Before the Champions League tie between Rubin Kazan and FC Barcelona, now only a few hours away, both the club’s official site and UEFA have presented some interesting trivia and statistics pertaining to the match.
•Rubin and Barça are in the same group for the second year in a row. Last year in Kazan they drew 0-0.
• Last year’s draw in Novemeber was Rubin’s first home match against a Spanish club. Barcelona, on the other hand, have never lost in Russia, recording one victory and four draws.
• Barça’s previous game in Russia was a UEFA Champions League first group stage meeting with FC Lokomotiv Moskva on 1 October 2002. Xavi Hernández, Carles Puyol and Víctor Valdés all featured for Barcelona, who won 3-1 through goals from Patrick Kluivert and Javier Saviola (2).
• Guardiola was in the Barcelona side defeated by PFC CSKA Moskva in the UEFA Champions League second round in 1992-93. Barça’s 3-2 home loss ended their trophy defence, the 4-3 aggregate reverse denying them a place in the group stage. In the following season’s group stage, the Catalan club faced FC Spartak Moskva and Guardiola helped his team to a 5-1 home victory.
•As many as nine of the team that started a year ago might be playing again tonight. Only Touré and Ibrahimovic have moved on.
• The teams for the Kazan game on 4 November 2009 were:
Rubin: Ryzhikov, Ansaldi, Navas, Semak, Salukvadze, Domínguez, Ryazantsev, Noboa, Kaleshin, Karadeniz (Bukharov 62), Sharonov.
Barcelona: Valdés, Alves, Piqué, Puyol, Abidal, Touré, Keita (Henry 83), Xavi, Iniesta, Ibrahimović, Messi.
• Last November’s game in Kazan was the 200th for Barça in Europe’s premier club competition.
• The Spanish champions have made a strong start in this year’s competition, coming from behind to beat Panathinaikos FC 5-1 at home on Matchday 1, when Rubin went down 1-0 at FC København.
• If Sergio Busquets features in today’s match, it will be his 100th first team appearance for FCB.
• FC Barcelona are just one goal shy of their 400th in the European Cup.
• Kazan made eight summer signings, including Carlos Eduardo (Hoffenheim), Martins (Wolfsburg) and Bocchetti (Genoa).
• Rubin Kazan are currently four points behind Russian League leaders Zenit.
• Apart from last year’s game, which was also played at 18:30 CET, the last time Barça played an early fixture like this was in 2003 at FKM Púchov (1-1) in the UEFA Cup. It kicked off at 19:00 CET.
Recent UEFA Competition History
• Rubin did not compete in Europe before 2004. Outside of qualifying rounds and UEFA Intertoto Cup ties, this is only their seventh home game in UEFA competition and they have only once finished the winning side. Last season all three home games in the UEFA Champions League ended in draws. Switching to the UEFA Europa League they beat Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC 3-0 at home, going through by the same aggregate score. In the round of 16 they drew 1-1 with VfL Wolfsburg at home and went down 3-2 on aggregate.
• Josep Guardiola’s side lost their last away game in the Champions League, 3-1 in the semi-final first leg against FC Internazionale Milano last season. Before that they had been unbeaten for 11 games on the road. The Spanish side have won their group in each of the last three seasons and qualified for the knockout rounds eight times in the last nine campaigns, the only exception being 2003-04 when they were not involved in the competition.
• David Villa scored a hat-trick for Spain against Russia in the opening group game of UEFA EURO 2008. Andrés Iniesta, Xavi and Puyol also played in that fixture and in the subsequent meeting in the semi-final in Vienna which Spain won 3-0 with Xavi scoring the first goal.
• South African international MacBeth Sibaya twice finished on the losing side against Spain at last year’s FIFA Confederations Cup. He lined up against Sergio Busquets, Gerard Piqué and Puyol as South Africa lost to the Spanish 2-0 in the group stage and 3-2 in the play-off for third place.
• Kazan’s César Navas began his career in Real Madrid’s B team. He later played for Málaga CF, Catalunya’s Club Gimnàstic de Tarragona and Real Racing Club prior to joining Rubin last year.
• Cristian Ansaldi made his Argentina debut in a friendly international against Spain in Madrid in November 2009 which ended 2-1 to the home side. Appearing for Spain were Piqué, Puyol, Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets and Villa.