Last season's bronze-medallists Kairat Almaty and 2007 winners MFK Dinamo Moskva collide again in Group A, a section which also includes strong Belgium and Serbian clubs.
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Kairat Almaty (KAZ)
Despite a second UEFA Futsal Cup third place in three years as hosts last season, Kairat's board opted for a summer clear-out with the likes of captain Kelson and FIFA Futsal World Cup winner Anderson departing. They did not begin the season so well with a rare 5-1 aggregate loss to arch-rivals Tulpar Karagandy in the revived Kazakhstan Super Cup but Kairat do have a perfect six league wins so far and are ambitious to make their fifth European semi-final in seven years. "We got the group of death, but our goal is always the same – we want to qualify for the finals," declared club president Kairat Orazbekov, whose team lost to Dinamo in the 2006 semis and for 2008 third-place but beat them for 2009 bronze.
Main round: Bye
Key Players: Leo Satana, Katata, Dinmukhambet Suleimenov
MFK Dinamo Moskva (RUS, hosts)
Dinamo, who reached three UEFA Futsal Cup finals between 2005 and 2007, winning the third, have been absent from Europe for the last two seasons but reclaimed the Russian title from MFK Sinara Ekaterinburg in 2010/11 and comfortably progressed past the main round. A squad backed with Russian and Brazilian internationals, led by experienced Spanish coach Faustino Pérez, have won all six league games so far and as hosts are ambitious to return to the European finals. "We have one of the strongest groups but we will do everything to beat our opponents and to qualify for the next round," said Fernandinho, named best striker of the 2010/11 season.
Main round: Club Futsal Eindhoven 0-5 (default), Athina '90 Athens 9-1, KMN Svea Lesna Litija 4-1 (Group 1 runners-up)
Key players: Fernandinho, Cirilo, Tatù
KMF Ekonomac Kragujevac (SRB)
Ekonomac took their third title in only their 11th year of existence in 2010/11 when they proved themselves a European force too, only missing out on the finals with a last-day defeat by holders SL Benfica. They are doing their bit to promote the sport too. The decisive 5-3 main round win against Uragan Ivano-Frankovsk was shown live on national television for the first time and among their honorary members are European swimming champions Nadja Higl and Milorad Čavić, famed singer Djordje Balašavić, basketball star Aleksandar Djordjević and former Serbia U21 coach Slobodan Krčmarević. Top again in Serbia this season, club president Veroljub Dugalić said: "We know what we want and will go directly, but steadily, with only good steps."
Main round: Asa Ben Gurion 6-2, AC Omonia 5-1, Uragan Ivano-Frankovsk 5-3 (Group 6 winners)
Key players: Mladen Kocić, Predrag Rajić, Vladan Cvetanović
Châtelineau Futsal (BEL)
For only the second time the team that defeated Dinamo in the 2005 final, Action 21 Charleroi, are not representing Belgium in the UEFA Futsal Cup, beaten to the title by a side who were still in the third division when their rivals took the European crown. As well as making a successful debut in the main round, Châtelineau are unbeaten in the league this season with 41 goals from six matches aided by former Charleroi players André Vanderlei, Karim Chaibai, Zico and Liliu. During the main round André became the first player to score a 50th UEFA Futsal Cup goal and coach Christian Vavadio, another former Charleroi man, has had since a 4 November 7-1 defeat of Baio Futsal Morlanwelz to prepare his squad. He said: "With this good result we can now prepare full of belief for the elite round."
Main round: Akademia FC Pniewy 3-2, FK EP Chrudim 4-2, Vegakameratene 2-2 (Group 4 winners)
Key players: André Vanderlei, Karim Chaibai, Zico
Reporters: Mikhail Kozachkov, Dmitri Rogovitski, Aleksandar Bošković & Berend Scholten