We now know our opponents for the group stage of the Europa League – Rubin Kazan from Russia, Bordeaux from France and Swiss side FC Sion. It’s a decent draw – at least in the opinion of the vast majority of our supporters – although it will be important not to underestimate what are three decent clubs.
Below, we take a look into the past and present of each of the teams we’ll be facing, highlight some key players to look out for and give you those all important fixture dates.
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Here’s our in depth profiles of the three teams:
Background: Rubin were founded back in 1958 but did not achieve promotion to the top flight of Russian football until 2003. Since then they have become two-time champions, winning the league in back-to-back seasons in 2008 and 2009, and one-time Russian cup winners – lifting their third trophy in 2012.
How did they qualify: Finished fifth in the Russian Premier League. Dynamo Moscow, who finished fourth, are banned from competing so Kazan took their place.
Best European performance: Rubin’s best performance in the Europa League came back in 2013 when they reached the last eight. They were beaten by eventual winners Chelsea 5-4 on aggregate, winning the home leg 3-2. They’ve reached the Champions League group stage twice but have never progressed further.
Key players: Ramil Sheydayev, a 19-year-old striker, is on loan from Zenit and scored 18 goals last season. Many Liverpool fans might also remember midfielder Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, who used to play for Everton.
Fixtures: Thursday 22 October (Home), Thursday 5 November (Away)
Past meetings: None