MFK Dinamo have been runners-up two years running but must get past experienced trio KMF Ekonomac Kragujevac, Slov-Matic Bratislava and hosts FC Litija in elite round Group B.
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MFK Dinamo (RUS)
Dinamo have won the top-class Russian league three years running and now have their sights set on reclaiming the European title they won in 2007. That victory followed two straight UEFA Futsal Cup final defeats and likewise they were runners-up in 2012, losing to FC Barcelona, and 2013, defeated by Kairat Almaty. Due to a restricted number of eligible non-Russian players Dinamo had to release striker Dieguinho and Aleksei Popov while Gennadi Garagulya, Anatoli Badretinov and Vladislav Shayakhmetov also left the club.
However, goalkeeper Ivan Poddubni has come in from MFK CSKA Moscow and forward Azat Bikbulatov was promoted from the reserves. "We always say Dinamo play for victory and these are not just empty words," said stalwart Cirilo. "Everyone in the team is addicted to winning and nobody is willing to get rid of this habit."
Main round: bye
Key players: Fernandinho, Cirilo, Pula
KMF Ekonomac Kragujevac (SRB)
Strong contenders in the last three elite rounds, Ekonomac cruised through to this stage again at home with the best record of any team in the main round. Their squad has a familiar look with Brazilian forward Daniel alongside locals Slobodan Rajčević, Vidan Bojović, Mladen Kocić, Borko Surudžić, and goalkeeper Miodrag Aksentijević plus prolific Slovenian international Alen Fetič, all under long-time coach Ivan Božović. President Veroljub Dugalic said: "We have done a lot in our 13 years of existence and believe that we will be better and stronger in the future. Ekonomac have helped promote our city of Kragujevac and Serbian futsal. We never want to speak too much before competition, but we have ability and onfidence."
Main round: MNK Nacional Zagreb 4-1, Vegakameratene 5-1, CF Eindhoven 6-1 (Group 5 winners)
Key players: Slobodan Rajčević, Vidan Bojović, Mladen Kocić
Slov-Matic Bratislava (SVK)
The competition regulars have never got past this stage and coach Ján Janík is setting a realistic target: "Litija and Kragujevac are playable opponents. They do not have many foreign players, they have nobody from Brazil, Portugal or Spain and don't forget we drew against Kragujevac last year. Dinamo, with many good foreign players, will be the huge favourites, that is clear. But we want to beat our record in this phase, which is one win." His team are well beyond that in the Slovakian league, with seven wins out of seven and 68 goals, most recently beating FK Prešov 9-3.
Main round: Hamburg Panthers 14-1, MFK VitEn Vitebsk 2-3, FK Nikars Riga 4-3 (Group 1 runners-up)
Key players: Ladislav Mikita, Gabriel Bartošek, Peter Haľko
FC Litija (SVN, hosts)
Pipped as hosts in Lasko at this stage last year by FC Barcelona only, the amateur club based 30km from Ljubljana clinched their third straight Slovenian title in the summer, their tenth in all, though only came through the main round in Cyprus with a late winner against Baku United FC of London. The biggest change from last season is the arrival of a new coach, as 41-year-old assistant Bojan Žunko replaced Tomi Horvat. The team remains familiar, based around captain Igor Osredkar, powerful creator Gašper Vrhovec, great technician Milivoje Simeunovič and reliable goalkeeper Damir Puškar. Club president Samantha Lovše said: "Even more than any season before, we are determined to finish among the best four teams in Europe."
Main round: AC Omonia Nicosia 6-1, FK EP Chrudim 5-6, Baku United FC 3-2 (Group 4 runners-up).
Key players: Igor Osredkar, Gašper Vrhovec, Milivoje Simeunović, Damir Pertič.
Reporters: Dmitri Rogovitski, Aleksandar Bošković, Rastislav Hríbik & Rok Šinkovc