Low-scoring Real Betis Balompié will see some familiar faces in the FC Rubin Kazan ranks as they look to steal a march on the Russian side in the UEFA Europa League round of 32.
• The teams are meeting for the first time in UEFA club competition.
• Betis's only previous encounter with Russian opponents was a 3-0 aggregate defeat by FC Dinamo Moskva that ended their first European campaign – the 1977/78 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup – in the quarter-finals. The clubs drew 0-0 in Seville, but Betis were overrun in the second leg, which was played in Tbilisi. Hence they will visit Russia for the first time in the second leg.
• Rubin's eight games against Spanish sides have ended W3 D3 L2 (W1 D2 L1 at home – W2 D1 L1 in Spain). Of those home matches, two were played in Kazan (D2) and two in Moscow (W1 L1).
• Rubin beat FC Barcelona 2-1 at the Camp Nou in the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League group stage, and twice held the Blaugrana in Kazan.
• Rubin eliminated Spanish opponents in last season's round of 32 (Club Atlético de Madrid) and round of 16 (Levante UD).
• Betis have lost just once in eight European fixtures this season and have yet to concede in their four 2013/14 UEFA home games (W2 D2). However, they were the lowest-scoring side to make it through the group stage, with just three goals in their six Group I outings.
• Betis last made it to this stage in the 2005/06 UEFA Cup, overcoming AZ Alkmaar in the round of 32 en route to a round of 16 loss to FC Steaua Bucureşti.
• Rubin are playing in the round of 32 for the fifth successive time, having won two and lost two of their previous encounters at this juncture.
• Rubin are unbeaten in 12 European games this season (W10 D2).
• Rubin have played UEFA home games in Kazan and Moscow in recent years, but are more daunting hosts at their own Centralniy Stadium, where they are unbeaten in 24 matches (W14 D10) since a 1-0 UEFA Cup loss to Parma FC in September 2006.
• A 1-1 draw against NK Maribor in Rubin's final group stage home game this season ended their run of ten straight European victories in Kazan, during which they conceded just once.
• Betis centre-back Jordi represented Rubin from 2010–12, though he played just eight league games for the club, being loaned back to Real Valladolid CF and Rayo Vallecano de Madrid.
• Rubin midfielder Mubarak Wakaso played with Betis forward Jorge Molina at Elche CF from 2009–10 then, following a spell at Villarreal, teamed up with Betis counterpart Joan Verdú at RCD Espanyol from 2012–13.
• Rubin's César Navas moved to Russia after playing for Real Madrid CF's reserves, Málaga CF, CF Gimnàstic de Tarragona and Racing in his native Spain.
• Betis's biggest achievements in Europe were reaching two UEFA Cup Winners' Cup quarter-finals, going out to Dinamo in 1977/78 and Chelsea FC in 1997/98.
• Rubin got to a UEFA quarter-final for the first time last season, losing out to Chelsea in the UEFA Europa League.
• Betis have changed coach twice since the start of December with former striker Pepe Mel and then his replacement Juan Carlos Garrido being ushered out, the latter after just ten games in charge.
• Former Betis midfielder Gabriel Calderón took over on 19 January. An international team-mate of Diego Maradona, Calderón played for Betis in the mid-80s, then joined Paris Saint-Germain, finishing his career with spells at FC Lausanne-Sport and SM Caen, and going on to coach both sides. He then left for the Middle East, where he led club sides and the national teams of Saudi Arabia, Oman and – most recently – Bahrain.
• Rubin dismissed coach Kurban Berdyev in December, following a poor start to the Russian season. In charge since 2001, his biggest achievements at the club included Russian titles in 2008 and 2009.
• Rinat Bilyaletdinov took over as Rubin coach in January, taking up his first permanent senior coaching post at the age of 56. Once a midfielder, with FC Lokomotiv Moskva and FC Shinnik Yaroslavl, the ethnic Tatar established his reputation as a youth coach with Lokomotiv – notable finds including his son, Russia midfielder Diniyar Bilyaletdinov. He briefly took charge of the senior team at Lokomotiv in a caretaker capacity in 2007.
Round of 16
• The winners of this tie will meet the victors between Maribor and Sevilla FC in the round of 16, playing the second leg at home.
• Betis have never met Maribor, but they know their city rivals Sevilla well – though they have yet to meet in UEFA competition.
• Rubin have yet to encounter Sevilla, but met Maribor in this season's group stage, winning 5-2 in Slovenia – their highest-scoring European away performance – then drawing 1-1 in the return fixture.
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