Russian Premier League side, Rubin Kazan, face a tough challenge in the face of Ukrainian football powerhouse Dynamo Kiev in the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League.
The qualifiers draw took place at the headquarters of the European football’s governing body in the Swiss city of Nyon on Friday.
The Russian bronze medalists are to travel to Ukraine for the first leg to take place on July 26 or 27, with the sides completing the two-match duel in Kazan on August 2 or 3.
The losing side will go on to the UEFA Europa League play-offs, while the winners will compete for a place in the UEFA Champions League group stage.
The fact that Dynamo is headed by Russian specialist Yury Semin also adds intrigue to the rivalry.
“It’s going to be the clash of two the strongest teams in the third qualifying round,” Semin told Sportbox.ru “Two years ago, Dynamo and Rubin already faced each other in the Champions League group stage, so the opponents know each other’s capabilities very well. I am sure that this match will raise a lot of interest. Our opponents are among the leaders of Russian football during the last couple of years. And today [Kubran] Berdyev’s charges still look very impressive.”
Kazan and Kiev have already played against each other in the Champions League. Back in the 2009/10 season, Rubin lost in Ukraine 3-1 and held off Dynamo to 0-0 draw at home.
Two other Russian Champions League participants – Zenit Saint Petersburg and CSKA Moscow – are to join the action on later stages.
UEFA Champions League third qualifying round draw:
FK Mogren (MNE)/PFC Litex Lovech (BUL) v Skonto FC (LVA)/Wisla Kraków (POL)
Maccabi Haifa FC (ISR)/FK Borac Banja Luka (BIH) v NK Maribor (SVN)/F91 Dudelange (LUX)
HJK Helsinki (FIN)/Bangor City FC (WAL) v NK Dinamo Zagreb (CRO)/Neftçi PFK (AZE)
KS Skënderbeu (ALB)/APOEL FC (CYP) v Slovan Bratislava (SVK)/FC Tobol Kostanay (KAZ)
FC København (DEN) v Shamrock Rovers FC (IRL)/FC Flora Tallinn (EST)
KRC Genk (BEL) v FK Partizan (SRB)/FK Skendija 79 (MKD)
Rosenborg BK (NOR)/Breidablik (ISL) v FC Pyunik (ARM)/FC Viktoria Plzen (CZE)
FC Zestafoni (GEO)/FC Dacia Chisinau (MDA) v SK Sturm Graz (AUT)/Videoton FC (HUN)
Valletta FC (MLT)/FK Ekranas (LTU) v Linfield FC (NIR)/FC BATE Borisov (BLR)
Rangers FC (SCO) v Malmö FF (SWE)/HB Torshavn (FRO)
R. Standard de Liege (BEL) v FC Zurich (SUI)
FC Twente (NED) v FC Vaslui (ROU)
SL Benfica (POR) v Trabzonspor (TUR)
FC Dynamo Kiev (UKR) v FC Rubin Kazan (RUS)
Odense BK (DEN) v Panathinaikos FC (GRE)