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Rubin hunt maiden Greek scalp

FC Rubin Kazan will be looking to claim their first European victory against Greek opposition as Olympiacos FC swap the UEFA Champions League for the UEFA Europa League.

Kevin Mirallas shows his frustration as Olympiacos exit the UEFA Champions League
Kevin Mirallas shows his frustration as Olympiacos exit the UEFA Champions League ©Getty Images

FC Rubin Kazan will take on Olympiacos FC in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 looking to end a run of draws against Greek sides, while the visitors would be wise to be particularly wary of the Russian team just after the interval.

Previous meetings
• The clubs have been paired for the first time in UEFA competition.

• All four of Rubin's previous meetings with Greek sides have ended in draws – two 0-0s against Panathinaikos FC in the 2010/11 UEFA Champions League group stage and a 2-2 draw at home and a 1-1 away against PAOK FC in this season's UEFA Europa League group stage.

• Olympiacos's only experience of Russian opposition came back in 1971 when they lost 2-0 at home and won 2-1 away against FC Dinamo Moskva in a UEFA Cup Winners' Cup first-round tie.

Match background
• Rubin are unbeaten in five European home games – three wins and two draws – since they lost 2-0 to FC Twente in the first leg of last season's round of 32.

• The Russian side are in the round of 32 for a third season in succession; they overcame Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC at this stage in 2009/10 but bowed out to VfL Wolfsburg in the round of 16. They then lost out to Twente last term.

• Olympiacos have moved into the UEFA Europa League despite winning three of their last four games in the UEFA Champions League group stage.

• The Greek champions last featured in the round of 32 in 2008/09, losing out to an AS Saint-Étienne side featuring Belgian attacker Kevin Mirallas, now at the Piraeus club.

• They were more successful in their only other appearance at this stage, in 2004/05 – the first season since the advent of the UEFA Cup group stage – beating FC Sochaux Montbéliard but losing to Newcastle United FC in the round of 16.

Team facts
• Six of Rubin's 11 group stage goals came within 15 minutes of the restart; they were the most dangerous side in the competition in this early stage of the second half.

• Rubin defender César Navas and his Olympiacos counterpart Iván Marcano were team-mates at Real Racing Club from 2007 to 2009.

• Olympiacos goalkeeper Franco Costanzo played in the round of 32 last season with FC Basel 1893, losing to another Russian side, FC Spartak Moskva.

• Rubin's Gökdeniz Karadeniz came up against Olympiacos's Francisco Yeste and Pablo Orbaíz when Trabzonspor AŞ met Athletic Club in the 2004/05 UEFA Cup first round. Gökdeniz scored as his side won the home leg 3-2 and Yeste registered in the return fixture, which Athletic won 2-0 in Bilbao.

• Kurban Berdyev has been coach of Rubin since 2001, leading them to Russian titles in 2008 and 2009. Rubin captain Roman Sharonov once said of his serious-minded trainer: "He has football on his mind 24 hours a day. If I thought about football that much I would probably lose my mind."

• Olympiacos's Spanish coach Ernesto Valverde was a forward and later coach with Athletic. He twice lost UEFA Cup finals on penalties with RSC Espanyol, as a player in 1988 and as a coach in 2007, but won the 1989 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup at FC Barcelona. He is in his second spell with the Piraeus club having won the Greek title in his first season, in 2008/09, and again on returning in 2010/11.

Round of 16
• The winners will take on FC Salzburg or FC Metalist Kharkiv in the round of 16 on 8 and 15 March, playing the second leg at home.

• Rubin have met neither of their potential opponents in UEFA competition.

• Olympiacos have never come across Salzburg, but lost 1-0 at Metalist in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup group stage, Edmar scoring an 88th-minute winner in Kharkiv.

Competition statistics
• An updated version of the UEFA Europa League Statistics Handbook is available here:

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