|I||H. Kiryat Shmona||Sparta Praha|
FC Rubin Kazan head to Azerbaijan to face Neftçi PFK needing to improve a disappointing continental away record if they are to continue to impress in UEFA Europa League Group H.
• Alan Kasaev scored the only goal as Rubin beat Neftçi on matchday three.
• The Russian side are level on seven points with Group H leaders FC Internazionale Milano and will be assured of a place in the round of 32 if they win and FK Partizan do not beat the Nerazzurri.
• The first leg was Rubin's first UEFA encounter with a club from Azerbaijan.
• Neftçi's only European experience of Russian opposition was a 2004/05 UEFA Champions League second qualifying round tie against PFC CSKA Moskva. They drew the first leg 0-0 in Baku but lost the return fixture 2-0 in Moscow.
• The clubs both played in the same league system in the days of the former Soviet Union, but while Rubin never played in the top division, Neftçi spent a total of 28 seasons there, finishing as runners-up in 1976 – the best ever result for an Azerbaijani team in the USSR.
• Neftçi and Rubin met four times in the second tier of the Soviet system in 1975 and 1976. The Azeri side enjoyed the better of the exchanges, with a record reading W3 D1 L0 (W2 D0 L0 at home – W1 D1 L0 in Kazan). Neftçi beat Rubin 5-2 (13 June 1975) and 4-2 (8 Setember 1976) in Baku, drew 1-1 in Kazan on 5 May 1975, and won 2-1 there on 24 May 1976.
• Since the break-up of the USSR, Neftçi have played four games against Russian clubs in the friendly Commonwealth Cup, which brought together the champions of the former Soviet nations. They lost all four, but the results improved with time: they lost 8-0 to FC Spartak Moskva in the 1993 edition, and met the same opponents in 1995 and 1997, losing 5-0 and then 4-2. Most recently, they met FC Lokomotiv Moskva in the 2005 final, losing 2-1.
• Neftçi have won just one of their last five home European games, a 3-0 victory against FC Zestafoni in this season's UEFA Champions League second qualifying round.
• Rubin have won just two of their past 14 European fixtures on the road, losing seven and drawing five.
• Rubin are within two goals of their 50th in UEFA competition – this will be their 44th official European game.
• Neftçi's Uzbek striker Bakhodir Nasimov joined the club from Rubin in 2011 following a successful loan spell. He played in just two league games for the Russian side following his move to Rubin from FK Dinamo Samarqand in February 2010.
• Neftçi defenders Igor Mitreski (Spartak) and Mahir Shukurov (FC Anji Makhachkala) have also played in Russia.
• Kurban Berdyev has been coach of Rubin since 2001, leading the club to successive titles in 2008 and 2009 and a Russian Cup in 2012. Previously a defender and midfielder in the top Soviet league with SKA Rostov-na-Donu and FC Kairat Almaty, he coached teams in Russia, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan before leading Rubin into Russia's top division.
• Boyukagha Hajiyev is at the Neftçi helm. A coach and player at now-defunct MFK Araz-Naxçivan, he spent several years coaching in Iran and was Vagif Sadygov's assistant with the national team in 2005. Having won a first national title in what was initially a caretaker spell at FK Bakı in 2005/06, Hajiyev won the crown again in 2011/12, his first season at Neftçi.
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