Copenhagen vs Lokomotiv Moscow – Thursday 18:00 BT/19:00 CET at Telia Parken – Copenhagen, Denmark.
After a one season hiatus Lokomotiv Moscow are back in the group stage of the Europa League. Owned by the Russian Railways (RZhD) Lokomotiv qualified for this competition after beating Ural Yekaterinburg in the final of the Russian Cup last season.
Coached by club legend Yuri Semin Lokomotiv have since continued a rebuild that has been more than promising. Currently second in the Russian Football Premier League, just one point behind leaders Zenit, Lokomotiv may just have enough to challenge for a top three spot in the league. A remarkable achievement given that the times of big spending by RZhD are over. Instead German sporting director Erik Stoffelshaus and Semin have to put together a side that includes the likes of former Schalke star Jefferson Farfán and Euro 2016 winner Éder.
Those stars complement young stars such as Aleksey Miranchuk, who is one of the most promising young prospects in Russian football at the moment. Using a 3-5-2 formation head coach Semin has gone with the recent trend in Russian football play with just three defenders at the back. Sitting deep Russian teams love to break forward hitting the opposition on the counter.
Copenhagen in the meantime are still somewhat reeling from their UEFA Champions League playoff exit against the Azeri side Qarabag. Eight games into the ALKA Superligaen FC København are just sixth in the competition with just six points. With Copenhagen looking to regain their form it will be the Russians, who will be the favourites in this tie.
Copenhagen vs Lokomotiv Moscow – Players to look out for:
William Kvist #6 – Copenhagen
Captain William Kvist is the backbone of the Danish club. The former Stuttgart and Wigan midfielder is both fighter and a player, who can dictate the tempo for the Danish side. Now aged 32-years Kvist is in the twilight of his career, but with his experience of playing in England and Germany is the extended arm of head coach Stale Solbakken on the field.
Éder #24 – Lokomotiv Moscow
The goal scorer of Portugal’s game winning goal at the 2016 European Championships final in France Éder has been somewhat unable to replicate his Euro glory to success at the club level. A big and strong striker Éder joined Lokomotiv this summer and seems to be an ideal partner for the more mobile Aleksey Miranchuk, who is often used as a false-nine by Loko head coach Yuri Semin.
Copenhagen vs Lokomotiv Moscow – Match Stats
- In Solbakken’s first spell in charge, København beat Rinat Bilyaletdinov’s Lokomotiv 1-0 in a 2007-08 UEFA Cup group stage game in Moscow.
- Copenhagen’s William Kvist and Mikael Antonsson are the only players at either club who featured in that fixture.
- Copenhagen have lost just one of their five games against Russian teams (W3 D1 L1 – W1 D1 in Copenhagen).
- Lokomotiv have won five of their six matches against Danish sides – the exception being that reverse to Copenhagen.
Futbolgrad’s Prediction: Copenhagen vs Lokomotiv Moscow 1-1
Copenhagen vs Lokomotiv Moscow – Possible Lineups
Olsen – Boilesen, Vavro, Lüftner, Ankersen – Kvist, Zeka – Verbic, Falk Jensen – Sotiriou, Pavlović
Manager: Stale Solbakken
Guilherme – Mykhalyk, Kvirkvelia, Pejcinović – Ignatyev, Anton Miranchuk, Denisov, Fernandes, Farfán – Éder, Aleksey Miranchuk
Manager: Yuri Semin
Manuel Veth is a freelance journalist and social media junior editor at Bundesliga.com. He is also a holder of a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which will be available in print soon. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.