A shortage of goals has not helped Rubin Kazan in their quest to make it through UEFA Europa League Group B and they can ill afford another blank as they welcome on-song Sion.
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Bottom of UEFA Europa League Group B after four games, FC Rubin Kazan are running out of chances as they welcome surprise section leaders FC Sion.
• If Sion win, they are through; if Rubin lose they are out.
• Moussa Konaté struck twice on matchday one as Sion beat Rubin 2-1 in the Russian side's first encounter with Swiss opponents.
• Sion's only previous encounters with Russian opposition came in the 1997/98 UEFA Cup first round. They lost 1-0 at home against FC Spartak Moskva then drew the return leg 2-2 in Moscow. However, the game was replayed after it was discovered that the goalposts were not the regulation height. Spartak won that match 5-1.
• Without a win in Group B, Rubin have been low scorers this season – they have not registered more than once in their last seven UEFA games.
• Sion are unbeaten in Group B, where they have not conceded more than once in a single match.
• Rubin successfully navigated their way through to the round of 32 in all three of their previous UEFA Europa League group stage campaigns.
• Sion are featuring in the group stage of a major UEFA competition for the first time.
Trivia and links
• The journey from Sion to Kazan is over 3,000km.
• Sion's Latvia goalkeeper Andrijs Vaņins has some Russian experience, having played for FC Moskva from 2003–05 – though he did not break into the first team.
• Sion striker Konaté also played in Russia with FC Krasnodar from 2012–14. Konaté and Rubin's Sergei Kislyak were team-mates at Krasnodar for the first half of the 2012/13 season.
• Valeri Chaly is in temporary charge at Rubin, following Rinat Bilyaletdinov's dismissal in September. A lower-league player in the Soviet Union, he was later a beach soccer and futsal trainer. Once coach of Moldova's FC Iskra-Stal, he joined Rubin after a short spell with FC Chayka Sevastopol's reserves.
• A UEFA Cup finalist with FC Girondins de Bordeaux in 1996, striker Didier Tholot ended his playing career as player-coach at Sion and took charge of the club for a third time in 2014. He led Sion to Swiss Cup success in 2009 in his second stint and won that trophy again last term.