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Valeriy Lobanovsky – the most outsdanding coach in Ukrainian football
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 14 Jun 2012

Valeriy Lobanovsky – the most outsdanding coach in Ukrainian football


And when we are talking about football in Ukraine, we have to give respect to a figure of colossal footballing importance that made great impact at the European football. Valeriy Lobanovskyi’s impact on the game both in Ukraine and the continent as a whole should not be underestimated.

A famous Dynamo Kyiv winger – not to mention the inventor of the “banana shot” – in the late fifties and early sixties, Lobanovskyi hung up his boots in 1968 aged just 29 before setting out on a 32-year managerial career which would see the inscrutable former USSR international achieve worldwide recognition. His first job, at Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, lasted for four years between 1969 and 1973, although Lobanovskyi made relatively little impact at Stadium Meteor during his time there. However, when he returned to Dynamo as head coach in 1974, he began to put in place the methodology that would come to be viewed as his enduring legacy.

Famed for being as pragmatic a coach as he was exuberant a player, Jonathan Wilson eruditely describes Lobanovskyi in Inverting the Pyramid as the embodiment of “the great struggle between individuality and system: the player in him wanted to dribble, to invent tricks and to embarrass his opponents, and yet, as he later admitted, his training at the Polytechnic Institute (his University) drove him to a systematic approach, to break football down into its component tasks”.

An immensely gifted schoolboy mathematician, Lobanovskyi’s view of football as a deeply compartmentalised game was perhaps to be expected. Taking a highly scientific approach to tactical instruction, Lobanovskyi developed a theory of football as a system comprising of twenty-two elements moving with the confines of the given area of the pitch and subjected to the restrictions of the rules. Again as Wilson points out, the Ukrainian came to the conclusion that football was not about individuals, but the coalitions and connections between them.

In his first season as Dynamo manager the club won a double, claiming both the Soviet Top League championship and the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup to become the first team from the USSR to win a continental title. Indeed, inspired by the goals of the prolific Oleg Blokhin and the dynamic midfield play of Viktor Kolotov, Lobanovskyi’s side embarked upon an unparalleled period of dominance in the domestic game over the fifteen years that were to follow.

Eight league titles and six Soviet Cups under Lobanovskyi’s stewardship saw Dynamo become the dominant force in Eastern European football, excelling domestically as well as winning two Cup Winners’ Cups to make their mark on continental competition. Usually deployed in their iconic 4-1-3-2 formation with Anatoly Konkov anchoring the midfield and Blokhin and Onyshchenko providing the fire-power, Dynamo’s first incarnation under Lobanovskyi has gone down in history as one of the greatest Eastern European club sides of all time.

His success with Dynamo aside, Lobanovskyi also enjoyed a fruitful time in three spells as manager of the USSR, guiding the team to a bronze medal at the 1976 Olympics as well as finishing runners-up to the Netherlands of Rinus Michels in the 1988 European Championships. Several years in charge of Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates in the 1990s yielded little, but his return to Kiev in 1997 heralded an upturn in the fortunes of a club that had slumped since his departure.

Monument dedicated to Valeriy Lobanovskyi, Kiev- Ukraine.

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11.07.2012    Ruth

We should not fgeort, that the Netherland played against an other big team of the 70s int the 74 final. Western Germany had players from Bayern and Mf6nchengladbach, this was a very good team.I think the Ajax team of the late 60s / early 70s was the

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