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27.08.2009 19:30

Rubin Kazan, Russian champions in UCL debut

Pau Ramírez

Rubin Kazan, winners of the 2008 Russian league title are looking to impress on their Champions League debut. Though on paper they are minnows, Barça will know that the Russian league champions are not to be underestimated.

The Russians went straight into the group stages by virtue of winning the Russian championship last season. And they won it in style, with four games to spare. It was a familiar face to followers of Spanish football, Savo Milosevic, who got the last minute winner in a 2-1 win at Saturn Moscow in November to secure the title mathematically.

Star players

rubin2.jpgThey are something on an unknown quantity, but Kazan have other players that are no strangers to Spanish football. Defender César Navas joined the club in March from Racing Santander, having also worn the shirts of Nàstic in Tarragona and of Malaga.

Other dangermen include Argentine full back Cristian Ansaldi, his compatriot Alejandro Domínguez (striker) and young attacking midfielder Christian Noboa from Ecuador. Other foreign imports include veteran defensive midfielder MacBeth Sibaia of South African and Turkish forward Gökdeniz Karadeniz.

Manager since 2001

Rubin Kazan are managed by Gurban Berdiýew, born in Turkmenistan 52 years ago. A former professional player, he joined the club in 2001 when Rubin were still in the second division. He won promotion in his first season and the side has since been consolidated as one of the strongest in the country, finishing third in 2003 and finally winning the title for the first time last year.

Russian leaders

rubin1.jpgRubin continue to dominate this season, and with eleven games to play, they are top of the league, one point ahead of second placed Spartak Moscow.

First meeting

This will be the first time Barça have faced Rubin Kazan. The first encounter is on October 20 at the Camp Nou and the return is on November 4, where Barça will also be playing against the cold. Temperatures in the area range between 1.2 and 6.3 degrees below zero). When Barça are in town, there will be just three games left to play in the Russian Premier League.
Rubin Kazan, Russian champions in UCL debut
Capacity of 30,000
Rubin Kazan play at the Tsentralny stadium, which holds 30,133 spectators. Built in 1969, the pitch measures 105 x 68 metres.

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