Since being unveiled as honorary chairman of Dynamo Brest in the Summer of 2018, Diego Maradona has “overseen” the most successful period of the club’s history. Last season’s first ever league title triumph was due, in no small part, to the genius of everyone’s favourite dancing Argentinian.
In reality it’s not actually clear what Maradona did at the club, if anything. He signed a three-year deal but soon after his lavish unveiling in Belarus, he had taken a job with Dorados in Mexico. Is he still ‘honorary chairman’ at Dynamo? Who knows.
With or without the footballing legend, Dynamo Brest did manage to dethrone BATE Borisov last season, ending a reign of 13 consecutive titles. Dynamo proved very solid at the back but also more clinical in front of goal than previously, top scoring in the league by some margin. Only one defeat blemished an almost perfect record.
— FC Dynamo Brest (@dynamobrest) March 30, 2020
Things, however, haven’t exactly gone to plan in the off-season for the new champions. Manager Marcel Liczka parted ways with the club without any obvious reason. First choice goalkeeper, Aleksandr Gutor and captain Pavel Nekhajchik both left on free transfers to league rivals Soligorsk and BATE respectively. Nekhajchik could prove a massive loss – he contributed 12 goals and four assists in the league and was a real driving force behind the title push. Despite some key departures pre-season, Dynamo have recruited well in midfield and attack and have kept hold of their regular defensive lineup. In all competitions this season they have played five and only conceded once. Four points from their opening two league games has been a respectable start to their title defence.
Slavia Mozyr visit the champions this weekend and should be full of confidence after recording a huge upset win over BATE last time out. Having suffered a 3-1 loss on the opening weekend, Slavia bounced back in emphatic fashion. The game itself was quite a close affair with neither side doing enough to deserve the win. Nikita Melnikov was handed a start replacing the injured Dennis Tetteh and bagged himself both of Slavia’s goals.
The first was a rebound tapped into an empty net after some very poor goalkeeping. The second came from a low cross which was bundled home off his shin (having fallen over looking for a penalty). Like any true striker, he wheeled away in celebration – clearly intending such a deft finish. I wouldn’t be in any rush to back Melnikov to repeat his goalscoring heroics here again this weekend though. His brace here matched his two-goal tally from the 26 league games he played last season.
Dynamo haven’t tasted defeat in the league in 19 games and are again proving very solid at the back this season. So far, they are the best side I’ve watched in the competition (granted this is Belarus so that might not mean much!).
New signing Elis Bakaj looks like he will be key in midfield. Up top Dzyanis Laptsew will look to open his account for the year, having netted 12 times last season he looks a real goal threat.
A comfortable home win is expected here: