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Rubin ready to go for broke

Kurban Berdyev's FC Rubin Kazan must beat FC København to stay in contention for a qualifying spot in Group D and deny, temporarily at least, the Danish side a great achievement.

Rubin ready to go for broke
Rubin ready to go for broke ©UEFA.com

To remain alive in the 2010/11 UEFA Champions League, FC Rubin Kazan must break new ground in the competition against Group D's second-placed team FC København. The deposed Russian champions have drawn each of their five group stage home games over the last two seasons – and only an unprecedented win at their Centralni Stadium will keep them challenging this time around. A victory for the hosts, in third, would also deny København early progress to the knockout rounds.

Kurban Berdyev, Rubin coach

We have already secured third place in the Russian league and, despite having an important final match against Lokomotiv Moskva, the UEFA Champions League is our priority. The people who saw us as one of the favourites before the group started did not know the strength of København. They are an excellent team who proved their quality in both matches against Barcelona [a 2-0 away defeat and 1-1 home draw]. Some people probably expect better from us but we are not putting any pressure on the team. We wouldn't be happy with a draw but we are not demanding that we win by two goals either [after losing 1-0 at København].

København are possibly in better shape now than on Matchday 1. They look more mobile and mentally stronger. Ståle Solbakken has built a good team and organised them in defence and attack. What are our chances of qualifying? Well, the situation was complicated by our home draw against Panathinaikos. We will try our best and leave that question till the last matchday.

Ståle Solbakken, København coach
We are looking forward to the game and know it will be difficult. Rubin have to win while we can go through with a draw. However, we will try for three points even though we know Barcelona have not won here in two attempts. We have a fair idea how Rubin will line up. In their last two league matches they were 2-0 down but managed to draw both – committing players to attack and creating lots of chances. They can take heart from those results and will probably go on the front foot against us. Their midfielders in particular impressed me and I am sure the key to victory will be the midfield battle.

We have great respect for Rubin. They are a top team and know how to play together, which is even more important than to have a big star. If we succeed it will be the best night in our club's European history – especially taking into account that there are four national champions in our group.

Team news
Carlos Eduardo is sidelined with a knee injury sustained against FC Spartak Moskva on 8 November. Goalkeeper Sergei Ryzhikov (shoulder) and striker Obafemi Martins (flu) sat out Saturday's domestic encounter with new Russian champions FC Zenit St Petersburg but completed a full training session on Tuesday and will be given every chance to prove their fitness.

Defender Sölvi Ottesen has not travelled to Tatarstan because his wife is due to give birth. The better news for Solbakken is forward Morten Nordstrand's return to the squad for a UEFA Champions League match after fully recovering from thigh and groin injuries.

Weekend results
20/11/10 Rubin 2-2 FC Zenit St Petersburg
(César Navas 61, Medvedev 67; Fayzulin 19, Huszti 54)
The result consigned Berdyev's team to a third-place finish in the Premier-Liga. Goalkeeper Giedrius Arlauskis made his Rubin debut, his first appearance since turning out for Romanian club FC Unirea Urziceni in mid-August.

21/11/10 København 2-1 FC Nordsjælland
(Claudemir 30, Santin 32pen; Gytkjaer 75)
FCK extended their unbeaten start to the Superliga season to 17 games, 14 of them wins.

Did you know?
The Russian side drew all three home games in last season's group stage, holding FC Internazionale Milano 1-1 before goalless matches against Barcelona and FC Dynamo Kyiv. Two more home draws this term mean they have tied all five group stage home fixtures.

See the match background for more information.

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