Breaking Down Manchester City's Champions League Opponents Dynamo Kiev

Rob Pollard@@RobPollard_Featured ColumnistDecember 16, 2015

Dynamo's midfielder Serhiy Rybalka (L) evades Maccabi's Nigerian midfielder Nosa Igiebor during the UEFA Champions League Group G football match between FC Dynamo Kiev and Maccabi Tel-Aviv on December 9, 2015 at the Olympic stadium in Kiev.  AFP PHOTO / SERGEI SUPINSKY / AFP / SERGEI SUPINSKY        (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
SERGEI SUPINSKY/Getty Images

Manchester City were presented with an excellent opportunity to go further than they ever have in the Champions League on Monday when they were drawn against Dynamo Kiev in the last 16.

The Ukrainian side, managed by former Tottenham striker Sergei Rebrov, were one of the weaker sides left in the draw, meaning City, who have been beaten at this stage of the competition for the last two seasons, have a wonderful opportunity to move into the quarter-finals for the first time in their history.

One for the diary. The #UCL round of 16 programme... #UCLdraw pic.twitter.com/fy2C5csAuc

— Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) December 14, 2015

There are some drawbacks. The 5,000-mile round trip for the first leg in Kiev is hardly ideal, nor are the weather conditions, which at that time of year are likely to see the temperature fall below freezing.

But in terms of the quality of opposition, this Dynamo side would have been high on City’s most wanted list prior to Monday’s draw in Nyon.

Rebrov’s side play a patient game and are capable of frustrating more technically gifted sides. Their 0-0 draw at home to Chelsea in the group stage was a case in point, with Dynamo slowing the tempo down in the second half and frustrating the west Londoners.

And in the game at Stamford Bridge, it was a familiar story, with Dynamo again playing a patient style, building from the back and remaining solid for much of the match. Only a late Willian goal handed Chelsea a 2-1 win and three vital points.

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Dynamo often play a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Andriy Yarmolenko, their star player, operating on the right-hand side of the three support roles in behind Artem Kravets.

Yarmolenko has scored 13 goals and assisted eight in 22 matches in all competitions this season. He has 22 goals in 55 games for Ukraine, and 108 goals for Kiev overall. He is a quality player who City need to be aware of. 

OPORTO, PORTUGAL - NOVEMBER 24:  FC Dynamo Kyiv's forward Andriy Yarmolenko (R) celebrates scoring Dynamo's goal with his team mate FC Dynamo Kyiv's forward Junior Moraes during the Champions League match between FC Porto and FC Dynamo Kyiv at Estadio do
Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images

Kravets struggled against Chelsea to offer anything like the kind of potency needed to punish big Champions League sides, and City, who will be hoping to have Vincent Kompany back by the time this tie comes around, will fancy their chances of dealing with him.

Kiev’s passing and possession game is excellent, though, and the Blues will need to be aware and not get frustrated, particularly in the away leg.

Dynamo Kiev's players celebrate after Andriy Yarmolenko's scoring during an UEFA Europa League group J football match between Dynamo Kiev and Steaua Bucharest in Kiev on October 2, 2014. AFP PHOTO / GENYA SAVILOV        (Photo credit should read GENYA SAV
GENYA SAVILOV/Getty Images

They will come into the game having been on an 11-week break from action. Their final group game in the Champions League against Maccabi Tel Aviv saw their season draw to a close, and the home match with City on February 24 will be their first taste of action since that game.

Does that mean they will be lacking match sharpness or will they be less battered and bruised than Manuel Pellegrini’s side, who will play at least 14 games during that period?

Much will depend on City’s injury situation. If they are still suffering, like they have been throughout the season, it will make their task far more difficult. Get their star players back to full fitness, and they should come through this tie with few difficulties.

To come through a group containing Chelsea, Porto and Maccabi Tel Aviv, having lost just once, shows Dynamo Kiev should not be taken lightly.

They lack star quality, though, and this is City’s chance to make a real impact on Europe’s elite competition—a hugely important aspect of chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak’s vision for the club.

City’s owners have delivered the domestic success they promised when assuming control of the club back in 2008. They now need to become a force in the Champions League to continue their ascent, both on and off the pitch.

Chelsea's Belgian midfielder Eden Hazard (L) vies with Dynamo Kiev's Ukrainian forward Andriy Yarmolenko during a UEFA Chamions league group stage football match between Chelsea and Dynamo Kiev at Stamford Bridge stadium in west London on November 4, 2015
GLYN KIRK/Getty Images

Rob Pollard is Bleacher Report's lead Manchester City correspondent and will be following the club from a Manchester base throughout the 2015/16 season. All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Follow him on Twitter @RobPollard_.