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Barcelona begin title defence

FC Barcelona kick off their title defence at home in elite round Group D along with England's Baku United FC, Lokomotiv Kharkiv and MVFC Berettyóújfalu.

Outsiders Berettyóújfalu hope to cause an upset
Outsiders Berettyóújfalu hope to cause an upset ©FIX VIDEO STÚDIÓ

FC Barcelona (ESP, hosts/holders)
Barcelona claimed the title for the second time in their three entries last season and now start their bid to equal Inter FS's record tally of three championships. After a summer in which key men Jordi Torras and Fernandão left the club, Marc Carmona's side have rebuilt with the signings of pivot Rafa Usín, the always spectacular Batería and the solid Dyego. Scoring freely, as always, this season is Sergio Lozano.

Main round: Bye
Key players
: Aicardo, Paco Sedano, Sergio Lozano, Wilde

MVFC Berettyóújfalu (HUN)
The Hungarian champions made it past the main round at their third attempt, topping a competitive group by beating Slov-Matic Bratislava. However, they have found themselves in a tough group with a difficult task if they are to be the first team from their nation to make the finals. Still, János Rábl got an impressive six main round goals.

Main round: Vegakameratene 3-2, FC APOEL Nicosia 2-3, Slov-Matic Bratislava 5-1 (Group 5 winners)
Key players: János Rábl, János Trencsényi

Baku United FC (ENG)
One of two preliminary round survivors and the first English side to get this far, Baku – based at London's Olympic Park – are serious contenders. Among the team built by Chema Jiménez are his former Inter FS charge Tobe, former Spanish international Marcelo and Alexandre Ghiotti, a winner with ASD Città di Montesilvano C/5 in 2011. Tobe told UEFA.com: "We will have to give a lot, both mentally and physically, to be able to win against Barcelona. [When we play Lokomotiv], like against Barcelona, we'll have to put in a lot of effort defensively, because it will be very hard. I don't know a lot about the Hungarian team's abilities, but since they are among the best 16 teams in Europe, they can make things difficult for us."

Preliminary round: Gibraltar Scorpions FC 10-0, Malmö City FC 10-0, MNK Centar Sarajevo 6-4 (Group B winners)
Main round:
Luparense C/5 6-2, KMF Ekonomac Kragujevac 4-1 Athina '90 2-0 (Group 5 winners)
Key players:
Marcelo, Tobe, José Carlos

Lokomotiv Kharkiv (UKR)
Though the club that make up most of the Ukrainian national side are champions again, their packed schedule and the players' workload have taken their toll this term. Having lost against their biggest rivals LTK Luhansk and Energy Lviv in early November, Lokomotiv are well adrift of Enakievez Enakievo but former Ukraine coach Yevhen Ryvkin is optimistic. "Yes, we lacked mobility and coolness in recent matches but the UEFA Futsal Cup is a very serious competition that we approach with great care," he said. "We want to represent Ukraine with honour."

Main round: KMN Kobarid 6-1, Inter FS 2-5, Hovocubo 5-0 (Group 4 runners-up)
Key players: Serhiy Zhurba, Dmytro Sorokin, Mykola Bilotserkivets

Reporters: Gonzalo Aguado, Paul Saffer & Igor Linnyk 

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