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Dynamo Kiev vs. Manchester City, UEFA Champions League draw 2015: Have fun in that cold, empty stadium!


Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Dynamo Kiev are just an OK team, so Manchester City will probably be happy to have drawn them. Their fans are also banned from their next match, giving City a considerable advantage. But City have to play in an empty stadium in Ukraine in February, which sounds like just about the worst soccer thing possible. So have fun with that, City!

Manchester City

There is much evidence that the end times are drawing nigh. Donald Trump is leading the Republican primary race. Dogs and cats are living together. And Manchester City finished top of their Champions League qualifying group. This means that they won't be playing Barcelona! This means that they might actually make it past the round of 16! And then, well, who knows? Barcelona in the quarterfinals, probably.

As befits harbingers of global destruction, City are having a funny season. In Group D they lost twice to last season's finalists Juventus and were exceptionally fortunate to beat Sevilla at home, but were excellent away in Spain; in the Premier League, after opening with five clean sheets, they've swung between giddy thrashings of Newcastle and Bournemouth and being giddily thrashed by Liverpool, Spurs and Stoke. Much depends on the fitness of Sergio Agüero up front and Vincent Kompany at the back, though the summer acquisition of Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling has at least lifted some of the goalscoring pressure from Agüero's shoulders. A friendly draw, and they might finally make the impact on the competition that their expenditure would seem to warrant.

Key player: Vincent Kompany

At least, in Agüero's absence, the team has other goalscorers. Kompany, on the other hand, has missed 13 of City's games so far this season, and his central defensive alternates -- any two from Eliaquim Mangala, Nicolas Otamendi and Martin Demichelis -- haven't managed to keep a clean sheet in any of them. Not against Juventus, not against Hull City. At least Demichelis has the excuse of age. In short, while Kompany isn't perfect, he is vital; without him, nobody appears to have any idea what they're doing.

Dynamo Kiev

Somehow, for yet another summer, Dynamo Kiev managed to keep Andriy Yarmolenko from leaving for greener pastures. That's proven to be an excellent move, as he's helped them into the Champions League knockout stages for the first time in over a decade. He's joined by some other Ukrainian national team stars and Guys You Vaguely Know From Other Teams And Tournaments Or Maybe Video Games like Aleksandar Dragovic, Miguel Veloso and Younes Belhanda, making up a pretty solid squad.

Dynamo were not expected to get out of their group after getting drawn with Chelsea and FC Porto, but they managed to take five points from those teams in addition to grabbing the maximum off Maccabi Tel Aviv. That saw them sneak into this round and send Porto down to the Europa League.

Key player: Andriy Yarmolenko

Who else? Their superstar winger is good enough to get into most teams in the world, and he'll need to be spectacular for his team to beat Manchester City.


We'll go out on a limb here: Playing in Kiev in February is too much for Manchester City to handle. Dynamo Kiev by one goal or away goals.