Debutants Levante UD have defied the odds to get to the round of 16 but, fresh from eliminating holders Club Atlético de Madrid, FC Rubin Kazan will be eager to end their fairy-tale run.
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Levante UD's remarkable first season in UEFA competition has taken them all the way to the UEFA Europa League round of 16, but FC Rubin Kazan are eager to stop them in their tracks.
• The sides are meeting for the first time, and this is also Levante's first encounter with Russian opponents.
• Rubin's six games against Spanish opponents have ended W2 D2 L2 (W2 D0 L1 in Spain). Rubin eliminated another Spanish side – holders Club Atlético de Madrid – in the round of 32.
• European debutants Levante are unbeaten in six games, and have yet to lose at home in five matches in European competition (W4 D1).
• Rubin have not lost in four away games (W2 D2) since the start of the group stage.
• Rubin have reached the round of 16 for the second time, having made it this far in 2009/10 before losing out to VfL Wolfsburg.
• Rubin have lost three times in their last 21 European home games (W9 D9 L3), with all three of those defeats coming in Moscow, where they have yet to score in three games. They are 18 European games unbeaten in Kazan, including wins in the most recent five, during which they conceded only once.
• Chelsea FC and Levante have played fewer UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League games than any other side left in the competition – just ten each.
• Levante striker Obafemi Martins played for Rubin from 2010 to 2012, scoring three goals in 20 league appearances.
• Rubin defender Iván Marcano and Levante midfielder Pedro Ríos played together when the former was on loan at Getafe CF in 2010/11.
• Rubin have two more Spanish players in César Navas and Pablo Orbaiz while their Venezuelan forward José Rondon also spent four seasons in Spain, with UD Las Palmas and Málaga CF.
• Tottenham Hotspur FC and Rubin are the only two survivors from the seven clubs that were granted automatic entry to the UEFA Europa League at the group stage.
• Levante's José Barkero has provided six assists since the start of the group stage, two more than his nearest rival as the competition's top provider – FC Internazionale Milano's Freddy Guarín.
• Levante defender Héctor Rodas celebrates his 25th birthday on the day of the game.
• Levante goalkeeper Keylor Navas is the only player from either side to have played all 720 minutes of their team's eight games since the start of the group stage.
• The round of 16 features teams from 11 UEFA member associations; eight nations have a single representative, with England and Russia both taking three teams through and Italy two. Russia enjoyed a perfect round of 32, with all three representatives – FC Anji Makhachkala, FC Zenit St Petersburg and Rubin – making progress.
• This is Levante coach Juan Ignacio Martínez's first campaign in UEFA club competition. As a midfielder, he never rose higher than the third tier in Spanish football and coached in youth and women's football, working his way up the senior men's leagues to take charge of Levante in June 2011. He is often known by his initials, JIM, in Spain.
• Kurban Berdyev has been coach of Rubin since 2001, leading the club to successive Russian titles in 2008 and 2009 and a Russian Cup in 2012. Previously a defender and midfielder in the top Soviet league with SKA Rostov-na-Donu and FC Kairat Almaty, he coached teams in Russia, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan before leading Rubin into Russia's top division.