Title race preview: Dinamo Bucharest
Position last season: 5th place
Looking at the way they blew it last season, it’s difficult to find the guts to bet on the Red Dogs this term. They’ve dominated the league for half of season, then thought that changing Liviu Ciobotariu would produce a shock and deliver results, finishing in 5th place instead, as Dario Bonetti couldn’t deliver more than a Romanian Cup triumph. The Italian made a promising start though, winning the Supercup a few days ago, but he struggle to keep his position safe, once the results will be anything short of great. The fans have nothing against him, but they’re not close enough to the team in big numbers to influence things, the board members have different opinions, while the influential agents Victor and Giovani Becali are 100% against the man. Same story like last season, then?
Important transfers out: Cosmin Moti (central defender, key player); Djakaridja Kone (defensive midfielder, key player)
Two experienced, dedicated players who were part of the team’s back bone. Moti went to Ludogorets in search of a new challenge, while Kone’s playing a dangerous game. Wanted a couple of months ago in France, the move isn’t done yet and I wonder if the rumors had any truth in them or if this is just another agent playing with a client’s career. Anyway, both will be hard to replace, and Bonetti decided to move Srdjan Luchin in the middle (last season, regular starter at right back), with Cristian Scutaru, who played second division football last term, ready to step in and… that’s about it. Very delicate situation in the long run, but it’s not too late to add at least another name for this role.
With Boris Galchev, Issa Ba and the unknown Boubacar Mansaly added to the roster, there should be no problems in covering Kone’s departure, while the arrival of Mircea Axente (Poli Timisoara) and the return of Andrei Cristea (Karlsruhe) mean that either Marius Niculae will be allowed to leave (and the extraction of Dinamo’s spine would be complete!) or that we’ll have a number of unhappy demanding players, not just the out-of-favor legendary Ionel Danciulescu…
Important transfers in: Boris Galchev (central midfielder, CSKA Sofia); Andrei Cristea (forward, Karlsruhe), Cristian Scutaru (central defender / right back, Poli Timisoara)
Useful in both halves of the pitch, Galchev should earn his place in the team, while Scutaru can rely on his versatility, being able to cover almost any defensive role. Good enough to get minutes, but not sure that he will deliver solid performances on a regular basis, if moved around on the pitch. His arrival spells bad times for Constantin Nica, a U19 player, who just broke into the senior team and now has three possible opponents: Luchin, Scutaru and Sergiu Homei.
Cristea’s return offers Bonetti more options to make tactical changes, but the forward who comes after a spell in the 2.Bundesliga affected by a nasty injury has every reason to worry, after Dinamo started in a 4-1-4-1 setup for the Supercup. Even if Niculae leaves, there’s still Ionut Tucudean (a brace in the Supercup) and the newly bought Marius Axente for the main striker role, with Ionel Danciulescu, Marius Alexe and Adrian Markus for the second striker position…
My prediction: Winning the first trophy of the season on penalties boosts the morale, but Dinamo’s problem will be consistency, both on the pitch and in the offices, so a good start of the season could mean nothing, in the end. Not a movie based on an original screenplay, heh?
I can’t see the Red Dogs finishing above Steaua and FC Vaslui, so a fight for the last spot on the podium with CFR and Rapid could be on the cards for them.