Just Another Fight to the Death: Rubin – Barça

CL Preview: Rubin Kazan – Barça, Wednesday 12:45pmEST, FSCHD

When I was a senior in college, I had a housemate who spent 2 years living in Russia. He came back liking his pants tight, his ladies waif-like, and his vodka plentiful. And he taught me why it is that Russians are the king of drinkers: their games are infinitely more badass. The one I know translates from some Russian word I don’t know to “I am the tiger,” or some such. You get some friends, a table, and some liquor. Then you line up in a line and take turns taking a shot and crawling under the table. If you complete this arduous task, you go to the back of the line.

I don’t remember how long it was until I could no longer get out from under the table, but when that time came–and it comes for us all–fortunately there were others down there to talk to/pass out on. At least I wasn’t lonely in my idiotic obliteration. The lesson was that you’ll end up in bed with–no, no, that wasn’t that game. Hmm. What was the lesson? Oh yeah: don’t mess with Russians or they’ll stab you while you’re under a table. Or something like that.

There are various versions of the above-mentioned game that I’ve come across (“The Tiger has come” and “Enter the Dragon”) that have gambling involved as well, but I’m sure that in Tatarstan, this game has evolved to include ass-kickings and fire-breathing. From last year’s preview:

Reading the history of Kazan it quickly becomes obvious that the city is prone to being reduced to rubble. Fires and wars were the typical culprits, but Ivan the terrible massacred most of the population and then sent the rest of the Tatars to live a couple of dozen miles away. Basically, this is a resilient city. In the US, we talk about Mrs O’Leary’s cow burning down Chicago an it’s pretty amazing that it survived like it did; the 1909 San Francisco earthquake was devastating, of course, and the Dresden firebombing was awful, but those things only happened once. Kazan’s destruction happened at least five times.

A Russian friend of mine who is a well-traveled, very knowledgeable woman seemed the perfect person to ask about this accident-prone city. They’re like the Martin Short of cities, except without getting the girl at the end. And my friend, who knows a lot, was born and raised in Russia and has, as I mentioned, traveled extensively, said when I asked what cool things I could write about Kazan said: “I have no clue.” Not even educated Russians have heard of it!

Last year when a trip to Russia was announced, I was happy that it was against some lowly team called Rubin Kazan that no one had heard of and would be easily swept aside by our mighty army of midgets. Then we lost to them. At the Camp Nou. Then it got cold. And I still predicted a win in Tatarstan. And we had a goalless draw.

Before our loss at home, though, I described a vicious attack on an innocent man and this time around it’s Busi and Piqué who are hitting a milestone for us: 100 matches. So this time we’ve got our horse-faced midfielder and our class clown wandering the woods and running into things. If Piqué has a party in forest and no one goes, will Bojan still get pantsed?

This post needs more Alsou:

Associated hottie!

There, I think we’re back on track. I just learned that she sings in English. Did you know that this is meaningless when you watch her videos on mute?

Something you may not have realized about Rubin Kazan: they have Obafemi Martins now. Something you might not have realized about Obafemi Martins: he is 25. I would have guessed he was 29. Maybe even 49. But 25? Not that his age or presence made a difference against Copenhagen in their previous match as they lost 1-0 in Denmark. But they’re still 2nd in the Russian Premier League (22 of 30 matches played, down 4 points to Zenit St. Petersburg while CSKA Moscow are 4 points back of that with 2 games in hand).

Dogfight that that may be, they’ll be ready to go against us and will be happy that the temperature is dropping to the mid 50s and the rain has rolled in. It might not rain tomorrow, but it still won’t be as pleasant as a night out in Barcelona, so that could be to their advantage. The state of the pitch might normally matter, but having just played in the wastelands of San Mamés’ mud field, the team is used to it.

As best as I can tell, Rubin Kazan played a 3-5-2 against Copenhagen, who played a flat 4-4-2. This is the same thing that happened this past weekend in the RPL against Alania Vladikavkaz, a match which they won 1-0 thanks to a goal by defender Salvatore Bocchetti. Whether they’ll risk a 3-man back line or not against us is a question I can’t answer, having not seen any Rubin matches this year, but if they do stick with the 3-5-2, it’ll look more like a 5-3-2, which I think suggests they’d opt instead for a 4-4-1-1 like they played against us last year. 2 banks of 4 makes defensive sense and trying to earn a point off of us or all 3 via breaks (or a super golazo) like last year isn’t a bad strategy.

Not having Chori Dominguez might actually be the biggest deal for them as he’s at Valencia instead of being a serious attacking threat coming from deep like last year. And that’s where we’ll have to win this match: in midfield. So that means, for me:

Valdes, Alves, Pique, Puyol, Abidal, Busi, Keita, Xavi, Iniesta, Villa, Pedro.

The full squad list is: Valdés, Pinto, Alves, Piqué, Puyol, Milito, Maxwell, Abidal, Busquets, Mascherano, Keita, Xavi, Iniesta, Thiago, Pedro, Jeffren, Bojan, Villa, Messi.

Maxwell has logged quite a few minutes recently and Adriano is injured, so Abidal should start. Messi, on the other hand, should sit because he’s still recovering. If the match is in doubt and he’s 100%, then maybe he should get 15 minutes, but there’s no reason to risk him in any way from the start, no matter how much he wants to play and show the world what kind of a physical freak he is.

So, what kind of a score are we going to have?

Official prediction: 1-1. Goal by Pedro. It’s about time the kid scored. I just think that we’re going to be a bit below our typical level because of the travel, the injuries, and the pressure. That and Rubin is actually pretty good.

Time: 8:45pm Kazan/local time, 12:45pm New York/EST. Check your local time here.
TV: Here in the US it will be live on FSCHD since it’s the only match on at the time.
Weather: 59F (15C), slight chance of rain, 70% humidity. Should be fine, but could drop in temperature to as low as 54F (~12C).

Would anyone like to run the liveblog tomorrow? I cannot. Please volunteer via email or in the comments if you’re down.

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Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in Germany with his wife and daughter.


  1. Diego S.
    September 28, 2010

    1-1 sounds reasonable. But I think we can score and hold on till the end of the match.

  2. El Tel
    September 28, 2010

    Obafemi Martins is 25? Who’d have thought?

      • Kari
        September 28, 2010

        The better question is how long has he been 25.

        I could have sworn I read a report on Newcastle 2-3 years ago that said he was 25…


      • El Tel
        September 28, 2010

        Nope. I would have thought he was at least 30, really. It seems like he’s been around for 10 years.

  3. Mido
    September 28, 2010

    Hoping to see Villa having a good mathc that could earn him a 4 rating(dont think he will perform though)

  4. Whether starting, or as subs, I fully expect to see both Pedro! and Bojan tomorrow since they will both be important this weekend.

    Any one else think that Pedro!’s first touch has been kinda crappy this season?

    • Ciaran
      September 28, 2010

      Pedro’s been very average this season. His energy levels are as good as ever but the end product is missing

    • Diego S.
      September 28, 2010

      It’s still the start of the season and it’s very different than the last one. Last season Pedro was upfront with Messi and Ibra/Henry which leaves him acres of space to run in and it was his breakout season so not a lot payed attention to him.

    • Stephen
      September 29, 2010

      A lot of Pedro! I feel has been missing, pace, touch, “vision” of space.. or maybe people have taken note of him and mark him better? who knows, but I want the old Pedro! back.

  5. Philo Barca
    September 28, 2010

    Feel like Mascherano should definitely start. It’s a slippery slope to him never getting playing time if he doesn’t get a fair amount of starts this fall.

  6. Auld Super
    September 28, 2010

    I played a similar game with some Polish guys, man they love the vodka. 2-0 to Barca with goals from Pedro and finally Andres.

  7. September 28, 2010


    Lionel Messi will tomorrow get the ok from the medical staff. The decision has already been made by doctor Pruna. [via @jorgetopolopez]

    • Diego S.
      September 28, 2010

      Even If He’s 100% percent fit, I’d like him to rest. It will be a closed game and he won’t have that much fun. Mallorca is only 4 days away with no Villa, so ..

  8. Helge
    September 28, 2010

    Seriously, if we do not win la Liga this season, I’ll be hugely disappointed.
    I didn’t watch many of Real Madrid’s matches so far, but I’ve read reviews and I’ve watched today’s match against Ajax. They ARE dreadful!
    Nothing compared to the football they’ve played last year under Pellegrini. Tbh, I was a bit afraid last year of Madrid, because they played good, offensive football and were quite strong. But this ‘Mou-Team’ is simply pathetic, and do not deserve to win any title! I’ve been talking with many football friends about Madrid, and they are all ashamed by the performance of the EE so far.

    PS: I’m a bit drunk right now, but what I actually want to say is that last year, I respected the performances of the EE in most of their matches and I thought it wouldn’t be such a shame to lose the Liga to them, but this time it’s different. They play such a poor football, they simply do NOT DESERRVE any title!

      • Helge
        September 29, 2010

        Oh yeah, my bad. I guess they would have lost in Amsterdam yesterday, Ajax was a lot stronger with Suarez and Vertonghen back in the team.

  9. Helge
    September 28, 2010

    PPS: Something must be wrong about your time, because the match starts at 6.30 pm CET.

  10. Helge
    September 28, 2010

    The latest weather forecast predicts a 50% probability of rain, but only less then 4mmm / m^2 – So that’s better than it has been at San Mamés, I suppose.
    We should watch out for Carlos Eduardo, theyÄve signed him for ~20m from TSG Hoffenheim, and he is a VERY creative offensive midfielder. Don’t give hom too miuch space or time with the ball, it could be costly.

    Now that I’ve finally read your preview (previous comments were without any reading of it) I hav eto say “thanks a lot” for teaching me a new drinking game 😉
    I’ll try that game with some of my friends next weekend, because we wiil not see eaach other again during the next weeks/months (parting ways due to universities etc.).
    Anyway, in German there is a popular folk song about Russia, and the refrain says “Moscow, Moscow, Vodka’s gotta be drunk pure and chilled, Oh oh oh oh oh!” Cheers!

  11. Jnice
    September 28, 2010

    i would rather we not use Messi for this one, but I guess if we are down or need a goal, he will come on.

    I think Mascherano will play with Xavi in midfield, but I don’t know who the 3rd will be. Up front, I expect to see Pedro, but I don’t know about Bojan.

    As always, I hope we win convincingly and wrap the game up early, so Thiago can make an appearance.

    About Revista: It’s not up yet. The dude, Pakman, who always uploads it, was busy with capping CL matches today, so I expect he will upload Revista sometime tomorrow. Maybe even later tonight.

    • Jnice
      September 28, 2010

      Anddd… right after I post what’s above, Pakaman, posts the links. Yay!

      Revista De La Liga 09-28-10



      *http://www.fileserve.com/file/yeDHm9W/Revista De La Liga – 28-09-10.avi



      Courtesy of Pakman at fbtz.com

      • September 28, 2010

        THANK YOU!!! Now i can play some Fifa 11 and watch Revista and call it a night!!!

        • Jnice
          September 28, 2010

          That’s exactly what I’m doing, haha.

    • Jnice
      September 28, 2010

      I’m really just a Xbox Live player, so I haven’t messed with manager mode at all. Ibra is on Milan, of course.

      • Luke
        September 28, 2010

        I am going to post something more extensive on the game later just about Barça players. Essentially, it is much better than previous iterations. The little things are amazing and the game flows wonderfully. Currently Ibra is listed as on loan for one year to Milan then coming back to Barça (I assume they could not make it a loan/buy thing?

  12. el mejengüero
    September 28, 2010

    Long time listener, first timer caller.

    I need to preface this request for help with some praise for the quality of content and tone hosted by this blog.
    And of course gratitude for the service provided.

    I’m facing my first CL season in a while that I won’t be able to enjoy live or with the magic of TiVo.
    So my issue is that I need to figure a way to download Barça’s CL games without seeing the score. I can’t search for a torrent, or come here for links because it’d ruin the game for me.

    Any suggestions?

    • barca96
      September 28, 2010

      Jnice usually posts the link to the matches. You would have to wait for a few hours after the match has ended for them to upload. So stay tuned.

      • ooga aga
        September 28, 2010


        this is the actual link you use to go to roja directa’s index of downloadable matches. find the game you are interested in, follow the link and you will see several versions of the match that have been uploaded to the site. note that usually, each half of the match is broken up into 2 to 4 links. you can download for free but it is slow and you have to wait 5-10 minutes between downloads, so you can spend 1+ hours just downloading. you can pay a fee and have better downloading speed etc etc

        you will also need software for unzipping and viewing files.

        its worth it though, i watch the bilbao match this wknd this way, it was great, and it was never spoiled for me.

    • jose89
      September 28, 2010


      they usually get links/torrents up within a couple hours of the game. and they don’t have any spoilers 🙂

    • Jnice
      September 28, 2010

      I’ll post different links after the match. Or like jose89 said, if you go to rojadirecta.com and click “download matches” you should be able to find links without spoilers.

  13. Miguel
    September 28, 2010

    i’m getting my hd channels(goltv & fsc/fsc+) & my pool table thursday. wish they were coming tomorrow. is a perfect day too much to ask for? will be losing a huge chunk of living-room futsal space, though. not into drinking games but i will have a table perfect for them now. ;^)

    so, was the official result of my poll on a death match between bojan krkic & sara carbonero in favor of the touch-line hotty?

  14. September 28, 2010

    same idea on the lineup as Isaiah!
    Valdes, Alves, Pique, Puyol, Abidal, Busi, Keita, Xavi, Iniesta, Villa, Pedro

    We will go out to kick their asses just to make them know what we do when we let you get 3 points from us last year.

    It’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s of course. Poor keeper had to stand their because if he rushed out, he would have killed by that giant monster flying into his face. Something Pep should see again and think…

    • no… sadly Pirlo, Seedorf and Ronaldinho have confidence in Ibra, so make him the center of service.

      This “system” that ppl claim that Ibra doesn’t fit into is the “give the ball to messi… always… all the time” system. If Ibra, Villa, Bojan don’t fit into it, maybe it’s not a great idea.

      • Jim
        September 29, 2010

        That was hardly the case last weekend was it? It has also done pretty well for us for a system that’s not a great idea.

        No, I’ll say it again. Maybe it’s that Ibra is a good (not great) player who didn’t fit our system which is based on short passing and quick movement. Can we move on now, please ?

    • Diego S.
      September 29, 2010

      Milan’s game plan is “Give the Ball to Ibra” like Inter a few years ago .. We couldn’t do that ! and Ibra’s problems with us weren’t just sporting issues.

      • blitzen
        September 29, 2010

        According to an article from SkySport, Clarence Seedorf is also complaining about relying too much on Ibra and the style of sending long balls to him in the hopes he can score from them.

  15. ooga aga
    September 28, 2010

    zlatan’s good, but he doesnt fit in our offense very well, for me. i think pep sees that too.

    • Stephen
      September 29, 2010

      If Pep didn’t think he fit our offense, there was no way Laporta would’ve payed all that cash for him. Pep didn’t like Ibra’s attitute, but he’s world class, Pep knows it, the world knows it, but its Pep’s way or the highway.

    September 29, 2010

    guys we have after 4th game in C.L have 12 points so we will can rest the players for the last 2 matches.with a win today we do the job.i have the feeling for a 2-0 win.oh and please pep look at coentrao of benfica.he is great as L.B and L.W.

    September 29, 2010

    watcing the game yesterday i made some thoughts:i am glad robinio never came to us,ajax is a europa league club,milan will be 2nd in the group and they will meet us in 16 and we wil destroy them.ibra is good for teams like milan..and douglas costa..great but their crazy president will ask gold!

    September 29, 2010

    and remember that name:gerard delofeu..our juvenil A rocks this season,i see that boy playing is barca b soon!we have a great great future!and i am so happy with leo comeback so soon!

    • Josep
      September 29, 2010

      A lot of people here know about Gerard already. He’s been lighting up for the last year.

  19. y2k156
    September 29, 2010

    I think we will win tonight. It should be a good one though.

    I hope Valencia defeat Man U as well. Because of timing, its possible to watch two back to back matches today. Yay!

    • September 29, 2010

      I always hope Valencia win, beside when they play Barcelona. I have lot of love for that club.

  20. Stephen
    September 29, 2010

    I predict a win today. Pedro and Villa goals, 2-0 I’m pretty confident Pep’s studied them quite extensively after last season’s games. Although if they score first, their line up would end up being 8-1-1, so let’s hope that doesn’t happen.

  21. blitzen
    September 29, 2010

    Is it wrong that I had to check the date of the November Clasico before I booked my annual flight home to see my parents? Because while I am entirely willing to spend my limited vacation funds flying into the frozen wastelands of Alberta, where I shall spend 2 weeks sitting on the couch with my mother watching endless reruns of The Dog Whisperer (rather than, say, sitting in a cafe in Marrakesh listening to the mosques sound off the call to prayer one by one), I WILL NOT miss the Clasico while doing so.

    As it stands, I will miss games against Osasuna, Rubin Kazan, and possibly Real Sociedad. I can live with that. I might even be able to find an internet feed for the Kazan game.

  22. theMaginator
    September 29, 2010

    I don’t know if anyone has volunteered to run the live blog but I may be able to if no one else volunteers.

  23. ooga aga
    September 29, 2010


    • theMaginator
      September 29, 2010

      Coverage starts at 12:30pm Fake time 9:30am Real time.

      Live Blog will start at 9:15am Real Time.

      • theMaginator
        September 29, 2010

        Yes, I stole that from Jason.

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