It’s pretty clear that Ukrainian giants Dynamo Kiev are huge underdogs against Manchester City tonight.
Currently joint top of their domestic league alongside Shakhtar Donetsk, reigning champions Kiev have never replicated their home success on the European stage.
They’ve struggled to make a serious impact in the Champions League since the 1990’s, when they reached the semi-finals in 1998/99, before being eliminated by Bayern Munich.
City would love to reach the latter stages and will be hoping to make light work of Kiev, after resting their first team for the FA Cup game last weekend.
But, with their Champions League record hardly excellent, Kiev may fancy their chances of an upset and if they do cause one, they have three players who will be central to any success:
26-year-old striker Yarmolenko is Kiev’s main man in an attacking sense.
He has excellent dribbling skills and a thunderous left foot, which he utilises to score from long range regularly.
Signed from first division side Desna Chirnihiv in 2006, the lanky forward has long been linked with a move to one of Europe’s big leagues.
However, much like many of Kiev’s former great strikers (Sergey Rebrov and certainly during his Chelsea days, Andriy Shevchenko), Yarmolenko hasn’t produced his finest form on the biggest stage.
That’s probably why he’s still playing in Ukraine, but he’s certainly one of Kiev’s most potent attackers and is fifth on the club’s all time leading goalscoring charts, 16 goals behind Shevchenko.
Considering how Man City defended on Sunday, this could be the perfect opportunity for Yarmolenko to announce himself on the European stage.
Portuguese midfielder Veloso has had a strange career.
After coming through youth ranks at Sporting Lisbon alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, Veloso built a reputation as one of the top young midfielders in Europe.
There was interest from the Premier League but the playmaker ended up in Italy before signing for Kiev in 2012.
Despite never reaching the top level, Veloso has always possessed the tools to control a game.
A wide range of passing, especially long range, allows him to sit deep in midfield and launch attacks from a ‘quarterback’ position.
His link with Yarmolenko is key to Kiev’s success and with City’s attacking midfielders hardly renowned for hounding the opposition, Veloso may be given the chance to dictate proceedings.
Left back isn’t usually a position where you’d expect to find a potential game changer, but Portuguese defender Antunes has the quality to hurt City.
Energetic and always willing to attack and overlap, the former Malaga man (and team mate of Martin Demichelis) has an excellent cross on him, and will be one of the main providers for the likes of Yarmolenko and Lukasz Teodorczyk.
You’d suspect he’ll have his hands full defensively though, with Raheem Sterling likely to give the 28-year-old a stern test.
Should they switch off defensively, Antunes could be afforded the space to get forward and get Kiev on the front foot.