Barcelona will be aiming to step up their performances in the UEFA Champions League after securing their first win in the last round against Dynamo Kyiv.

Dynamo Kyiv host Barcelona on Matchday 4 of the 2021/22 UEFA Champions League, as both teams hope to get a grip on their European campaign. With no victories or goals scored in their first three games, the home side have found life hard in a tough Group E and have slim chances of progressing through to the next round.

Dynamo Kyiv are one of the three sides yet to find the back of the net in the competition, alongside fellow Ukrainian outfit Shakhtar Donetsk and Swedish side Malmo. Their goalless draw against Benfica remains the only game in which they picked up a point. Despite their terrible record, a surprise victory on Tuesday would see them leapfrog Barcelona.

Dynamo Kyiv’s defensive form at home should fill them with confidence, as they have kept a clean sheet in each of their last 13 home games in all competitions. However, these records could be blown away if Barcelona step up their pursuit of a win in order to keep themselves relevant in the group.

Relevance is what Barcelona seek, not just in the Champions League but in La Liga as well. The Catalans have been embroiled in many problems this season, including financial troubles, squad issues and an ineffective manager, who was duly sacked last week. Ronald Koeman’s exit was the biggest story after their loss to Rayo Vallecano.

The Dutchman had led the Blaugrana to a disastrous start domestically and in Europe. In a group including Benfica and Bayern Munich, the Catalans were expected to fight for one of the top spots. Instead, their greatly progress hinges on the result of this clash against Dynamo.

Barcelona can take confidence from their previous encounter against the Ukrainian side, in which a Gerard Pique goal proved sufficient to help them collect their first points of the season in Europe. However, if they go back to performing as they did under Koeman, they might find themselves at the very bottom of the group.

Team News & Tactics

Dynamo Kyiv

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Dynamo’s quest to topple Barcelona in the group standings might be a little difficult considering the number of players they might have to make do without for this match. As many as six key players are missing from action for the hosts with Ibrahim Kargbo, Vladyslav Kulach, Artem Besedin, Denys Popov, Vladyslav Supriaga and Vitali Mykolenko ruled out.

Mykolenko’s absence will force manager Mircea Lucescu to start Oleksandr Karavaev at left-back. Meanwhile, Popov, who is recovering from a cruciate ligament injury, will be replaced by 19-year-old Ilya Zabarnyi in central defence. Eric Ramirez, Ilya Shkurin, and Benjamin Verbic are all vying for a place to lead the line, and it seems Lucescu might opt for Shkurin to do so.

It won’t be surprising to see Lucescu play a weakened side following the many injuries, but the Ukrainian giants might still be hoping for a miracle of sorts with their current good form at home.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Boyko; Kedziora, Zabarnyi, Syrota, Karavaev; Sydorchuk, Shaparenko; Tsygankov, Buyalskyi, de Pena; Shkurin

Barcelona

A minor Tachycardia attack for Sergio Aguero in the game against Deportivo Alaves at the weekend grabbed all the headlines, with the striker now sidelined for three months. He joins Martin Braithwaite and Gerard Pique out on the sidelines for Barcelona, while Pedri and Sergi Roberto also remain unavailable for selection for interim manager Sergi Barjuan.

There is some good news though as Ousmane Dembele, Ansu Fati, Ronald Araujo and Frenkie de Jong are all back in the squad for the game and in contention to feature in Kyiv.

We expect de Jong to start in a midfield three alongside Sergio Busquets and Gavi. Ansu Fati could also start if fully fit and line up on the left flank in the final third, with Sergino Dest on the right and Memphis Depay through the middle.

Clement Lenglet could be drafted into the lineup to partner Eric Garcia at the heart of the defence in Pique’s injury-enforced absence. Oscar Mingueza and Jordi Alba should be continuing their roles at full-back.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): ter Stegen; Mingueza, Garcia, Lenglet, Alba; de Jong, Busquets, Gavi; Dest, Depay, Fati

Key Stats

  • Dynamo Kyiv are one of three sides yet to find the back of the net in this year’s Champions League group stage, along with Malmo and fellow Ukrainian outfit Shakhtar Donetsk.
  • Dynamo Kyiv have kept a clean sheet in their last 13 home games in all competitions.
  • Dynamo Kyiv have failed to score in five of their last six Champions League matches.
  • Barcelona have won their last five matches against Dynamo Kyiv in all competitions.
  • Barcelona are winless in five away games in all competitions this season, failing to score in the last four.

Player to Watch

Memphis Depay

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Barcelona are not scoring too many goals currently and while Koeman’s tactics might have been a big problem in that process, things need to change now that the Dutchman is gone. The onus will now be on another Dutchman, and the man set to lead their line for Barcelona on Tuesday, Memphis Depay.

The Netherlands international needs to nail down the central striker role for the Catalans, with Aguero now sidelined for the foreseeable future. Depay needs to forge a strong partnership with Ansu Fati who is a permanent fixture on the left flank when fit and available. He needs to score plenty of goals in the upcoming games to cement his position in the side, especially with a new manager incoming.

Prediction

Dynamo Kyiv 0-2 Barcelona

Dynamo Kyiv might be on a mighty impressive run of form at home. Despite that, they are not expected to beat a team like Barcelona even though the Catalans are going through a difficult phase. The Ukrainian giants couldn’t do get the better of their opponents during the previous matchday and might find it harder to do so on Tuesday especially with the number of injury absentees.

We are expecting Barcelona to get a grip on their Champions League campaign by beating Dynamo Kyiv in Ukraine. Moreover, having shown some signs of life in the weekend draw against Alaves, the Blaugrana could go on to score more than the one goal they did in the previous fixtures, which could keep their hosts at the very bottom of the group standings.

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