Winners in 2008, Group B hosts MFK Viz-Sinara Ekaterinburg are aiming to see off 2010 bronze-medallists Araz Naxçivan, ASD Città Di Montesilvano C/5 and AGBU Ararat Nicosia FC.
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MFK Viz-Sinara Ekaterinburg (RUS)
Ekaterinburg won the UEFA Futsal Cup at their first attempt in 2008 and were runners-up the following season. They missed out on the last four a year ago but remain ambitious after a second straight Russian league triumph. "We have kept our key players and added Nikolay Mal'tsev," said coach Sergei Skorovich. "We also have promising youngsters. Our club remains loyal to its principles. We have the same priorities as before: we try to win every game regardless of our opponents." Sinara are perennial domestic contenders and Konstantin Timoschenkov's absence through injury has been more than offset by the arrivals of Mal'tsev, Alexander Dedov, Andrei Bastrikov and Roman Glavatskih.
Main round: Bye
Key players: Sergei Zuev, Sergei Abramov, Pavel Chistopolov, Nikolay Mal'tsev
Araz Naxçivan (AZE)
The dominant force in Azerbaijani futsal for the last six years, Araz are relishing another chance to make headlines across Europe after taking bronze in the Lisbon finals this April with the spine of the squad that took the national team to the UEFA Futsal EURO 2010 semis in January. Unbeaten in the league, the former football club were defeated by PFC Neftchi in the Azerbaijani Cup final. Though they won all three of their UEFA Futsal Cup main round fixtures, their squad has been depleted by the departures of key men Biro Jade and Serjão. "Our domestic league is getting better and we had to work harder last season to claim the title," said captain Vitaliy Borisov. "I'm sure this will help us to be successful in the elite round."
Main round: Sporting Fingal FC 7-4, FK Nikars Riga 7-2, City'us Târgu Mureş 3-1 (Group 3 winners)
Key players: Andrey Tveryankin, Vitaliy Borisov, Anderson
ASD Città Di Montesilvano C/5 (ITA)
Montesilvano clinched their first Italian title last summer and look well-placed to do likewise this term. Unbeaten in their domestic championship – level with rivals Marca Futsal at the summit – Fulvio Colini's team have been propelled by the goals of Cristian Borruto and Rogerio Da Silva, joint leading scorers in the league with seven strikes apiece. "The draw handed us two very strong opponents and obviously we are not favourites, but this will be an important experience regardless," said Colini, whose side hope to emulate compatriots Luparense C/5's run to the finals last season. "We expect a useful test of our potential."
Main Round: ASA Tel Aviv 6-1, FS Ilves Tampere 6-1, MNK Nacional Zagreb 2-1 (Group 5 winners)
Key players: Cristian Borruto, Marco Forte, Rogerio Da Silva, Cleyton Baptistella, Stefano Mammarella
AGBU Ararat Nicosia FC (CYP)
The first Cypriot outfit to make it through to the elite round and the only survivors from the preliminary round, Ararat Nicosia ventured into futsal just over a decade ago but have already made quite an impression. They defeated Orlić Sarajevo in order to reach this stage, and that achievement left club chairman Dr Vahakn Atamyan overwhelmed. "Reaching the elite round is a dream come true for me," he said. "It was an emotional occasion and something I have dreamt about ever since we first established our futsal team back in 1998. I am floating in the clouds right now."
Preliminary round: SD Croatia Berlin 3-1, FC Anzhi Tallinn 6-2, FC Levski Sofia West 0-4 (Group D winners)
Main round: FC Time Lviv 1-5, Athina '90 Athens 2-2, MNK Orlić Sarajevo 4-2 (Group 2 runners-up)
Key players: Iakovos Papadopoulos, Davi Menezes, Csoma Alpar, Zoltan Mihaly
Reporters: Vladimir Bogachov, Erkin Ibragimov, Francesco Corda & John Leonidou