Standard Liege vs Krasnodar – Thursday, October 25, 20:00 BST/21:00 CEST/22:00 MSK – Stade Maurice Dufrasne, Liege, Belgium
In the 1980s, Michel Preud’homme had his fair share of European experience as a goalkeeper. In total he made 78 appearances in European competition spread across three teams – KV Mechelen, current club Standard Liege, and Benfica – and three decades. With unfancied Mechelen, he won the now defunct Cup Winners’ Cup and was named best goalkeeper at USA ‘94. His relatively young squad need look no further for advice and experience.
In fact, Preud’homme is now in his sixth decade of association with the club, having originally joined as a youth player in 1969. He appeared with them in the final of the Cup Winners Cup under legendary Raymond Goethals is something the club can at best wistfully dream of, yet alone being crowned European champions. Although they have been an ever-present in the Belgian top flight for 98 years, the longest such run, they haven’t won a league title in 10 seasons.
In August and September, they managed to win just two matches from 11 in all competitions that saw them slip deep into the bottom half of the table. They are unbeaten in four since then, including a 2-1 win against Akhisar at home to bring them level with Sevilla in Group J. The next two games against Krasnodar will, therefore, be decisive for Standard’s Europa League campaign.
Krasnodar, in the meantime, had a fantastic start to the season. Following matchday 11 in the Russian Premier Liga the Byki are third in the standings behind leaders Zenit and second-placed CSKA Moscow.
The 34-year-old head coach Murad Musaev has his side play some of the most creative football in the league. Furthermore, his 4-1-4-1 formation has allowed room for several younger players from Krasnodar’s excellent youth academy to get plenty of playing time.
With a goal differential of 18:9 Krasnodar have the second best attack in the Russian Premier Liga. That attack has also been on display in the two Europa League victories against Akhisarspor and FC Sevilla. Unbeaten on top of the group Krasnodar will also be favourites on Thursday night.
Standard Liege vs Krasnodar – Players to Watch
Razvan Marin #18 – Standard Liege
The diminutive Romanian playmaker is the key to making Standard Liege tick. Still only 22, he has made over 150 senior appearances in total in his homeland an in Belgium mostly from the base of midfield. When he ventures forward, however, he has a lethal long shot on him and enough vision to find gaps in opposition defences. Especially against a likely packed defensive unit, Standard will need Marin to be at his creative best to find a way past a tall, physical midfield shield.
Christian Cueva #20 – Krasnodar
The Peruvian attacking midfielder arrived from Sao Paulo in the summer with a burgeoning reputation and 50 international caps under his belt, but has found playing time slightly hard to come by. Just three starts – although minutes in every game – have made it hard to assess how well he is settling in, what can’t be called into question is his electric turn of pace. As the focal point behind a striker, he has the aggressive attacking intent to open up gaps where others can’t. Now would be a perfect opportunity for him to claim a regular starting spot.
Standard Liege vs Krasnodar – Match Stats
- Standard Liege have only faced a Russian side on three two-legged occasions, losing on aggregate twice against Zenit having knocked out CSKA Moscow almost 50 years ago
- They have only made it out of the Europa League group stage once in four previous attempts
- In 13 group-stage home matches in the competition, they have won just three
- Krasnodar have won five of their last six European matches
- They have won exactly one of their three group-stage away matches in each of their Europa League campaigns so far
- Wanderson’s father Wamberto played for Standard just over a decade ago
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Standard Liege vs Krasnodar – 0-2
Standard Liege vs Krasnodar – Possible Lineups
Ochoa – Fai, Luyindama, Laifis, Cavanda – Cimerot, Marin – Mpoku, Djenepo, Carcela-Gonzalez – Edmond
Manager: Michel Preud’homme
Kritsyuk – Stotskiy, Fjoluson, Martynovich, Ramirez – Kabore, Gazinskiy, Cueva – Claesson, Ari, Wanderson
Manager: Murad Musaev
Andrew Flint is an English freelance football writer living in Tyumen, Western Siberia, with his wife and two daughters. He has featured on These Football Times, Russian Football News, Four Four Two and Sovetski Sport, mostly focusing on full-length articles about derbies, youth development and the game in Russia. Due to his love for FC Tyumen, he is particularly interested in lower league Russian football and is looking to establish himself in time for the 2018 World Cup. Follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewMijFlint.