With the situation tight at the top of UEFA Europa League Group A, FC Rubin Kazan will look to boost their qualification chances with success against eliminated Shamrock Rovers FC.
Article top media content
FC Rubin Kazan will look for a repeat of their matchday one success against eliminated Shamrock Rovers FC, with the situation tight at the top of UEFA Europa League Group A.
• Goals from Obafemi Martins (3), Christian Noboa (50) and Gökdeniz Karadeniz (60) gave Rubin a 3-0 win when these sides first met on matchday one, in what was the Dubliners' first game against a Russian side and Rubin's first meeting with Irish opposition. The score might have been higher had Rubin's Nelson Valdez and Rovers' Stephen O'Donnell not both failed to find the target from the penalty spot.
• It was Rovers' heaviest UEFA Cup or UEFA Europa League home defeat and Rubin's best result away from home in the two competitions, and matched their best previous result on the road in UEFA competition.
• This is only the third time that Irish and Russian sides have been drawn together in UEFA club competition. FC Torpedo Moskva beat Cork City FC 5-0 at home and 1-0 away in the 1989/90 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, then Rovers' Dublin rivals Saint Patrick's Athletic FC eliminated PFC Krylya Sovetov Samara from the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League third qualifying round on away goals, winning 1-0 in Ireland before a 3-2 loss in Samara.
• Rubin have lost just one of their last 15 European home games, 2-0 against FC Twente in last season's UEFA Europa League round of 32. Their record in that run has been W5 D9 L1.
• Rovers have lost all four of their Group A games. Their 2-1 win at FK Partizan in the play-offs is their only victory in their last six European games on the road, four of which have ended in defeat.
• Rubin's Italian defender Salvatore Bocchetti will turn 25 on the day of the game.
• Rubin goalkeeper Giedrius Arlauskis celebrates his 24th birthday the day after this game.
• Half-time team talks at Rubin must be extremely good; the Russian side have scored four of their six goals in Group A within 15 minutes of the restart.
• The same goes for Rovers; all three of their Group A goals have come between the 46th and 60th minutes.
• Billy Dennehy's goal in Rovers' 3-1 loss against PAOK FC on matchday four was his side's 50th in UEFA club competition in what was their 58th UEFA game.
• A semi-professional side, Rovers will look for guidance from their manager Michael O'Neill, who made 33 senior appearances for Northern Ireland, and played UEFA club competition games for Coleraine FC, Dundee United FC and Glentoran FC. He also played for English clubs like Newcastle United FC and Coventry City FC.
• Kurban Berdyev has been coach of Rubin since 2001, with the Turkmenistan-born boss leading them to Russian titles in 2008 and 2009. Rubin captain Roman Sharonov once said of his serious-minded boss: "He has football in his mind 24 hours a day. If I thought about football that much I would probably lose my mind."