Krasnodar vs Salzburg – Europa League Preview

Krasnodar vs Salzburg – Europa League Preview

Krasnodar vs Salzburg will take place Thursday 18:00 GMT/19:00 CET at Stadion Krasnodar. The equation is quite simple for Krasnodar; beat Salzburg on Thursday, and barring a horrendous defeat to Nice on matchday six they will qualify. Sitting comfortably in second place three points ahead of Ligue 1 leaders Nice and this week’s opponents–but an unassailable six points behind Schalke–mean there is little pressure or temptation to force Igor Shalimov’s men out of their comfort zone.

Even a draw would be enough if Schalke beat Nice as expected, but if the Frenchmen somehow win in Germany and Krasnodar lose to Salzburg (a double with odds of 15/1 with most bookmakers), they’d still be able to qualify by avoiding defeat against Nice in December (assuming Schalke beat Salzburg next week)–and therein lies the potential banana skin.

Last season saw some brave results which nobody expected of them, none more so than the defeat of Borussia Dortmund, but this season’s group stage has proven to be decidedly less dramatic. Mathematically it is far from a win-or-bust fixture for The Bulls; if anything it is the most manageable fixture of this stage of the competition for them, but a slack performance with a overly-confident display against a side in theory fighting for their European lives could leave them facing a tense away fixture against French football’s surprise package, not to mention a rejuvenated and fired up Mario Balotelli.

Krasnodar have Fedor Smolov back from injury, and in typical fashion the Russian frontman simply picked up where he had left off in September by coming off the bench to smash home a powerful finish in a routine 3-0 win over his former employers Ural. His presence is a timely boost for the Russians who have been going through a sluggish patch of form domestically, but he is unlikely to play the full 90 minutes given the length of the injury from which he has only recently recovered.

For Salzburg this fixture is clearly a must-win game if they wish to have even a possibility of going through. Thanks to the head-to-head tie-breaker in European group stages, a draw combined with Krasnodar’s 1-0 win in Austria would send them out even if they performed the miracle of beating Schalke in the last game, so they will look to former Barcelona and Espanyol striker Jonathan Soriano and Kosovan midfielder Valon Berisha for inspiration.

Player to look out for:

Georgian playmaker Tornike Okriashvili, who scored his country’s equaliser against Wales in Cardiff last month, has struggled to gain regular playing time domestically, but is likely to be given a chance to shine as Shalimov undoubtedly looks to rest one or two players before three league fixtures in eight days. Ricardo Laborde is an electric forward with something of a point to prove, and likewise will be hungry to use the stage to stake his claim for a regular place in the starting XI.

Krasnodar vs Salzburg – Match Stats

  • Krasnodar have scored three goals in each of their last three home games in all competitions
  • They’ve also only kept two clean sheets in their last nine home Europa League games
  • Salzburg have won nine of their last 13 Europa league away games
  • This will be Salzburg’s 149th European fixture, and the 98th since the takeover by Red Bull – since being formed eight years ago, this will be Krasnodar’s 33rd.

Futbolgrad’s Prediction: Krasnodar vs Salzburg 2-0

Possible Lineups


Formation: 4-3-3

Kritsyuk – Izmailov, Granqvist, Naldo, Torbinksy – Eboue, Akhmedov, Okriashvili – Laborde, Ari, Joaozinho

Manager: Igor Shalimov


Formation: 4-4-2

Walke – Wisdom, Miranda, Upamecano, Ulmer – Samassekou, Berisha, Laimer, Lazaro – Gulbrandsen, Dabbur

Manager: Óscar García

By Andrew Flint –