FC Anji Makhachkala can confirm their place in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase for the second season running as they take on FC Sheriff in Group K on matchday five.
• Already certain to finish above Tromsø IL, Anji need a point to ensure that Sheriff cannot catch them in the race for one of the top two spots. Sheriff can still finish second, but must win both of their remaining games and hope Anji fail to beat qualified Tottenham Hotspur FC on matchday six.
• Sheriff drew 0-0 at home against Anji in driving rain when the sides met for the first time matchday one. It was Anji's first encounter with Moldovan opponents in UEFA competition.
• All three of Sheriff's UEFA encounters with clubs from Russia have ended all-square. In the 2006/07 UEFA Champions League second qualifying round they took on FC Spartak Moskva, drawing 1-1 in Tiraspol and then 0-0 in Russia to lose the tie on away goals.
• Sheriff competed in the 2009/10 and 2010/11 UEFA Europa League group stages, missing the cut on both occasions having collected five points each time.
• Sheriff are yet to win in eight group stage away games. They recorded a draw and two defeats on the road in each of their previous campaigns, and history may be repeating itself again: they have drawn one and lost one on the road in this season's competition.
• Anji have kept clean sheets in three of their four group stage games, conceding two to Tottenham in the other.
• Anji made it through the UEFA Europa League group stage at the first attempt under Guus Hiddink last season, losing out to Newcastle United FC in the round of 16.
• Sheriff's Ismail Isa was caught offside 12 times in the first four matchdays – five more than any other player in the competition.
• Anji boast Moldovan talent in the form of national team captain Alexandru Epureanu. The 26-year-old won three Moldovan titles and a domestic cup with Sheriff between 2004 and 2007, when he left for FC Moskva before joining FC Dinamo Moskva.
• Epureanu also played alongside Sheriff coach Veaceslav Rusnac at FC Zimbru Chisinau between 2002 and 2004.
• Sheriff are one of nine domestic champions involved in this season's group stage along with NK Maribor (Slovenia), Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC (Israel), PFC Ludogorets Razgrad (Bulgaria), Legia Warszawa (Poland), FC Shakhter Karagandy (Kazakhstan), APOEL FC (Cyprus), GNK Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia) and IF Elfsborg (Sweden).
• A major footballing figure in his native Dagestan, Gadzhi Gadzhiev returned for a fourth spell as Anji coach in the summer of 2013 with the club adopting a new approach following the departure of Dutchman Guus Hiddink. A player for FC Spartak Leningrad, he has coached in Azerbaijan and Japan, and worked as assistant to Anatoliy Byshovets during his spells in charge of the USSR/CIS and Russia, embarking on the first of his adventures with Anji in 1999.
• Assisted by Juan Ferrando, Cesc Fàbregas's personal trainer at Arsenal FC, Sheriff coach Rusnac was a defender for a number of clubs. He achieved an unusual first in 2000 when he won the Moldovan league with Zimbru, the local futsal crown with FC Zarea Balti and the top prize in Moldovan beach football with Palestra. As a coach, he led Moldova's Under-17s, taking charge at Sheriff in July 2013 after spells with several other local sides.
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