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Anji enter uncharted waters with Hannover test

FC Anji Makhachkala will hope their impressive home record can help them past Hannover 96 as the Russian club appear in the spring phase of UEFA club competition for the first time.

Anji coach Guus Hiddink
Anji coach Guus Hiddink ©Getty Images

FC Anji Makhachkala are new to this level of competition, but coach Guus Hiddink knows what is in store as his side meet Hannover 96 in the UEFA Europa League round of 32.

Previous meetings
• The sides have never met before. This is Anji's first tie against German opponents and Hannover's first encounter with a Russian club.

Match background
• Group A runners-up Anji have made it through to the spring phase of a major European competition in what is only their second season in UEFA club competition.

• Anji have won all six of their European home games on Russian soil without conceding a single goal. Their only nominal home defeat in UEFA club competition came on their continental debut – a 2001/02 UEFA Cup first round tie, played as a one-off match on neutral territory in Warsaw, which Rangers FC won 1-0.

• Group L winners Hannover are competing at this phase for the second time in as many seasons. In 2011/12, they bowed out to eventual winners Club Atlético de Madrid in the quarter-finals.

Team facts
• Hannover's Kazakh-born midfielder Willi Evseev turns 21 on the day of the game. He has yet to play in a UEFA game.

• Hannover's Hungarian winger Szabolcs Huszti has played in Russia, moving to Germany in July following a three-year spell at FC Zenit St Petersburg, during which he won two league titles.

• Anji coach Guus Hiddink achieved little of note as a midfielder, but as a coach has racked up six league titles and five domestic cups with his various clubs. The Dutchman has also led the Netherlands, South Korea, Australia, Russia and Turkey at international level and won the 1987/88 European Champion Clubs' Cup with PSV Eindhoven. He took charge of Anji in February 2012.

• Hannover coach Mirko Slomka played for the club and coached their youth sides before taking charge of the first team in January 2010. He previously enjoyed success in the 2005/06 UEFA Cup, leading Schalke from the round of 32 to the semi-finals after succeeding Ralf Rangnick.

Round of 16: Anji/Hannover v Newcastle United FC/FC Metalist Kharkiv
• The first legs will be played on 7 March, with the returns the following Thursday.