On May 26, Kyiv's National Sports Complex (NSC) Olympiysky will host the final game of the most prestigious football club competition around the globe. Real Madrid and Liverpool will figure it out on Ukraine's most recognized sports arena, located in the downtown Kyiv. And, as much as fans look forward to the upcoming match, in this sketch we offer you to take a trip to the past, remembering some of the most spectacular and memorable football games played on this stadium.
Opened: August 12, 1923
Reconstructions: 1967, 1999, 2011
Capacity: 70,050 (since 2011)
Field size: 105 m by 68 m
Record attendance: 102,000
(Dynamo Kyiv vs Bayern Munich,
March 16, 1977)
Dynamo Kyiv vs Bayern Munich, 2-0,
UEFA Supercup, 1975
That was the first line-up of Dynamo Kyiv FC that became a legend in the history of the Ukrainian and international football alike. The creator of that wonder was the one and only Valeriy Lobanovsky, the long-time manager of the team and, later, the national squad of Ukraine. Dynamo Kyiv also became the first in the USSR to win a European football trophy. The squad that included quite famous players - Yevhen Rudakov, Mykhailo Fomenko, Volodymyr Muntyan, Leonid Buryak, Oleg Blokhin and others - brought Dynamo and its fans a sweet victory to remember.
Blokhin, the great forward and the crowd's favorite scored three goals in two matches with Bayern, one of the top European teams at the time. Later, Buryak, Blokhin, and Fomenko trained the national football team in Ukraine.
German Democratic Republic vs Spain, 1-1
Summer Olympic Games in Moscow, 1980
In 1979, the USSR sent troops to Afghanistan, which evoked a mass outrage and boycott of the Summer Olympics in 1980; athletes from more than 50 countries did not participate. Nonetheless, Kyiv was involved in the first Olympics ever held in Eastern Europe, hosting seven games of the football tournament. The Republican Stadium (the-then name of NSC Olimpiysky, - 112 International) was modernized and upgraded for the purpose of the Olympics, and by the time the Games opened, it was ready to host the games.
The football competition turned the huge attention of fans in Kyiv; every match gained the attendance of 80,000-100,000 viewers. People wanted to be a part of the big show, in the epicenter of the entire world's attention.
The East German national team played the opener against Spain, attended by roughly 100,000 people. The game ended up in a 1-1 draw, with both goals being scored in one single minute. Later, The Republican stadium also hosted next games: Iraq - Costa Rica (3-0), East Germany - Algeria (1-0), Finland - Iraq (0-0), East Germany - Syria (5-0), Finland - Costa Rica (3-0). Over two weeks of the 1980 Summer Olympics, some 575,000 people attended the arena. In the quarterfinal match, which was played in Kyiv, East Germany devastated Iraq (4-0). The Germans made it to the finals, eventually losing to Czechoslovakia and finishing as silver medallists.
Dynamo Kyiv vs Bayern Munich, 3-3
UEFA Champions League, 1999
The then Dynamo Kyiv was another great team led by the prominent head coach Valeriy Lobanovsky. Despite a trouble during the group stage of the Champions League (losing to Panathinaikos clearly did not make things any better), Dynamo came to senses and gained the momentum, defeating the other opponents - including the mighty Real Madrid - and finishing first in the group. And once again, the fate decided that Dynamo goes toe-to-toe with Bayern Munich; only this time, the Germans fought back successfully.
Andriy Shevchenko and Vitaliy Kosovsky scored for Dynamo, with Shevchenko scoring two of the three goals. But as the first half ended 2-1, Bayern considerably stepped up the pace and scored another two, making it necessary for the White Blues to score more in the return leg in Germany. Apparently, Lady Mercy favored Bayern that time - Dynamo lost 0-1 and was eliminated from that Champions League. Bayern made it to the finals, crossing swords with Manchester United. The British team celebrated victory (2-1) and winning the main trophy of the competition, the European Champions' Cup.
Ukraine vs Germany, 3-3
Friendly match, 2011
In April 2007, UEFA Executive Director Michel Platini announced that Ukraine and Poland would be the co-hosts of Euro 2012 championship. The Ukrainian government paid much effort to make NSC Olimpiysky the main arena of the competition. However, before hosting the Euro 2012 games - including the final match, the stadium needed some upgrades and renovations. The major and long-lasting reconstruction began in 2008, thanks to which the reborn NSC Olimpiysky finally looked like an elite, top-level European sports arena - not the Soviet-style bulky bowl.
National teams of Ukraine and Germany played the first game on the modernized stadium since its reopening in 2011. The opponents put up a decent game, where the first half ended with the score 3-1 in favor of the home team; Andriy Yarmolenko, Yevhen Konoplyanka, and Viktor Nazarenko brought Ukraine's fans real joy, scoring beautiful goals. In the second half, the Germans evened the odds, which made the final score 3-3 and still made the football supporters happy - especially the Ukrainian ones.
Ukraine vs Sweden, 2-1
Group stage, UEFA Euro 2012
Ukraine overplayed Sweden in the first group stage match. Sweden's prominent forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored first, but Andriy Shevchenko evened the score and then led his team to victory, scoring once again.
Thanks to the huge inflow of foreign tourists that flooded the streets, the downtown Kyiv turned into a bright palette of many colors. But blue and yellow dominated, of course, due to the fact that these are the national colors of both Ukraine and Sweden. Mostly tolerant and friendly, the Swedes were heartily welcomed in Kyiv and gladly stayed in the city until their team was kicked out of the competition; but so was Ukraine, eventually.
Spain vs Italy, 4-0
Final, UEFA Euro 2012
While Ukraine failed to qualify for the playoffs of Euro 2012, Spaniards and Italians confidently marched to the main game of the competition. Back then, it was Spain that dominated in the European football cups; the national team won Euro 2008 and the FIFA World Cup 2012. So, no wonder the marvelous Furia Roja easily made it to the final of another Euro. In the first toe-to-toe game in the group stage, where they shared the same group, Spaniards and Italians put up a good show. The final, played between the same opponents, did not look as interesting as the first game - well, at least not at all interesting for Italian supporters who watched Squadra Azzurra being destroyed goal by goal. Spain dominated, eventually triumphed (4-0) and defended the title of the champions of Europe.
And now, there's more to come for the NSC Olimpysky in Kyiv. Dear fans, get ready, because UEFA Champions League final is almost there!