Krasnodar vs Nice Europa League Preview

Krasnodar vs Nice Europa League Preview

Krasnodar vs Nice will be the maiden encounter between the two clubs. In fact, Krasnodar have only faced French opposition once before when they were drawn against LOSC Lille in the Europa League group stage of the 2014-15 season—both matches ended in 1-1 draws (read Krasnodar’s Europa League preview here).

Nice has undergone somewhat of a radical alteration before this season, as the club hired revolutionary Swiss coach, Lucien Favre, prior to the start of the season. The Swiss coach has made a name for himself in Germany, as being one of the most tactically astute coaches in world football today.

At the same time, Favre is also known for his trying personality, as the coach has, in the past, made surprising decisions both on, and off the pitch. Last season, he suddenly departed Borussia Mönchengladbach after losing the first five matches of the season.

Withn four years prior to his departure, he had turned Gladbach from a relegation candidate club into a team that regularly competes for a Champions League spot in Germany. The five losses last season were the first crisis the coach had faced at the club, and Favre decided, on a whim, that he was no longer able to reach his players, and resigned despite the fact that the club’s management wanted to him to continue the work.

This summer, Nice was taken over by a Chinese consortium, and the new owners targeted Favre to lead a minor football revolution in southern France. Alongside Favre, the club also signed the Brazilian defender, Dante, from VfL Wolfsburg, Wylan Cyprien, from RC Lens, Arnaut Lusamba, from AS Nancy, Dalbert, from Vitória Guimarães, and finally, Mario Balotelli, from Liverpool FC.

The signing of Balotelli, in particular, made major international headlines. The Italian striker is immensely gifted, but has so far failed to perform consistently at the highest level. But since playing in Nice, Balotelli has scored four goals in two Ligue 1 matches, and early signs suggest that the 26-year-old could finally have a major breakthrough.

Meanwhile, Krasnodar are still coming to grips with the sudden departure of Oleg Kononov, who decided to leave the club on September 13 following a series of poor performances. The move was a surprise, as Kononov had the full backing of Krasnodar’s management.

Kononov has since been succeeded by Igor Shalimov, who led the club to a 2-1 victory over FC Rostov, a 1-0 win over Red Bull Salzburg, and a 1-1 tie against CSKA Moscow this weekend. The early results have been promising and, with confidence high in Krasnodar’s dressing room, the squad believe that they can get a positive result on Thursday against the French club.

Possible Line-ups


Formation: 4-3-3

Kritsyuk – Petrov, Martynovich, Naldo, Kaleshin – Podberezkin, Gazinsky, Eboue – Laborde, Smolov, Ari

Manager: Igor Shalimov

OGC Nice:

Formation: 3-5-2

Cardinale – Dante, Baysse, Sarr – Dalbert, Seri, Koziello, Cyprien, Pereira – Balotelli, Belhanda

Manager: Lucien Favre

By Manuel Veth –