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GET TO KNOW OUR EUROPA LEAGUE OPPONENTS

PUBLISHED

15:15 30th August 2013

by Nick Taylor/Paul Chialton

We bring you some more information on the three teams Latics will face in the Europa League group stage.

RUBIN KAZAN

Founded: 1958
Ground: Kazan Arena, capacity 45,105
Distance from DW Stadium: 2,499 miles
Manager: Kurban Berdyev (Turkmenistan)
Captain: Roman Sharonov (Russia)

How they qualified – 

Rubin Kazan finished sixth in the Russian Premier League in 2012/13 which ensured them a place in the second qualifying round of the Europa League.

They progressed into the third qualifying round by beating Serbian side Jagodina 4-2 on aggregate.

They then beat Danish side Randers 4-1 on aggregate to grab themselves a spot in the Europa League play-off where they went on to beat Norwegian’s Molde 5-0 on aggregate to book a place in the group stage.

Brief History - 

Previously named Iskra and Rubin-TAN, Rubin Kazan made it to the Russian Premier League for the first time in 2003 and finished third in their first season.

They settled into life in Russia’s top flight before bursting to prominence by winning the league title in 2008.

A second consecutive title followed in 2009, along with coming runners-up to CSKA Moscow in the Russian Cup.

Rubin’s best Europa League campaign came last season when they made it to the quarter final stage, only to be knocked out by eventual winners Chelsea 5-4 on aggregate.

Following their Russian Premier League wins, Rubin had two seasons in the Champions League, with their highlight being a 2-1 victory against Barcelona at the Nou Camp during the 2009/10 group stage.

In both 2009/10 and 2010/11 they finished third in the Champions League group stage, ensuring a place in the Europa League knockout phase.

Location -

Kazan is estimated to be the eighth biggest city in Russia and is the Capital City of the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia.

Situated on the banks of the River Kazanka, Kazan has a population of over 1.1million and will be a host city in the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Kazan is considered a major scientific centre in Russia and in 2009 was branded as the ‘Third Capital’ of Russia, while also being chosen as ‘Sports Capital of Russia’.

The city itself is twinned with other major European cities such as Antalya and Istanbul (Turkey) and Donetsk (Ukraine).

Did you know? - The record low temperature during December in Kazan is -43.9 degrees C.

NK MARIBOR

Founded: 1960
Ground: Ljudski vrt
Distance from DW Stadium: 1,172 miles
Manager: Ante Cacic (Croatia)
Captain: Marcos Tavares (Brazil)

How they qualified -

After winning the Slovenian Premier League last season, Maribor were knocked out of the Champions League qualifying stage by Plzan

Brief History - 

One of the most successful clubs in Slovenian football history, Maribor have eleven league titles to their name and last season completed the treble, adding the Slovenian Cup and Supercup to their 2013 trophy haul.

A former member of the Yugoslav Football Federation, Maribor became one of the Slovenian league’s founder members following independence in 1990 and are one of three clubs never to have suffered relegation from the top flight.

A golden age for the club followed with continued success in the league and cup competitions, filling their trophy cabinet and confirming their name as one of the biggest in the country.

This season is the fifth time they’ve competed in the Europa League in the last seven years, having never progressed beyond the group phase.

Location -

Maribor, Slovenia.

The second largest city in Slovenia, Maribor is located in the North East of the country on the banks of the River Drava, and in 2012 was named European Capital of Culture. Occupied by Nazi Germany during WWII, the city was devastated during the war and by its end was the most destroyed city in Yugoslavia.

Now a picturesque city, points of interests include Maribor Castle, Cathedral and The Old Vine, a 440-year old grapevine named the oldest in the world, whilst fans can relax with a bowl of mushroom soup (the local delicacy) and visit the city park.

Did you know? - In 2012 Maribor hosted the World Chess Championship with special guest Gary Kasparov present.

S.V. ZULTE WAREGEM

Founded: 1950
Ground: Regenboogstadion (fixtures set to be played at alternative ground)
Distance from DW Stadium: 409 miles
Manager: Francky Dury (Belgium)
Captain: Davy De Fauw (Belgium)

How they qualified: - Knocked out of Champions League qualification by PSV Eindhoven, Zulte overcame APOEL Nicosia to qualify for the group stage.

Brief History - 

Like Latics Zulte Waregem were promoted to the top flight in 2005, and are also on the back of one of their most historic season, finishing second in the Belgian Pro League – their highest ever finish.

Back in 2006, on the back of being crowned Belgian Cup winners, Zulte qualified for the then-named UEFA Cup, and reached the round of 32 where they were defeated by Newcastle United with the help of an Antoine Sibierski goal.

Location - 

A municipality located in the Beligian province of West Flanders, Waregem is situated along the Leie River. One of the main points of interest is the hippodrome where annual horse racing events are held including the Great Flanders Steeple Chase.

Did you know? - Chelsea’s Eden Hazard may well have an interest on this fixture, as his brother Thorgan is currently on loan at the club from Stamford Bridge.

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