PAOK prepare for tough trip to Rubin

Fresh from their 3-0 defeat of Shamrock Rovers FC last time out, FC Rubin Kazan will be looking to strengthen their position at the top of Group A when they host PAOK FC.

Rubin celebrate victory in their opening Group A fixture against Shamrock Rovers
Rubin celebrate victory in their opening Group A fixture against Shamrock Rovers ©Sportsfile

Having won away from home on matchday one, FC Rubin Kazan will look to strengthen their position at the top of UEFA Europa League Group A with a win against PAOK FC.

Previous meetings
• The sides are meeting for the first time in UEFA competition.

• Rubin came up against Panathinaikos FC in last season's UEFA Champions League group stage, drawing twice; they have yet to score – or indeed concede – in 180 minutes of football against Greek sides.

• In PAOK's only previous games against Russian sides they played Rubin's Premier League rivals PFC CSKA Moskva in last season's UEFA Europa League round of 32; they lost 2-1 on aggregate, losing 1-0 at home and drawing 1-1 in Moscow.

Match background
• Rubin have lost only one of their last 13 home games in Europe, 2-0 against FC Twente in last season's UEFA Europa League round of 32, but that run includes eight draws as well as four wins.

• PAOK have gone four games without a European away defeat (two wins and two draws) since a 1-0 loss at Villarreal CF in last season's UEFA Europa League group stage.

• Rubin's 3-0 win at Shamrock Rovers FC on matchday one was their biggest away victory in the UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League and matched their previous European best on their travels, a 3-0 success at Zalaegerszegi TE in the 2007 UEFA Intertoto Cup.

Team facts
• 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."

• Capped 108 times by Romania as a midfielder, PAOK coach László Bölöni has been involved with four other clubs in this season's UEFA Europa League group stage; he played for FC Steaua Bucureşti (1984-87) and coached Sporting Clube de Portugal (2001-03), Stade Rennais FC (2003-06) and R. Standard de Liège (2008-10).

• Rubin's Turkish midfielder Gökdeniz Karadeniz has come up against Greece three times with his national team with the record W1 D1 L1. He scored after coming on as a substitute in Turkey's 4-1 UEFA EURO 2008 qualifying away win on 24 March 2007.

• PAOK goalkeeper Kostas Chalkias helped Greece keep a clean sheet in the return fixture, as his side won 1-0 against a side featuring Gökdeniz in Istanbul.

• Gökdeniz came up against PAOK's president Theodoros Zagorakis and technical director Zisis Vryzas as Turkey and Greece drew 0-0 in 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifying.

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