Koeman: 'It’s a huge challenge'

Dynamo Kyiv was not the opponent Ronald Koeman was hoping for when the draw for the Champions League third qualifying round was made Friday afternoon. In his initial reaction the Feyenoord coach admits that his side has a tough trial ahead. 'Dynamo Kyiv is a team with a lot of internationals and European experience. It’s a huge challenge, but I see chances for us.'

Feyenoord travel to Kyiv for the first leg, which takes place on 31 July or 1 August. The second leg is at De Kuip a week later.

Koeman does not feel that playing the first leg away is necessarily an advantage. 'They are the type of team that’s known for sitting back and perhaps being stronger on their travels than at home. On the other hand, with our fanatical supporters we will definitely get a big lift from a full house at De Kuip.'

Still a long way off in the Netherlands, the new season is already underway in Ukraine. 'That means they will be further along than we are in terms of rhythm and fitness. The advantage is that we have the chance to watch Kyiv before the tie, which will allow us to prepare the team optimally.'

Koeman plans to jet out to Ukraine himself. 'We don’t have anything on next week and I like to be able to analyse opponents with my own eyes.'

The coach says there were mixed reactions to the draw among his players. 'Everyone has his own preferences, but we all agree that it’s a tough draw. Unlike Kyiv we have next to no European experience. It’ll be the first time we have played at such a high level. It’s the job of the technical staff to prepare and give confidence to the group as well as we can. It’s a huge challenge, but I definitely feel there are chances there for us.'
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