Sbornaya – Dinamo Moscow: Another RFU Farce

Unfortunately for fans of Russian Football and particularly the Russian National Team, that headline is not a typographical error. While incumbent World Champions Germany face off against the Czech Republic and Norway in two difficult and competitive World Cup Qualifying games, Sbornaya will face Dinamo Moscow at the Arena Khimki on 3 September. Although Russia are playing, the tie has been officially denoted as a "Club Friendly", not an international. Therefore, it is the only game that the … [Read more...]

Champions League Preview: BSC Young Boys – CSKA Moscow

First Playoff Round, First Leg: Young Boys vs Old Boys? Young Boys By @FootballSwiss It was a mixed pre-season for Young Boys as they achieved some memorable wins and less than memorable defeats as they geared up for the new season. Lower league side Breitenrain, Salzburg and Russian side Grozny all defeated YB with Akhmat winning 4-1 at the beginning of the July. YB only managed two wins during their preparations with those coming against Wacker Innsbruck of Austria and more … [Read more...]

Weighted Ages For RFPL Teams After 5 Rounds

In what is going to be a regular feature, I’m going to give you some curious stats about RFPL. I developed a measure called “weighted season-average age”, which is more precise than the simple squad average age because it reflects actual usage of the players rather than simple presence in the squad list. Here’s how a given team’s weighted season-average age is calculated: First, you calculate the season-average age for all players in the squad. Season-average age is the average of a … [Read more...]

Teams that thrashed incumbent Soviet/Russian champions

After Zenit St. Petersburg soundly beat Spartak Moscow 5-1 last weekend, I did some research to look for other teams who managed to beat the reigning Soviet or Russian champions with three goals or more. Turns out, it was Zenit's third such win after 1958 (Dinamo Moscow) and 1971 (CSKA Moscow) and the 36th "champion-thrashing" overall. Spartak Moscow are now clean first on the overall list, having suffered through eight crushing defeats; they overtook Dinamo Moscow, who have seven such defeats, … [Read more...]

Problems with the Trans-Siberian Football League

The Russian Football National League (FNL) has been in place since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, unchanged from 1994 and remains one of the toughest logistical and fiscal challenges in world football. The Soviet Top Division and First Division were combined into the Russian Top Division in 1992, with the new Second Tier regionalised into a Centre, East and West. However, this model was scrapped in 1994 in favour of a 20-team single-region division we see today. The Russian Top Division … [Read more...]

RFPL Week 3: Betting Advice & Previews

The Otkrytiye Arena during Spartak's home defeat to AEK Larnaca, feel's like an age ago now. Photo: Anton Akulov/RFN Match of the Round: Monday 17:30 BST Spartak Moscow - FC Krasnodar By James Nickels (@JamesNickels) Spartak has begun their first Premier League title defence in unspectacular fashion, following consecutive draws with Dinamo Moscow and FC Ufa in the opening two weeks of the season. By complete contrast, Krasnodar has a 100% record from their two opening games thanks to … [Read more...]

Viktor Fayzulin’s Trip Through Injury Hell

80 minutes into the game against Amkar Perm on September 20, 2015, Viktor Fayzulin had to leave the pitch with an injury. The now 31-year-old midfielder was clearly in pain and was replaced by Artur Yusupov. The injury was a hard blow for Fayzulin, who had only just recovered from a long-term injury, but assistant coach Sergey Semak was optimistic after the game, stating that Fayzulin “was fine”. Shortly after, Leonid Slutsky even called him up for a game with the national team, proving that … [Read more...]

Season Preview: Akhmat Grozny

FC Akhmat Grozny has witnessed a considerable amount of changes this summer.  Not just notably a managerial change, as Rashid Rakhimov has left the club and been replaced by former FC Krasnodar coach Oleg Kononov, but also their official club name. Terek Grozny, as the club was previously known, was named after the city Grozny and the subsequent River Terek which flowed through her. This summer, however, the club was renamed after the first president of Chechnya, Akhmat Kadyrov, whom the … [Read more...]

Season Preview: Spartak Moscow

Since the elation of last season’s championship win, Massimo Carrera has understandably kept a steady ship during the 2017/18 off-season, overseeing merely two incomings and sanctioning only two senior departures, at the time of writing. The club’s first Russian title in sixteen years may have been a long and agonising drought, but was worth the wait for the fans of the Red-Whites, with the victory Spartak’s 10th Russian championship victory, extending the club’s record as the most successful … [Read more...]