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Lokomotiv Moscow vs Zlin – Thursday, September 28, 20:05 BT/21:05 CET Lokomotiv Stadium, Moscow.

Lokomotiv Moscow vs Zlin will take place at the Lokomotiv Stadium. (Photo by Alexander Fedorov/EuroFootball/Getty Images)

Lokomotiv Moscow vs Zlin will take place at the Lokomotiv Stadium. (Photo by Alexander Fedorov/EuroFootball/Getty Images)

Lokomotiv Moscow against FC Fastav Zlin will be the first ever encounter between Lokomotiv and a Czech based club. That is a remarkable statistic given Lokomotiv’s consistent qualification for European competitions in the last 20-years. At the same time, the statistic also highlights that in the context of the Moscow based clubs Lokomotiv are one of the least storied clubs in the capital.

Founded and run by the railroad Lokomotiv were the weak link in the chain of the Moscow clubs during the time of the Soviet Union. Underfunded the club spent more time in the second division rather than the Soviet Vysshaya Liga. Hence, the club does not have the same European tradition than for example Spartak, who have been part of the European circus since the creation of international club tournaments by UEFA in the 1960s.

FC Fastav Zlin in the meantime embark on their first ever European group stage campaign. Founded in 1919 FC Fastav Zlin, as the club is known thanks to a sponsorship agreement, are located in Moravia not far from the Slovakian border. Named Gottwaldov during the time of communism Zlin is a modern city built up during the 1930s and reconstructed in the post-war years around the local industry.

The football club did not become fully established in top division football until after the disintegration of Czechoslovakia in 1992. Since 1993 Zlin has been a steady member of the Czech top flight. Last season was the first time. However, they qualified for the Europa League by winning the Czech Cup; the club’s first silverware since winning the Czechoslovak Cup in 1970.

The game on Thursday will, therefore, see the Russian Cup winner host the Czech Cup winner. Given Lokomotiv’s pedigree in recent years and the club’s current league form—Loko are second in the Russian Football Premier League—the Railwaymen will be the favourites to win the match.

Lokomotiv Moscow vs Zlin – Players to look out for:

Jefferson Farfán #8 – Lokomotiv Moscow

Jefferson Farfán is enjoying a golden fall to his career in Moscow’s capital. Signed as a free-agent during the 2017 January transfer window Farfán was the first signing of new Lokomotiv sporting director Erik Stoffelshaus. Stoffelshaus has previously worked at Schalke, and he remembered the Peruvian forward, who enjoyed a fantastic time with die Knappen in the German Bundesliga. A short spell in the United Arab Emirates with Al-Jazira, however, ended with disappointment and the 32-year-old struggled to find a club in Europe. Lokomotiv took a chance and Farfán has added his experience helping the side win the Russian Cup last spring.

Jefferson Farfán will be the key player for Lokomotiv Moscow on Thursday. (Photo by Epsilon/Getty Images)

Jefferson Farfán will be the key player for Lokomotiv Moscow on Thursday. (Photo by Epsilon/Getty Images)

Dame Diop #7 – FC Fastav Zlin

Dame Diop will be the Futbolgrad Network player to watch for this match. The 24-year-old Senegalese striker was signed from Slavia Praha in 2014. Still just 21-years old at the time Diop Zlin was already his fifth club since turning professional with Touré Kunda in his native Senegal back in 2008. From there he joined the Russian club FC Khimki, who quickly loaned him out to the Armenian club Shirak Gyumri before he left the post-Soviet space to join Slavia Praha in 2014. On Thursday he will return to Moscow for the first time.

Dame Diop will be Zlin's key player. (RADEK MICA/AFP/Getty Images)

Dame Diop will be Zlin’s key player. (RADEK MICA/AFP/Getty Images)

Lokomotiv Moscow vs Zlin – Match Stats

  • The sides are meeting for the first time; Lokomotiv have never played another Czech team, and this is Zlín’s maiden encounter with Russian opponents.
  • The 28 games between Russian and Czech clubs in UEFA competition history have produced 12 Russian wins to seven Czech ones.
  • Sparta Praha’s 3-0 success at Krasnodar in the 2015-16 UEFA Europa League round of 32 is the only Czech victory in 14 UEFA games in Russia: W1 D6 L7.

Futbolgrad’s Prediction: Lokomotiv Moscow vs Zlin 2-0

Lokomotiv Moscow vs Zlin – Possible Lineups

Lokomotiv Moscow

Formation: 3-4-2-1

Guilherme – Mykhalyk, Kvirkvelia, Pejcinović – Lysov, Tarasov, Denisov, Ignatev – Fernandes, Miranchuk – Farfán

Manager: Yuri Semin

FC Fastav Zlin

Formation: 4-4-2

Dostal – Holzer, Baco, Gajic, Matejov – Ekpai, Traoré, Jirácek, Vukadinović – Zeleznik, Diop

Manager: Bohumil Panik

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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.

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