Andy Shenk previews the Russian trio vying for progression to the quarterfinal stage of the Europa League…
Russian football’s winter break is finally over. Tonight, three clubs, Zenit, Anzhi and Rubin, continue their Europa League campaign in the round of 16. Tomorrow, the first two Russian league games in 2013 coincide with International Women’s Day: Volga Nizhny Novgorod – Kuban and Krasnodar – Amkar.
Last season, four clubs made it to the knockout phase of European football, but all four, Zenit, Rubin, CSKA and Lokomotiv, failed to advance past the first round and turned their attention to the home stretch of the 15-month 2011/2012 Russian Premier League season, which ran from March 2011 to May 2012 in order to implement the league’s fall-spring switch.
The scheduling change had one primary motive: improved performances from Russian clubs in European competition. Though Spartak and Zenit struggled last autumn in the Champions League group stage, the nation has bounced back nicely in the Europa League. Continue reading