won the double and another Cup-Winners’ Cup in 1986. Zavarov and Belanov shone at the World Cup that summer, but subsequent transfers abroad did them little good. Lobanovskiy left to coach in the Middle East.
With post-Soviet independence, Dynamo were rebranded as Ukrainian-language ‘Kyiv’ but lacked the wherewithal in a transitional economy to match past successes. It took the arrival of entrepreneur Hrihoriy Surkis to re-establish the club – despite a two-year European ban for the alleged bribing of match officials in 1995.
The key to Kyiv’s revival, and a third great side, was the return of Lobanovskiy – and young forwards Serhiy Rebrov and Andriy Shevchenko. Again, speed and technique were meticulously developed, and Dynamo claimed significant scalps in Europe (Barcelona, PSV Eindhoven) while dominating at home.
In the 1998-99 Champions League campaign, Dynamo shocked Real Madrid to set up a classic semi-final with Bayern Munich. Leading 3-1 at home, Kyiv seemed to be cruising to a first Champions League final – until Bayern pegged them back to 3-3, then won the second leg 1-0. The moment had gone. Shevchenko and Rebrov headed abroad, Lobanovskiy took on the national job but died of a stroke in 2002. The Dynamo stadium was later renamed after him.
Despite the return of Shevchenko from a successful stint at Milan, Dynamo had lost their momentum and became regular runners-up to rivals Shakhtar Donetsk. This still meant regular appearances in the Champions League – without any of the advances of the Lobanovskiy eras.
Tickets are available at offices at both the Olimpiyskiy and Dynamo Stadiums.
The Magazin FK Dynamo Kyiv (daily 10am-8pm) stands right outside the colonnaded main entrance of the Dynamo Stadium. Note the rather snazzy reworkings of traditional Ukrainian folkwear to sport the Dynamo brand. There’s also a smaller souvenir shop just inside the main entrance, and smaller outlet at Kiev’s Boryspil Airport.
To the left of the Olimpiyskiy Sport & Beer bar/restaurant in front of the West Stand of the national stadium, a Dynamo Kyiv Museum is in the process of being opened.