The UPL has been away for a fortnight due to the international break. Ukraine played their final fixtures of the 2018 calendar year, going into it hoping to see it off unbeaten for the first time ever. However, Shevchenko decided to experiment in the last Nations League group game against Slovakia and the result ended up as an embarrassment. Many will say, the game was as good as a friendly with Ukraine already having topped the group. 

However, it just seemed to highlight that none of the players that were given starting opportunities such as Zinchenko, Tsyhankov and Boryachuk, were up for taking advantage of their chance to impress. Slovakia were far more motivated and tore Ukraine apart with 4 well worked goals. On two occasions, Denys Boyko made huge mistakes, resulting in his chances of starting in the future significantly diminishing. The game ended 4-1, thanks to Konoplyanka’s 19th goal for his country giving the team something positive to take away from the game.
Next up, it was Turkey. The game’s build up was marred by a farcical scenario relating to the match’s venue. It was initially meant to be played in Dnipro, giving the city it’s first Ukraine match since 2009. However, just a fortnight ago, the match was decidedly moved to Antalya instead with limited to no official reasoning as to why this decision was taken. 

Karpaty Lviv’s Maryan Shved making his
Ukraine Senior debut v Turkey
The majority of Ukrainian journalists speculate it was down to Lucescu not wanting to play in the cold of Ukraine. Nevertheless, a very disappointing decision made by the FFU. The game itself was uneventful. Youngsters such as Mykolenko of Dynamo Kyiv made their debuts. Shaparenko got his first senior Ukraine start. Whilst Maryan Shved, Karpaty Lviv starlet came on late in the game for his own international bow. We hope it is the start of many more!
Away from international football, some developments in the UPL have occurred during the off period. Rumours have been gaining ground about the UPL expanding from 12 teams to 16. According to Kostyantin Andriyuk on TaToTake, the decision is 99% complete and we are just awaiting official confirmation. As of yet nobody from the UPL has commented on the situation. 
However, more revelations have been exposed relating to UPL President, the Swiss lawyer, Thomas Grimm. He is reportedly earning 20,000 Euros a month for his role, but only visits Ukraine every three weeks and stays on average for a total of three days at a time. Can someone really be invested in helping to progress and clean up a league in decline, when they’re hardly ever present? 

For more on these stories, they were covered in greater depth over over on Futbolgrad
Also in the news surrounding the league is news of Olimpik Donetsk players reportedly being involved in match fixing. At least five players, now playing for other clubs have been named for playing their part in dubious match defining moments for the Olimpik Donetsk U19 & U21 sides. There are reports saying that the club could be potentially removed from the league after further investigations take place! This will make the likelihood of a financially stable and secure 16 team UPL even more difficult to draw up and implement!
Andrew Todos of Zorya Londonsk Weekly will be making predictions for every UPL game this season, against a variety of guests. 
Our fifteenth guest of the 2018 – 19 season is Graphic designer and Tribuna.ua blogger, Dmytro Shtrays. He specializes in sports designs; creating logos, merchandise and more for clubs across Ukraine. Just this week, his design was chosen as the new Olimpik Donetsk badge, which will become official from next season. We had a chat with him about all things sport and design in order to get an insight into the processes behind his work, his past, present and future projects and a we touch on how he sees his club, Shakhtar faring in Europe for the remainder of the season. 
1. To begin with let’s start with a little background as to where you’re from and what teams you follow across the leagues of the world? 
DMYTRO SHTRAYS –“It’s complicated. The simple reply to ‘where am I from’ would be to say that I live in the Russian provinces in the city of Cherepovets, Vologodska oblast. In sport, the city is known for KHL (Ice Hockey) club Severstal. However, I spent my childhood in Donetsk as my mother is from there. In the mid- 90s we moved to Russia, and we live here to this day.  Under the influence of local television, as a youngster I stuck behind Spartak for some time before following Lokomotiv for a bit. Once I moved up to senior school, everything changed.

Shakhtar – Borussia 07/07/2001

I visited Donetsk, to see relatives and went to see a home game (Shakhtar – Borussia 07/07/2001) and ever since I have only supported them. On the whole I also like to keep an eye on the likes of Barca, Borussia and Roma whilst in England, I like West Ham and Man United. I also love basketball and the NBA; I support and follow many of the sides there but I’d really like to see the Toronto Raptors become champions!”

2.How long have you been a graphic designer and why in particular is your ‘specialty’ sporting badges and emblems?
DMYTRO SHTRAYS –“I studied at art school but the course didn’t focus on anything specific; more a variety of topics including academic painting, drawing, portraits , still life and landscapes. Such areas seem quite far away from the designing of sports emblems. But this education, helped me greatly in acquiring knowledge of different techniques, knowledge and artistic taste. After Art school, I started to shift over to the side design. It turned out not to be so easy to make the change. My first attempts looked like little ugly pictures, too much complexity with an abundance of detail. 
Dmytro working on the Nyva Ternopil logo
The road to general skill acquisition took a couple of years. It was at some point in 2015 that I started producing more or less interesting work. The breakthrough came in 2017 – when I made my first official project for Nyva Ternopil. Hirnik Sport – Horishni Plavini followed suit. After such a year, I didn’t think the results could be repeated. However, in 2018 it did; MBK Mykolayiv and Olimpik Donetsk chose my designs as their new emblems. Two other projects could have also been realised but the reasoning behind both of them not coming to fruition was out of my hands. Essentially you can say that I have been a fully fledged designer these past two years. Before the Nyva job, you could describe my work more as advertising action.”
 3.What was your first sporting design and which clubs or teams have ended up using your designs 
DMYTRO SHTRAYS –“Initially, I started with hockey. Since I live in a hockey city, I decided to draw the logo for local hockey side; Severstal. But at the point it wasn’t the right time The team had a logo featuring the factory which they represent. They didn’t even take a look at my logo. However, my design has now become the symbol of the club’s fan movement.

HC Yugra Khanty Mansiysk Goalkeeper

After this I decided to participate in a design competition for the new badge of another hockey club – HC Yugra Khanty Mansiysk. The competition turned out to be so dirty that I vowed I would never participate in them again. I am confident the design won but thanks to ‘last minute voting’ it suddenly lost! Despite this, my logo has since been used at the club, after featuring on the mask of the club’s goalkeeper; Ilya Proskuryakova. So in part, the logo succeeded.

A selection of Dmytro’s designs for
well known Ukrainian clubs
 In general Russia has not ‘accepted me’ as a designer. As a result, I decided to try and find happiness in Ukraine, putting my talent into something that I know and love; Ukrainian football! A concept for Olimpik with a torch became the first Ukrainian logo that I designed. Following this there was a wild farce with the logos’ chosen for Stal Kamianske and Mariupol; I started hitting road blocks at every corner. But at present, time has passed and I hope that now I’m going in the right direction.”
 4.What was your inspiration behind Olimpik’s new badge and how long did it take to complete? Does every logo take around the same of time to finish or does it vary?
DMYTRO SHTRAYS –“Not many can see the main essence behind Olimpik’s current logo. As a Donetsk native and a fan of Shakhtar, I wanted to make it so that Olimpik’s was dramatically to all others. The Miners are an old club associated with local industry. Olimpik are the opposite; they are a young club; only established in 2001. I was looking for motives, that were in no way intertwined with the industrial side of Donetsk. And I thought of roses. Or rather they were always there. Back in 1970, UNESCO named Donetsk the city of a million roses! It was an ideal symbol for the club as an antipode to the Miners.
Olimpik’s new badge from
The job was conducted over an incredibly long period of time. I drew it quickly, but routine approvals lasted endlessly. Then when the club announced their logo competition my emblem was added alongside a few others alternatives. It was clear that the club was looking for an ideal option. Nobody else came up with anything better, and I stayed as the main challenger throughout before finally winning the competition. Although initially I was not planning on taking part in the competition process. From start to finish, the process took nearly a year.
Olimpik’s current badge
For symbolism the logo needed to include roses; one of the main characteristics of Donetsk (initially even people wanted them to be displayed on the city’s coat of arms, but in the end they went for a hammer). Roses symbolize growing football talent – you can tribute this to the Olimpik football academy, from which the modern professional club draws its origins from. Stripes are a historic part of the club’s image; this element was saved from the first club’s emblem. I also included a white ribbon with the city’s name –the positioning showing that the city is the foundation of the team. Therefore, I like to call this ribbon the ” cradle “. It’s also not by chance that there is a British influence in this design, because it was precisely the British who brought football to Yuzovka, the founding name of Donetsk.”
5. What other projects are you working on at the moment; Is there any information that you would be able to share with us? Are there any other clubs in the UPL, that you believe need to renovate and modernize their badges at the current moment? 
DMYTRO SHTRAYS –“At this current time I’ve finished every logo project that I’ve undertaken. At the moment I don’t have any offers for future emblem designs. But I am getting other projects in form of kits, merchandise and more for sporting teams.

BFC Mykolayiv’s new badge

In particular, I recently finished the new kit designs for FC Mykolayiv. There’s also work for Basketball Club Mykolayiv going on. Next year, Hirnik Sport is celebrating 25 years and the club has plenty of surprises in store. Design work is not only exclusive to club logos!

Hirnik Sport’s badge 
In the UPL it’s irregular for one club or another to change a badge every season. In general, I don’t like to criticize, without showing your own alternative option.  As a result, I think I wont comment, but will hint that Chornomorets, FC Lviv and probably Vorskla could become a little bit better! 
In general, I would want to eventually branch out on a broader European level. I’d like to work with someone further afield on the continent. It would be interesting!”
 6. As a Shakhtar fan, how would you rate the club’s performances this season? Will Shakhtar get out of the UCL groups or will they be seeing in the Spring, playing in the Europa League?
DMYTRO SHTRAYS –“This season needs to be written off as a transition period. It is noticeable by the experiments on display in their regular starting line ups. Injuries haven’t helped either… In prior seasons, people spoke of an endless bench, but where is that now? Needs to be reanalyzed. The team is getting younger. However, on the back of this they lead in the UPL and will most probably become champions again. 
Dmytro in Donetsk, 2003
They’re still not out of the UCL just yet. They’ve still not lost to the other sides bar Man City, who just keep winning despite their initial loss to Lyon, so I’m glad those fixtures are out of the way! So now the real battle will resume in the final two games, where there will be more level competition. Therefore, I will hold back on my assessment before the UCL groups conclude. In terms of getting to the QF’s of the UCL or the UEL, of course there is a better chance of winning in the Europa League. 
With the way the team played against Man City, it showed everyone that the Miners need to continue in their restructuring and take pause during the winter break. The Europa League should give opportunities for resting of the veterans and more chances for newbies such as Maycon, Fernando and Bolbat. Of course, Shakhtar ranks the UCL as their main priority; after all it excels the club’s image across the continent and is ultimately the most respected and prestigious prize in European Club football!”
A correct result (WIN / DRAW/ DEFEAT) is worth 10 points. The exact score earns an extra 40 points.

Shakhtar Donetsk v FC Lviv
Todos’ prediction: Shakhtar have a massive game in midweek coming up in UCL, but that shouldn’t stop them from beating FC Lviv. Shakhtar will be missing Marlos for this game but it’s unlikely he would be ultimately pivotal. Mikhail Mudryk is part of the match day squad and will be looking to get some more minutes under his belt. FC Lviv have impressed this season, but they will most probably be out of their depth in this one3-0
Dmytro’s prediction: A comfortable home win2-0

Karpaty Lviv v Desna Chernihiv
Todos’ prediction: Karpaty have had an impressive run of late, and will be wanting to maintain their positive results in front of a home crowd and with a new giant LED scoreboard to be inaugurated. Marian Shved will be the key man in this as he returns from his first game for the Ukraine senior National team. Desna don’t travel particularly well and they will as a result be edged out in this one 2-1
Dmytro’s prediction: A narrow encounter with the visitors coming out on top0-1
Mariupol v Vorskla Poltava
Todos’ prediction: Vorskla are another side in European action next week, welcoming Arsenal to the Oleksiy Butovskiy stadium. However, they will be wanting to keep up the pressure for third, by getting a positive result away at the inconsistent Mariupol. The Azov coast side have a knack of causing upsets but I feel the resolute defence of Vorskla will be enough to keep them out0-1
Dmytro’s prediction: Vorksla to take all three points back to Poltava1-2
RESULT: 1-0: ZUBKOV (58′)

Olimpik Donetsk v Zorya Luhansk
Todos’ prediction: Zorya have not had the best of seasons to date, but they will be wanting to get one over a poor Olimpik side, who have not been the most impressive since Shevchuk became head coach. Lack of goals and a leaky defence seem to be compounding their misery further. Zorya should have just enough to shut the Donetsk side out and knick a couple of goals. 0-2
Dmytro’s prediction: This one is going to end all square1-1

Chornomorets Odesa v Arsenal Kyiv
Todos’ prediction:The league’s two bottom sides meet in this six pointer in Odesa. Arsenal will be wanting to get their second win under Grozny whilst Chornomorets will be desperate to stay outside of the relegation spot. However, neither side has enough quality to do one over the other0-0
Dmytro’s prediction: No winners in this one1-1
RESULT: 2-1: MUSOLITIN (67′) , KOVAL (69′) / SEMENYUK (62′)

Oleksandriya v Dynamo Kyiv
Todos’ prediction:This is certainly the GAME of the weekend. The Ukrainian Leicester play hosts to Dynamo Kyiv. Oleksandriya have managed to keep up the pace with Dynamo so far this season and could go above the Kyivans with a win! Unthinkable, right? Dynamo go into the game with a good run of form, bar a loss to Shakhtar in their recent past run in. However, I feel the home advantage will aid Oleksandriya in their pursuit of getting something out of the game. The reverse fixture earlier in the season, was a narrow 1-0 win to Dynamo. I just sense an upset in this one. 1-1
Dmytro’s prediction: Will be all too straightforward for Dynamo on the road 1-3
RESULT: 2-1: TSURIKOV (3′) , ZAPOROZHAN (56′) / VERBIC (33′)


Total scores after week 16
Todos v Guests
D2  L5

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