Barcelona 1-2 Rubin Kazan – The Greatest Giant Killing in European History?

In 2008 and 2009, FC Barcelona was at the top of the footballing world. They won every trophy available to them: La Liga, the Copa Del Rey, the Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup. The squad that the Catalan's had put together under the management of Pep Guardiola is widely regarded as one of the best teams of all time with Carles Puyol, Andrés Iniesta, Xavi Hernández at the peak of their careers, alongside stars such as Lionel Messi, Zlatan Ibrahimović, Yaya Touré … [Read more...]

Anzhi, are you OK?

Down in Dagestan, Anzhi Makachkala have been subjected to somewhat of a rough ride. It's been hard to gauge what the problems have been, and why on the whole, their largely decent performances see them sitting rock bottom of the table by the October international break with nine points from a possible 36. On their second manager of the season already, the campaign thus far can be split quite comfortably into the Aleksandr Grigoryan and Vadim Skripchenko sessions. The former lasted just six … [Read more...]

FC Ufa – How To Run a Small Club in Russia

When FC Ufa was promoted to the Premier League (RFPL) in 2014, they were one of the smallest sides in history to make the top flight. Having only existed since 2010, it took them just three seasons to rise from Professional Football League (PFL), the third tier, to the top flight, though many predicted it would not last long. How could a side like Ufa last in a league dominated by elite teams? The answer lies not just on the pitch, but behind the scenes.   At Europe's End Ufa is one of … [Read more...]

Grozny’s Relationship With Brazil Growing Ever Stronger

Second, only to Spartak Moscow, Akhmat Grozny (formerly Terek Grozny) have had the most Brazilian players in the Russian Football Premier League (RFPL), totalling 15 including their three new signings this summer. In their Premier League history starting in 2005, with a two year gap until 2008, Akhmat have signed 61 players from foreign countries (excluding former Soviet nations Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Turkmenistan and Ukraine), and so with 15 of these being Brazilian, that means … [Read more...]

Krasnodar’s Youth Academy Bearing Its First Fruits

Just nine years ago, FC Krasnodar was formed. Founded and owned by billionaire businessman Sergey Galitsky, the intentions were not to go gung-ho with their money like the then free-spending Anzhi Makhachkala but to build from the bottom. This included the installation of a youth academy, which would recruit boys of all ages, with the intention that one day, half of the first team would be graduates of the school, and so the Krasnodar Academy was born. The Krasnodar Academy is situated next … [Read more...]

Season Preview: Rubin Kazan

This time last year, Rubin Kazan fans were filled with hope and promise. Their team had spent €40m on transfers, and appointed Spaniard Javi Gracia as their coach, but come the end of the season, they were languishing in 9th place, with Gracia working on borrowed time. A month later, Gracia was gone, and after lengthy rumour, Rubin's legendary manager from 2001-2013, Kurban Berdyev, rejoined the club after two highly successful seasons at FC Rostov. Berdyev is not alone in making the swap … [Read more...]

Season Preview: FC Ufa

Last season, FC Ufa achieved the highest league finish in the club’s history, as they surprised everyone to finish 7th place. A club with modest resources and a small squad, excellent management from two top young coaches, Viktor Goncharenko and Sergey Semak was key to their achievement. Operating with a 5-3-2 or 5-4-1, they were often a thorn in the side of the larger teams, using their excellent defensive co-oridination and lightning quick counter attacks, spearheaded by Kehinde Fatai, to … [Read more...]

Season Preview: Anzhi Makhachkala

In the winter transfer window last season, Anzhi Makhachkala signed 25 players and swapped experienced Czech manager Pavel Vrba for SKA Khabarovsk boss Aleksandr Grigoryan. Most people expected Anzhi to be relegated after this, but surprisingly the squad and manager gelled quite quickly and put together some decent performances, including a relegation six pointer win against Orenburg, and resilient 0-0 draws against FC Krasnodar and Lokomotiv Moscow, which ultimately saw them avoid the … [Read more...]

Ones To Watch – Fedor Chalov

Biography Name: Fedor Chalov D.O.B/Age: 10th April 1998/19 years old Club: CKSA Moscow Positions: Striker Nationality: Russia Career To Date Fedor Chalov has had a whirlwind last nine months, which has seen him go from an unknown teenager, to one of Russia’s biggest hopes for the future. Having not done much at U21 level for CSKA, Chalov caught the attention of the senior coaches with a string of good performances in the UEFA Youth League, grabbing two assists at home against Tottenham in … [Read more...]

Javi Gracia at Rubin Kazan – What Went Wrong?

Last week, Rubin Kazan sacked Spanish head coach Javi Gracia, before replacing him with their legendary manager from 2001-2013, Kurban Berdyev, who recently enjoyed two-and-a-half hugely successful seasons at FC Rostov. Gracia’s appointment last summer as Rubin’s first foreign coach generated a lot of excitement. His reputation of being a bright young coach preceded him, and he had pulled off a series of impressive results with former side Malaga. He gained positive marks when he arrived … [Read more...]