Excitement in the Tatar capital is mixed with belief that FC Rubin Kazan can repeat their stunning win at Camp Nou as they face FC Barcelona again. "We're ready for a battle," Kurban Berdyev said.
Article top media content
The sense of anticipation is acute as FC Rubin Kazan welcome FC Barcelona to the Tatar capital looking to pull off a repeat of their sensational victory at Camp Nou a fortnight ago. Rubin fans are thrilled at the prospect of seeing the European champions in a city that just six years ago had never even witnessed top-flight football, and the excitement is mixed with real belief that the Russian league leaders can pull off another upset. Rubin coach Kurban Berdyev summed up the mood: "We're ready for a battle."
Kurban Berdyev, Rubin coach
I don't think that the team has changed psychologically since the win at Barcelona. The players are mentally strong; they know their quality and the strength of our opponents very well. Our aim is to show what we can do and a little bit more besides. We are ready for a battle. The pace will be faster than in Barcelona. Why? It's simple: Josep's Guardiola side is improving with every match. Draws in the Spanish league will not disturb Barcelona on Wednesday. The cold weather also shouldn't be a problem for the visitors, players in top teams don't need time to adapt for playing in such conditions.
Josep Guardiola, Barcelona coach
The weather should not be a problem for us. A great team should be able to win whether it's cold, hot or if you play against 12 opponents. I respect Rubin. They won in Barcelona and I don't think that was down to luck. They scored twice and deserved it. That said, we controlled about 70 per cent of possession and I'm happy with that. I'm sure my players will run fast, otherwise they will freeze. There are no easy groups and we have to fight to the end. Rubin are strong. They defend well and are really dangerous on the break. We will have to be very sharp. We drew our last fixture in the Spanish league and that may help us to focus more for this match in Kazan. All 19 players who have travelled to Russia are fully fit and ready to play.
30/10/09 Rubin 4-1 PFC Krylya Sovetov Samara
(Noboa 48, Bukharov 56 75, Gökdeniz 63; Koller 61)
• Rubin have won four in a row – against FC Khimki, Barcelona, FC Rostov and Krylya Sovetov – since ending a sequence of five games without a victory.
• Rubin have not kept a clean sheet since a 0-0 draw with FC Tom Tomsk on 22 September, a run of seven games.
31/10/09 CA Osasuna 1-1 Barcelona
(Piqué 90+3og; Keita 72)
• Carles Puyol made his 453rd appearance for Barça against Osasuna, taking him past Carles Rexach and into third on the club's all-time appearance list. Xavi Hernández is second on 489, with Migueli leading the way on 548.
• Seydou Keita has now scored four in three games having registered the first hat-trick of his career against Real Zaragoza on 25 October.
Out: Rafał Murawski (shoulder)
Misses next match if booked: Cristian Ansaldi
Out: Gabriel Milito (knee), Thierry Henry (thigh)
Misses next match if booked: none
• Daniel Alves will be available for Barcelona after recovering from a right thigh tear in 13 days – a week sooner than predicted.
• Goals in each half from Aleksandr Ryazantsev and Gökdeniz Karadeniz stunned the UEFA Champions League holders a fortnight ago. While Barça remain top of the section, all four teams are now separated by a single point at the halfway stage.
• Barcelona are unbeaten in four visits to Russia, recording one victory and three draws. The holders' last trip was a first group-stage meeting with FC Lokomotiv Moskva on 1 October 2002. Xavi, Puyol and Víctor Valdés featured for a Barcelona side who won 3-1 through goals from Patrick Kluivert and Javier Saviola (2).
• Rubin did not compete in Europe before 2004. Outside of qualifying rounds and UEFA Intertoto Cup ties, this is only their third home game in a UEFA club competition proper and they are still seeking a first win.
Did you know?
Barcelona are unbeaten in seven away matches in the UEFA Champions League, including the goalless draw at Inter on Matchday 1.
For more background on the match in the official press kit,click here.