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Rubin and Panathinaikos ready to raise their game

Both FC Rubin Kazan coach Kurban Berdyev and Panathinaikos FC's Nikos Nioplias are expecting a more open game than two weeks ago as they target their first wins in Group D.

Rubin and Panathinaikos ready to raise their game
Rubin and Panathinaikos ready to raise their game ©UEFA.com

FC Rubin Kazan coach Kurban Berdyev points to Panathinaikos FC's weekend derby win against Olympiacos FC as proof of the threat the visitors will pose in Tuesday's UEFA Champions League Group D fixture in Russia. A 0-0 draw in Greece on Matchday 3 has left both still looking for their first wins in the section, and while Panathinaikos coach Nikos Nioplias expects few surprises, both coaches are sure their rivals will show more attacking intent as they look to close the gap on second-placed FC København.

Kurban Berdyev, Rubin coach
We will try to change some of our tactics and see if we can succeed. Panathinaikos's last league match against their rivals Olympiacos showed they have a strong bench. The performance proved they are to be taken seriously. We expect a difficult game. I do not think that they will change their tactics much, they play the same in all Champions League matches. Perhaps just that they will attack more than in Greece because they need to win as well as us.

Why have we scored just one goal in three Champions League matches? Well, to score in this tournament is more difficult than in the Russian Premier League. We will try to solve this problem with the help of the midfield, who, hopefully, will be proactive in supporting the attack.

Nikos Nioplias, Panathinaikos coach
We have come here to win. Two weeks ago we were unable to do so, so we will change our tactics. It is cold in Kazan but there is no rain or snow and the pitch is in good condition. We expect a more aggressive approach from Rubin. They weren't very dangerous in Athens and I think at home they will play much better. We know everything about our opponents just as they know everything about us. I don't think there will be any surprises.

Who is best prepared will be the decisive factor. I can't single out any Rubin player; they are strong and their unity is what makes them very dangerous. They are the only team which has not lost to Barcelona. Will our win against Olympiacos help us against the Russian champions? No, I don't think so. The Greek and Champions Leagues are very different competitions.

Team news
Rubin
Roman Sharonov is likely to miss the rest of the season with a knee injury. Carlos Eduardo is back in training after being ruled out at PFC Krylya Sovetov Samara with a virus.

Panathinaikos
Cédric Kanté returned to action against Olympiacos FC at the weekend, having been out with a right hand injury since 25 September. Sebastian Leto has been out with a knee injury since 3 October, while Sotiris Ninis has not played since 12 October after injuring his right foot on international duty and then, a week later, straining his quadriceps in training.

Weekend results
29/10/10 PFC Krylya Sovetov Samara 0-2 Rubin 
(Kornilenko 46 59)
Rubin had not scored in 304 minutes in all competitions – their longest spell without a goal since July 2008 – before Sergei Kornilenko's opener on Friday. It was Kornilenko's first goal since joining Rubin on loan from FC Zenit St. Petersburg at the end of August – he swiftly added another having spent the first half of the Russian season at FC Tom Tomsk. Kurban Berdyev's men are eight matches unbeaten in all competitions.

30/10/10 Panathinaikos 2-1 Olympiacos FC
(Cissé 57 63pen; Mirallas 37)
Djibril Cissé, top scorer in the Super League with 23 goals last term, took his tally for the current campaign to seven as second-placed Panathinaikos moved to within a point of leaders Olympiacos. Damien Plessis made his first Super League appearance of the season.

Did you know?
Panathinaikos's Giorgos Karagounis and Rubin's Obafemi Martins were team-mates with FC Internazionale Milano between 2003 and 2005.

For more information see the match background.