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Ukraine professional keeps fit at Dynamo Dresden – My most important helper here is Russian – 3rd division

The Ukrainian Kyrylo Melichenko (22) has been keeping fit at second division club Dynamo Dresden for a good week because the war is raging in his home country. Now the right-back is telling his moving, harrowing story for the first time with his girlfriend Anya (22) …

“First of all I want to thank the club and everyone here. We couldn’t have imagined that we were received so kindly,” said the young professional, who still can’t believe that nothing is the way it was.

“Mariupol, where we lived and where I played football, is in ruins. Our apartment burned out, too,” he says with a straight face. “It was such a beautiful city with such happy people.”

When Melichenko left for the Turkey training camp in January with his team FK Mariupol (first division team in Ukraine, squad value according to transfermarkt.de 6.65 million euros, half as much as Dresden), he had no idea that his homeland would be like this will not see again soon.

“We were on our way back when the information came that we couldn’t fly back to Ukraine. Because the airspace was already closed,” he reports.

After seemingly endless weeks of sleepless nights because of fear for family and friends, it was time to keep fit somewhere in Europe.

It is thanks to his Anya that he ended up in Dresden of all places. She used to study in Potsdam for a few months, so she speaks good German and translates for Kyrylo.

Photo: Olaf Rentsch

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Kyrylo Melichenko and his girlfriend Anya ended up in Dresden because of the warPhoto: Olaf Rentsch

Melichenko: “She wrote to many first and second division teams here. Dynamo answered within two hours, two days later we were here.”

She had to stay in the air raid shelter in Kyiv with her family and that of her boyfriend for days. The parents of the two have taken shelter near Lviv.

“It’s bad. I worry so much about our families, I often cry. Then Kyrylo comforts me,” Anya said with tears in her eyes.

Football is the only distraction. “We were in the stadium against Schalke. We have never experienced anything like this. This mood is unbelievable,” says Melichenko, a smile crossing his face.

Irony of fate: From the team, the Russian Anton Mitryushkin (26) helps him the most.

The goalkeeper has been playing for Dynamo since the summer. “I can come to him with any problem,” said Melichenko. On a small scale, what currently seems unimaginable on a large scale is possible…

What if he had three wishes, he is asked. “I only have one. That this barbaric war would never have started,” he says without thinking.

A little later, the professional then adds: “If I could, I would like to stay here and play for Dynamo…”

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