Date/Time: Thursday 7th March 2019 (Kick-off 9:00 PM CET).
We are not at the stage of the season when clubs in Western Europe begin to prioritise the Europa League over domestic commitments, but the carrot of a place in the Champions League Group Stage for the winner of the competition has certainly made it a more appealing tournament.
For the likes of Chelsea they will want to keep two avenues back into the Champions League open for as long as possible and this looks to be a tie they can win, although the Second Leg will be problematic in terms of weather conditions and travel.
It makes the First Leg that much more important for Chelsea who will want to take a healthy lead to the Ukraine and have every chance of doing that. For all the negative stories around Stamford Bridge there is still a real belief that Chelsea can be very good at home and 7 wins from 8 games in all competitions underlines that point.
Chelsea have scored plenty of goals in those games and they have also won all 4 Europa League games at Stamford Bridge despite the rotation made to the starting eleven. The side have scored at least three goals in their last 3 here in the Europa League and I do think Maurizio Sarri will be looking to take a strong advantage to Kiev when he can afford to give a couple of key players more of a rest.
Dynamo Kiev beat Olympiacos in the Last 32 and they are not looking to make up the numbers but instead will want to replicate what other Eastern European clubs have done in the recent past in the Europa League. The last few years have seen Spanish clubs dominate, but Zenit St Petersburg and Shakhtar Donetsk have won the Europa League in the last twelve years and the chance to get back into the Champions League Group Stage should be a real inspiration for the visitors.
They have come out of their Winter Break in good form and Dynamo Kiev have lost just 1 of their 6 away European ties this season. Dynamo Kiev have scored in each of those away ties so they could be dangerous for Chelsea on Thursday, but my feeling is that a strong team is going to be selected by the home club and they can head into the Second Leg with a decent lead.
With the goals being scored at home, Chelsea can win and cover the Asian Handicap in this one, although I would not be surprised if Dynamo Kiev give themselves some hope by producing an away goal.
Prediciton: Chelsea -1.5 Asian Handicap