A NEW DAWN BEGINS FOR ZORYA LUHANSK!
It’s the first competitive game of the season for Ukrainian clubs, as Zorya travel to the Montenegrin capital, Podgorica to face last season’s Montenegrin Top tier runners cup FK Buducnost
Zorya start the season with a brand new manager, as long serving coach Yuriy Vernydub stepped down in May. His replacement has caused much excitement amongst both fans and journalists alike.
The new appointment being none other than former Bundesliga player and manager, Viktor Skripnik. His most notable spell of coaching to date came at Werder Bremen, where he helped save the club from relegation.
He was known for his attacking style of football during his time in Germany and with the youthful look of Zorya’s current squad, Serhiy Rafailov certainly expects his new employee to take this project in their stride.
Zorya are entering Europe at the 2nd Qualifying Round after their dismal 5th place UPL finish. A season which saw them play inconsistently and without the defensive character and solid core that was a characteristic of Vernydub’s sides.
The new domestic season starts on Sunday, so all of Skripnik’s early games have been friendlies. The results have not been that promising either. A few losses and draws, concluded with a win over fellow Europa League hopefuls Mariupol on the weekend.
It’s worthy to note that Zorya have lost their star man and captain of recent seasons, with Oleksandr Karavayev moving to the capital for Dynamo. But other than that, the squad has remained largely intact. Added to this are a few new incomings, most notably, ex Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Vladlen Yurchenko, who can make his debut tonight!
Buducnost’s history in Europe is certainly one of a minnow. They have never gone past the second Q round in either of the two premier European competitions, so it is expected for Zorya to progress, regardless of the poor pre season form.
Hromov, Yurchenko & Lunyov will be the players to keep an eye out for, as they all look to step into Karavayev’s game changing boots. The road to the group stages begins!