The FNL Cup – And Why It Matters

While fans back home shiver in temperatures well below freezing, the traditional winter break tournament featuring the majority of Russia’s second tier teams, the FNL Cup, kicked off today in the mild Cypriot sunshine. For most participants, it is their second or even third warm-weather training camp as they gear up towards the resumption of domestic league duty in March, and the 16-team event is ever so gradually edging into more than just a relaxing holiday. It is far from the finished … [Read more...]

A Closer Look at FC Ural’s New Man Aleksandr Lomakin

FC Ural’s head coach Aleksandr Tarkhanov is fully convinced that the team’s recent signing, Aleksandr Lomakin, will be of major importance for the Yekaterinburg outfit in the near future. During a short interview to FC Ural’s website, the experienced head coach remembered how hard it was to convince Lomakin’s former club, FC Yenisey, to release him and that the 21-year old midfielder has what is needed to help the team immediately. Lomakin was born in Moscow in 1995 and started playing … [Read more...]

Mid-Season Review: Orenburg

Introduction A lot has changed in Orenburg in recent months, not least the change in official club name by dropping ‘Gazovik’ from their title after pressure from Vitaly Mutko, thus avoiding a conflict of interest with Zenit St. Petersburg, given fact that the main sponsor and owner of Orenburg is a Gazprom subsidiary.  A well-earned promotion from the FNL after just four seasons in Russia’s second tier was the least their utterly dominant performances deserved, and slowly but surely head … [Read more...]

From Real Madrid to Yenisey – Juan Lescano

Do you ever have one of those days where you are browsing the football scores, or surfing through your favourite video game, and you come across a player and find yourself thinking: “wow, what a career this guy has had!” or “how have I never heard of this guy before?”. Well that’s what happened to me recently when I spotted the name Juan Eduardo Lescano on Football Manager 2016, plying his trade for FNL club Yenisey Krasnoyarsk. The first thought was, especially as a follower of Russian … [Read more...]

Russian Clubs Cancel Training Camps in Turkey Due to Political Crisis

Because of the diplomatic crisis that emerged yesterday when a Russian jet and later a rescue-helicopter were shot down in Turkey, the Russian Football Union has encouraged Russian clubs to cancel their training camps in Turkey for the upcoming winter break. With a winter break running from December to March, the Russian Premier League clubs are spending most of the winter in training camps, and Turkey is a very popular destination. With Turkey being considerably cheaper than the Arab … [Read more...]

10 years of turmoil – The latest rise and fall of Torpedo Moscow

Once battling the powerhouses of European football on a regular basis, Torpedo Moscow now find themselves rooted to the basement of Russian league football. Twenty-three years previously the iconic Moscow club found themselves in the UEFA Cup competition where the club achieved a respectable quarter-final place. Torpedo successfully sank giants such as Manchester United en-route to their success in 1992/1993, now they are battling to finance an away game due to the club's shocking financial … [Read more...]

Financial Crisis at Volga Nizhny Novgorod Hits New Low

Volga Nizhny Novgorod have endured a couple of difficult years, after three seasons in the Russian Premier League they were relegated to the Russian First Division where they finished in a very disappointing 13th place in the 2014/15 season. However, the manager who came down with them, Andrei Talalaev, has started somewhat of a revival this season. They currently sit in 7th place, only four points away from the Promotion Play-Off places, and have the second best defensive record in the division … [Read more...]

Season Preview: Krylia Sovetov Samara

Introduction: Frank Vercauteren's men capped a fine season by pipping the FNL's wealthiest club, Anzhi Makhachkala, to the second tier title, returning to the top flight after a brief one-year abscence. Their record is impressive: no side from outside Moscow has played more games in the Russian Premier League than the Samara-based outfit, and they can boast three European campaigns in the last 15 years to boot. A strong run in the Russian Cup to the quarter finals came to end with Bibras … [Read more...]

Ural’s Great Escape

Pablo Fonatello probably deserved his long breath in the corridors of the Geolog Stadium just over a week ago. With a Terry Butcher-esque bandage still clinging to his forehead with genuine blood, sweat and tears, he slumped in the chair outside the changing rooms holding his young daughter having just put in an undisputed man-of-the-match performance to ensure Ural Ekaterinburg kept their place in the Russian Premier League. One would have forgiven him for having his mind elsewhere during the … [Read more...]

Around Match Day 26

’Around the Match Day’ is a new feature on We will take a look at all the major and minor stories surrounding the match day and give you an overview you do not get elsewhere. The Russian Premier League’s match day 26 showed us both the best and the worst from the Russian football world. Zenit Saint Petersburg visited Spartak Moscow at the brand new Otkritie Arena, where more than 40,000 spectators showed up to watch one of the biggest derbies in the country. Both fan … [Read more...]