FC Rostov vs Atlético Madrid will be the first competitive match between the two sides. Furthermore, Rostov are still seeking their first Champions League victory after succumbing 5-0 to FC Bayern München and battling for 2-2 against PSV Eindhoven.
Atlético Madrid meanwhile will be looking to maintain their winning ways after beating both PSV Eindhoven and FC Bayern München 1-0.
Yet they are travelling to Russia to face a team that, despite being an absolute newcomer to this competition, has not lost a home game in the Champions League. In the third round of the Champions League qualifiers Rostov drew RSC Anderlect 2-2, and then beat Ajax Amsterdam 4-1, before drawing Eindhoven 2-2 at home at the Olimp-2.
The 2-2 draw against Eindhoven showed that Rostov could compete for the third place in the Group D with Eindhoven. Yet the match against Bayern München demonstrated that Rostov are still somewhat removed from the best teams in Europe (read Rostov’s Champions League preview right here).
In Russia, Rostov demonstrated this season that last season was not a fluke, as the club is once again part of the top group in the Russian Football Premier League. On matchday nine FC Rostov defeated CSKA Moscow 2-0, and showed that they should not be underestimated this season when it comes to challenge for the title in Russia.
Whether they can copy this performance against Atlético remains to be seen. Atlético have never lost a competitive match in Russia, however, and Diego Simeone’s side are considered one of the most serious challengers for the title of the UEFA Champions League.
The La Liga top club will indeed provide a much more difficult challenge than CSKA Moscow. Yet the fact that the match will take place in Russia, which can already be bitterly cold this time of the year will provide Atlético with an interesting challenge.
An example of how difficult a visit to the post-Soviet space can be is Atlético’s visit to Kazakhstan last season, where Madrid was unable to achieve more than a 0-0 draw against FC Astana.
Furthermore, Rostov have plenty of knowhow when it comes to snatching surprising results against big Spanish clubs. Rostov are officially coached by Ivan Daniliant, but in reality Kurban Berdyev, who is officially listed as the vice-president/assistant coach is very much in charge when it comes to coaching decisions.
On October 20 2009 Rubin Kazan, managed by Berdyev, beat FC Barcelona 2-1 at the Camp Nou. Among the Rubin Kazan players was Cristian Noboa, who currently plays an important role in Rostov’s midfield.
It would indeed be a minor miracle if Rostov achieves a positive result against Atlético on Wednesday October 19 at the Olimp-2. But in the last two years it was a major mistake to bet against Rostov, as the club has beaten the odds to finish second in Russia last season, and reach the group stage of the Champions League this season.
Dzhanaev – Mevlja, Granat, Navas – Ezatolahi, Erokhin, Noboa, Gatcan, Kalachev – Poloz, Azmoun
Manager: Ivan Daniliants
Oblak – Filipe Luis, Hernández, Savić, Juanfran – Koke, Gabi, Thomas – Correa, Gameiro, Griezmann
Manager: Diego Simeone
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