Chance to return to European competition
The recent years have been quite difficult for Dynamo Moscow.
The capital club faced serious financial difficulties, flew to the FNL, returned to the Premier League, and then was mainly focused on maintaining a residence permit in the country's top division, which is why it did not play on the international arena for a long time.
In the 2012/13 season, the blue and white reached the playoff round of the Europa League qualification, but could not cope with the German Stuttgart, but in 2014 they still made it to the LE group stage, beating the Israeli Hapoel from Kiryat Shmona and the Cypriot "Omonia".
That performance in the Europa League became for Dynamo one of the most successful in Russian history.
Stanislav Cherchesov's players won six victories in Group E, and in the first round of the playoffs they prevailed over Anderlecht.
Only the future semi-finalist of the Napoli competition could stop the Russian team.
Since then, this European campaign for Dynamo has remained the last for the club.
In the 2014/15 season, the blue and white took fourth place in the Russian championship and were again supposed to play in the Europa League, but UEFA intervened in the matter.
The team was suspended from the tournament for violating financial fair play.
From that moment on, the hardest period in the history of the club began.
Unpredictability of selection
At the end of the last season, Dynamo won the right to try their hand at the Europa League again, starting from the 2nd qualifying round.
Although this time it will be quite difficult for the blue and white to repeat the result of six years ago and make it to the group stage of the Europa League.
There are several reasons for this at once, one of them is the change in the qualification format.
The coronavirus pandemic has had a serious impact on the conduct of competitions and forced the national European Championships to seriously tighten the schedule.
In this regard, there are almost no free days left for the qualifying games in European competitions.
However, it was impossible to do without them, so UEFA made a small reform.
According to the new format, in the Europa League qualification, the winner of the confrontation is determined by the results of one, not two matches.
This reduces the burden on the players, but also contributes to unexpected results.
This is perfectly illustrated by the results of the 1st qualifying round, during which two teams from the top 11 have already been eliminated.
Slovenian “Maribor” lost to Northern Ireland “Coleraine” in a penalty shootout, while Minsk “Dinamo” lost to Polish “Piast”.
Thus, the Moscow Dynamo need to be on the alert, even taking into account the fact that they got a more than modest team by European standards.
Lokomotiv from Tbilisi made it to the European competition for the first time in 12 years and is among the 20 weakest participants in the qualifying round based on UEFA club odds (1,150).
For comparison, the figure for Muscovites is 9.109.
In this case, the Georgian footballers can only hope for the help of their native stands.
Throughout their history, teams from the two countries have met only three times in European competitions - Russia was represented by the Moscow Torpedo.
In 1996, it lost to Dinamo Tbilisi in a two-legged confrontation in the first round of the UEFA Cup, and a year later defeated Merani-91 in the group stage of the Intertoto Cup.
According to the tournament format, 60 teams were divided into 12 groups of five each and played with each other once.
In recent years, Russian teams have rarely made it to the Europa League group stage, starting in the second qualifying round.
Last year, Tula "Arsenal" outright lost to the Azerbaijani "Neftchi", and earlier "Ufa", although it beat two opponents, but lost in the playoff round.
Then the Scottish Rangers under the leadership of Steven Gerrard stood in her way.
That campaign took a lot of energy from the team, crumpled up preparation and provoked an unsuccessful performance in the RPL season.
"Citizens" took only 14th place and were forced to defend their residence in the top division in transitional matches.
Over the past ten years, only three clubs from Russia have managed to make their way from the second round of selection to the group stage of the Europa League.
In the 2012/13 season, this was done by the star Anji Suleiman Kerimov with Samuel Eto'o, Fedor Smolov and Mubarak Bussufa, who took turns cracking down on Gonved, Vitesse and AZ.
A year later, his success was repeated by Rubin, and a year later - by Krasnodar.
At the same time, if the Kazanians were a little lucky with the draw, and the Norwegian Molde became the strongest opponent, the Southerners dealt with the formidable Real Sociedad, winning 3: 1 on aggregate.
As for Dynamo's rivals, in the next match they may face a meeting with Granada.
True, for this the Spaniards need to beat the Albanian Teuta.
Diego Martinez's players were one of the main discoveries of last season in La Liga, finishing seventh in the table.
And for some time the club was in the top three.
In general, it is still quite difficult to assess the future prospects of Dynamo.
The Moscow club will recognize its possible opponents in the playoffs by the results of the draw, which will take place on 18 September.
Given the rather low rating, Kirill Novikov's wards are likely to face a rather difficult test.
Nevertheless, one should not put an end to the chances of Dynamo again to be in the main tournament of the Europa League.
Muscovites have a solid selection of players and a good bench, which may allow them not only to compete in the international arena, but also not really sink in the national championship.
If the same “Ufa” two years ago had to play with virtually the same lineup, then Novikov has the ability to rotate.
The selection of performers in the middle and attacking lanes is especially impressive.
The acquisition of Daniil Fomin and Nikola Moro added depth in the support zone, and with the purchase of Daniil Lesovoy, the blue-and-white had another bright winger who could both make a breakthrough along the flank, and move to the center and punch.
This season the ex-Arsenal midfielder has already scored two goals.
In offense, the club is still more optimistic.
Nikolai Komlichenko and Sylvester Igbun can play on the edge, Maximilian Philippe can play the role of a drawn forward, and the high-speed Clinton N'Zhi can be useful both at the edge and in the center.
And that's not counting Evgeny Markov's return from the lease.
Last season, the forward played for Rubin and scored five goals in 22 meetings.
Of course, it will be difficult for him to break into the base, but he is quite capable of being useful when he leaves the bench.
Only the center of defense raises questions.
Yes, now Dynamo is one of the three most non-skipping RPL teams (four goals in seven games), but they desperately need to be strengthened in this position.
This became finally clear after Tony Shunich left for the Chinese "Beijing Guoan".
The Bosnian did not always make it to the squad and appeared on the field only twice this season, but he was always ready to replace one of the Roman Evgeniev - Ivan Ordets pair in case of injury.
Now there is practically no substitute for this position worthy of a player.
Yes, if necessary, Zaurbek Pliev can play in the center, but he tends to play on the flank more.
And the transfer to this position of one of the midfielders - Fomin or Charles Caboret - is like an emergency measure.
The transfer seems to be the only way out of the situation, since at the moment there are only seven foreign players in the club.
At the same time, Dynamo were lucky with the calendar.
In the next rounds of the Russian championship, not the strongest opponents are waiting for them in the person of Akhmat and Khimki, which frees them up in terms of rotation.
The next serious contender will be Krasnodar, the game with which is scheduled for October 4.
Considering that the selection of the Europa League will end three days earlier, this is quite comfortable.
The only thing that makes you think is the form of blue and white in recent meetings.
At first, they could not cope with Ufa away, and then completely lost to Rubin in their field.