The era from the 1960s through to the 1990s was an incredibly productive one for Dynamo Kiev who produced four distinct teams of exceptional quality, one in each decade, that established the club in the heart of the European mainstream. In the 1960s there was Biba and Byshovets, part of Viktor Maslov’s breakthrough side that broke Moscow dominance by winning three Soviet titles in succession between 1966 and 1968. Fast forward to the late 1990s when Shevchenko and Rebrov formed the best attacking pairing in Europe and almost took the club to its first Champions League Final.
Talented teams these undoubtedly were, but it was in the decades in between when Kiev produced its two seminal teams: the brilliant 1975 and 1986 outfits that both peaked with European Cup Winners Cup success. The great forward Oleg Blokhin was the sole player whose career spanned both meaning he was in a unique position to comment on their respective qualities. His considered view was that while there was more individual talent in 1975, the 1986 team was a better unit overall.
So we set out to ask the same question in our latest Eleven post by looking at both teams in detail and creating the ideal combination of player that captures the best of both. Our result mirrors the view of Blokhin: the 1975 team is better represented in the creative positions while the 1986 team contributes more players to our eleven overall, albeit by a narrow six to five margin.
On the graphic the players marked in blue are from 1975 and the players in red are from 1986. We have selected the 1975 version of Blokhin as he was at the peak of his career then. The formation we chose could only be the classic Kiev 4-4-2.
Read about the players who made our selection below.
1. Yevhen RUDAKOV Goalkeeper 1962-77
A dominant presence between the posts for a decade and a half, Rudakov was a calm and reliable keeper who also served as the Soviet Union’s first choice during the late 60s and early 70s. Russian Player of the Year in 1971 and winner of an Olympic gold medal the following summer. Earned 42 international caps.
2. Vladimir BESSONOV Right back 1976-90
An athletic defender whose great pace and powerful shooting added a potent attacking threat to his accomplished defensive prowess. Capped 79 times for the Soviet Union
3. Anatoli DEMIANENKO Left back 1979-91
In the second half of the eighties Demianenko was probably the best left-sided defender in the world after Paolo Maldini. A quick, dynamic and clever fullback who was highly effective up and down the left side of the pitch. Capped 80 times and played at three World Cups.
4. Viktor KOLOTOV Central midfield 1971-81
An all-action, all-energy box-to-box player who was equally at home helping out his defence as he was pushing forward to add an attacking threat. An inspirational leader capped 54 times for the Soviet Union.
5. Sergei BALTACHA Central defence 1976-88
A mobile and disciplined central defender with a hint of steel about his game, Baltacha was an understated yet effective player who performed his defensive duties with aplomb. Won 45 Soviet caps during the 1980s.
6. Oleg KUZNETSOV Central defence / Sweeper 1983-90
One of Europe’s best central defenders in the latter half of the 1980s, Kuznetsov was a composed and elegant presence at the back. He read the game brilliantly, was dominant in the air and very comfortable with the ball at his feet bringing the ball out of defence. 58 caps for the Soviet Union.
7. Vladimir MUNTYAN Right midfield 1965-77
Diminutive in size but a highly skilled and energetic presence in midfield at his best creating chances and getting into good shooting positions. Not a natural tackler but disciplined enough to drop deep and provide cover to the players behind him. Earned 49 Soviet caps.
8. Leonid BURYAK Left midfield 1973-84
An exceptionally gifted individual technically, Buryak was a very difficult player for opponents to pin down as he nimbly flitted into space between midfield and attack. Formed a telepathic relationship with Oleg Blokhin and won 49 international caps.
9. Igor BELANOV Centre forward 1985-89
The player with the shortest Kiev career in this selection, but one who still made an enormous impact during the four years he spent with the club. Belanov was a clinical finisher who relied on stealth and intelligence rather than power and running. Winner of five major titles and top scorer for his club in their Cup Winners Cup campaign, that same year he was named European Footballer of the Year for his performances in Mexico with the Soviet Union. Earned 33 caps.
10. Aleksandr ZAVAROV Central midfield 1983-88
A midfield playmaker adept at pushing forward to support the attack, Zavarov was the creative fulcrum of the late 80s Kiev and Soviet sides. Quick, mobile, two footed and an accurate passer of the ball; most of Kiev’s best attacking moves went through him. 41 Soviet Union caps.
11. Oleg BLOKHIN Second striker / Winger 1969-88
This legend of the Soviet and Ukrainian game remains all-time top scorer for Kiev, the Soviet national team and the Soviet Top League. Devastatingly fast and skilful, he was just as effective playing at centre forward as he was on the wing driving opposing defenders to distraction. The USSR’s most capped player with 112 appearances.