First Division. The whole season should be looked through World Cup lenses – the national team took priority. To a large degree the drama of championship decided in the very last match of the season resulted from the World Cup: Dinamo (Kiev) started strong, then, right after the world finals, their from dropped – which was in mid-season. The chance – quite surprising, for they were practically outsiders in recent years – Dinamo (Moscow) had of winning the title was also related to the World Cup: unlike Dinamo (Kiev) and Spartak (Moscow), their players were not involved in the national team and had only the domestic championship to think of. Nobody was looking and they managed to climb on top – from next to last position after the 8th round. Others were at best uneven – Zenit played well, but its shortcoming were already well known, it was a squad good enough for 3rd place and no more. Anyhow.
Torpedo (Kutaisi) started relatively well, but with time their limited team lost steam – last with 17 points and relegated.
Chernomoretz (Odessa) finished 15th with 23 points and was also relegated. Locally, the disaster was blamed on bad management.
Ararat (Erevan) survived – 14th with 26 points.
Neftchi (Baku) – 13th with 26 points. Well… the usual.
Metallist (Kharkov) – 12th with 27 points.
Dnepr (Dnepropetrovsk) – 11th with 8 points. Front row from left: ?, Kudritzky, Cherednik, Kuznetzov, Lysenko, Bagmut, Bashkirov, Sidelnikov, Dilay.
Middle row: ?, Cherny – doctor. Puchkov, Oleg Emetz, Zhizdik – team chief, Emetz – coach, Krakovsky, Shokh, Kanafotzky – administrator, Maslov – administrator, Kucherevsky – assistant coach.
Top row: ?, Kovtun – assistant coach, Taran, Litovchenko, Sorokalet, Protasov, Gorodov, ?, Vishnevsky, Gavrilov, Chernysh – doctor.
Dinamo (Minsk) – 10th with 28 points. Top row from left: A. Gorbylev – assistant coach, V. Dmitrakov – doctor, A. Shalimo, ?, ?, A. Metlitzky, P. Rodnenok, S. Borovsky, L. Vassilevsky – administrator, A. Chernukho – masseur/
Middle row: M. Tzeytin – assistant coach, S. Shiroky, Yu. Trukhan, V. Yanushevsky, I. Savostikov – assistant coach, V. Arzamastzev – coach, L. Garay – team chief, L. Rumbutis, S. Aleynikov, I. Gurinovich, S. Gotzmanov, M. Vergeenko – assistant coach.
Front row: Yu. Kurnenin, V. Sokol, A. Kisten, A. Satzunkevich, I. Zhekyu, A, Zygmantovich, G. Kondratyev, A. Dozmorov.
Torpedo (Moscow) – 9th with 30 points. Back row from left: Grishin, Galayba (?), ?, Shaveyko, Mushtruev, Pisarev.
Middle row: Kobzev, Shavlo, Grechnev, N. Savichev, Kharin, Prigoda, Sarychev, Yu. Savichev, Polukarov, Kovach.
Front: Petrov – masseur, Zhendaryov – administrator, Yurin – assistant coach, Ivanov – coach, Zolotov – team chief, Nikonov – assistant coach, Proyaev – doctor.
Zhalgiris (Vilnius) – 8th with 30 points.
Kayrat (Alma-ata) – 7th with 30 points.
Shakhter (Donetzk) – 6th with 31 points. Front row from left: S. Zolotnitzky, S. Yashtenko, A. Varnavsky, O. Smolyaninov, I. Petrov, V. Goshkoderya, V. Grachev, M. Sokolovsky, V. Parkhomenko, V. Budnik.
Top row: O. Bazilevich – coach, A. Konkov – assistant coach, V. Malyshev – assistant coach, Yu. Gulyaev, E. Dragunov, S. Morozov, V. Gavrilov, A. Radenko, A. Sopko, V. Rudakov, S. Kravchenko, V. Tkachenko – masseur, V. Shkotkin – doctor.
Dinamo (Tbilisi) – 5th with 33 points. Were they coming back? Not really…
Zenit (Leningrad) – 4th with 33 points. Crouching from left: Chukhlov, Yakovlev, Gerasimov, Vorobyov, Afanasiev, Dolgopolov, Davydov, Kolotovkin, Kanishtev, Larionov.
Standing: Sadyrin – coach, Lokhov – assistant coach, Dmitriev, Biryukov, Melnikov, Zheludkov, Timofeev, Klementyev, Kuznetzov, Prikhodko, Barannik, Stepanov, Bulavin – assistant coach.
Spartak (Moscow) – 3rd with 37 points.
Dinamo (Moscow) – 2nd with 38 points. Top row from left: A. Uvarov, A. Borodyuk, V. Popelnukha, B. Pozdnyakov, I. Bulanov, A. Novikov, I. Sklyarov, I. Dobrovolsky, I. Kolyvanov, A. Prudnikov.
Middle row: S. Kiryakov, A. Timoshenko, A. Gassov – masseur, A. Golodetz – assistant coach, E. Malafeev – coach, I. Mozer – assistant coach, M. Gershkovich – assistant coach, V. Mozalev – doctor, A. Kobelev, S. Ushakov.
Front row: G. Morozov, S. Stukashov, V. Lossev, S. Kozhanov, V. Vassilyev, V. Karataev, S. Silkin, V. Demidov.
Good work by the coach Eduard Malafeev – considered already the second best and for some the very best coach at the moment – but it was a false sign of revival. Dinamo had a chance to win the championship until very last minute of the very last championship match, but frankly they were not all that good. But some exciting young talent was here – players, who will define Russian football in the next decade: Dobrovolsky, Kolyvanov, Kiryakov. Borodyuk was the top scorer of the this championship, which came as a surprise.
Dinamo (Kiev) dramatically won its 12th title. 14 wins, 11 ties, 5 losses, 53-33 goal-difference, and 39 points do not look terribly impressive and the season was rather rocky, but this was the peak of the second great Lobanovsky’s team. Top row from left: Valery Lobanovsky – coach, Viktor Kolotov – assistant coach, Vladimir Gorily, Pavel Yakovenko, Vladimir Veremeev – team chief, Anatoly Puzach – assistant coach.
Middle row: Vladimir Bessonov, Oleg Kuznetzov, Sergey Baltacha, Viktor Chanov, Andrey Bal, Aleksey Mikhaylichenko, Oleg Blokhin, Anatoly Demyanenko.
Front row: Vadim Evtushenko, Ivan Yaremchuk, Vassily Ratz, Igor Belanov, Aleksandr Zavarov, Vassily Evseev.
It took 10 years to make this wonderful squad and this time it was a bit different than the old golden team of which only Blokhin was still playing – but Kolotov and Veremeev were working with the current team. First, it was entirely made by Lobanovsky – the old great team was not only more or less inherited by him, but also he shared head coaching duties with Oleg Bazilevich, now coaching Shakhter (Donetzk). Second, it was deeper team – the old great squad depended roughly on 12 players; the current one had more strong players. Thus, the heavy injury of Baltacha did not make the team suffer. One thing which remained was the lack of typical center-forward – like 10 years earlier, Dinamo attacked with 2 strikers, both wingers, and midfield players eventually served as temporary men in front. And like before, there was universal player used in every position, according to need – before it was Troshkin, doubling as right full back and defensive midfielder; now it was much more versatile Bessonov. If the team did not dominate the championship in its peak year, there was excuse: they played on too many fronts. They faced much tougher opponent at the Cup Winners Cup than the team winning it 10 years ago. And there was right after that the World Cup – the first great team did not play World Cup finals. Then back not only to the championship, but to more international games, both on club and national team level. It was really too much and from time to time the players either depended on tough control of the game just to get results or took it easy – which proved to be costly. Points were lost, the schedule was too dense, but at the end there was some advantage – Dinamo had still to play matches when opposition practically finished the season and calculations took place. There was little love between Shakhter and Dinamo, but Shakhter was thinking vacation by the time they met. The two derbies with Dinamo (Moscow) were also at the end and Kiev made the best of it – just what was needed to win the title: a tie away and home victory. And by that time the only danger was Dinamo (Moscow) – every other was done, their points final, what was needed to prevail was absolutely clear – 5 points from 3 matches. Thus, even the key match was known: the away game in Moscow – all would end right then and there, if Moscow won. Kiev played perfectly under pressure and delivered the necessary results. What could be better?