Title contenders: Dinamo Bucharest
The Red Dogs spent the winter with their noses in front of a group of at least four other teams convinced they can fight for the title until the very end and have started the year with an important win, 2-0 against Gaz Metan Medias. The club made a bold decision by renting the National Arena for this match (Dinamo’s average attendaces at home have been nothing short of embarrassing) and the players and the fans had a really good first meeting which could pay dividends for the rest of the campaign.
7 players have left the club this winter, but only 2 departures could have an impact on the first team: Zie Diabate, the starting left back, was sold to Dijon, and the promising (for a few years now) Liviu Ganea was allowed to move to a rival like CFR Cluj, as the young forward was refusing to extend a deal that was going to expire in the summer.
Without spending big, Dinamo moved surprisingly good in terms of buys: the midfield options have been boosted by the arrival of 4 players: Sorin Stratila (from Astra Ploiesti) is a typical wide midfielder who will compete with Rus for a place on the right side; Alexandru Curtean (from Poli Timisoara) will offer competition for Marius Alexe on the left side and provide backup for the playmaker Catalin Munteanu, a role that has two other options, with the experienced Iulian Tames and the gifted, but unreliable Cosmin Matei both signed this winter.
In attack, the prolific duo Marius Niculae – Ionel Danciulescu have been warned to keep up the same scoring rate, with Brazilian striker Michel Platini bought from CSKA Sofia and already handed a debut. A decision that didn’t go well for the subbed Danciulescu, who scored on Saturday his 203rd goal in Liga I and would appreciate more time on the pitch to keep on chasing records.
Strenghts and weaknesses
The team was very well balanced in the first half of the season and it’s a shame that Dinamo will play Adrian Scarlatache at left back, a right footed versatile defender (with Alexe on the same side, the team will use two right footed players there!). Still, Ciobotariu, the former central defender, managed to get the best out of Dragos Grigore and Cosmin Moti (he was once interesting for the Serie A, you know?) in the middle, and Djakaridja Kone needs no help in providing cover for the back four. This means that 5 players can focus on building up the play and attack, something that only FC Vaslui and Steaua can match, but both seem to be lacking balance when fielding such an offensive setup. Dinamo’s strength remains the experience and quality of Catalin Munteanu, Danciulescu and Niculae and the leaders will be difficult to stop from winning the league this season. They look solid, the shareholders are keeping quiet – huge surprise! – and there are several teams who will give it all against Dinamo’s rivals, making the chase very tricky.Follow @rbaicu