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Kuban and St Gallen clutch at straws

FC Kuban Krasnodar's maiden European campaign could be approaching a dead end as they take on FC St Gallen needing a win and the right result in the other Group A game to survive.

Kuban Stadium, home of Kuban Krasnodar
Kuban Stadium, home of Kuban Krasnodar ©Getty Images

Things are looking desperate for FC Kuban Krasnodar and FC St Gallen as they head into matchday five, with the top spots in UEFA Europa League Group A seemingly all but spoken for.

• Valencia CF confirmed their place in the round of 32 on matchday four, and should Swansea City AFC beat the Spanish side in the other Group A game, they would join them in the next phase.

Previous meetings
• The sides' first meeting on matchday one ended in a 2-0 win for St Gallen, with Goran Karanovic (56) and Marco Mathys (76) scoring the goals before Kuban's Charles Kaboré was sent off for a second bookable offence in added time.

• That result matched St Gallen's previous best home result in this competition – a 2-0 victory against Chelsea FC in the 2000/01 UEFA Cup first round. It was also Kuban's first European defeat, with their maiden European campaign having opened with four straight successes as they eliminated Motherwell FC and then Feyenoord to make it to the group stage.

• St Gallen had played two previous games against Russian opposition, eliminating FC Spartak Moskva in this season's UEFA Europa League play-offs, following up a 1-1 draw in Switzerland with a shock 4-2 win in Moscow.

Match background
• Back in Europe for the first time since bowing out on penalties to FC Dacia Chisinau in the second round of the 2007 UEFA Intertoto Cup, St Gallen have yet to make it to the spring phase of a UEFA club competition.

• St Gallen last played in this competition when they were eliminated in the second round of the 2001/02 UEFA Cup by SC Freiburg.

Team facts
• Kuban's Xandão received the fastest yellow card in the history of the UEFA Europa League on matchday four, handling after 28 seconds against Swansea City AFC. He was later sent off for a second bookable offence in the 1-1 draw.

• Kuban are one of four sides in the group stage experiencing their first season in European competition along with Wigan Athletic FC, CS Pandurii Târgu Jiu and Estoril Praia.

• Kuban have yet to score more than one goal in any of their four European home games to date.

Coach information
• Kuban parted company with coach Dorinel Munteanu on 12 October, the Romanian paying for a slow start in Group A and a run of one win in six Premier-Liga matches.

• Viktor Goncharenko answered Kuban's call to end a six-year stay with FC BATE Borisov, where he won five Belarusian titles and steered his side into the UEFA Champions League group stage three times – also becoming, at the age of 31, the youngest ever coach in Europe's premier competition. Before that, Goncharenko first turned to management after his career as a defender with BATE was ended by injury aged 25.

• St Gallen coach Jeff Saibene is the first Luxembourger to lead a club in a major UEFA club competition group stage. Having moved abroad as a teenager to sign for R. Standard de Liège, the midfielder left three years later for Switzerland, where he spent much of his career. After coaching spells at FC Thun and FC Aarau, he joined St Gallen in March 2011, leading them back to the top division in his first full season and to third place in his second.

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