Krasnodar and Sevilla are top of the pile in Group J of the Europa League, but both could be out of the competition with a loss.
With Standard Liege in prime position to pick up points against group whipping boys Akhisarspor, Sevilla more than likely need a win when they host Krasnodar on Thursday.
They will hope for no late drama like what they endured at Valencia this weekend, when Mouctar Diakhaby equalised in the 90th minute.
Krasnodar as group leaders are in a stronger position but might still be knocked out the competition in Thursday.
They also crept closer to the summit of the Russian Premier League, now just one point off Zenit St Petersburg, despite a 1-1 draw at home to UFA.
The only way Krasnodar may get knocked out is if they concede more than four goals to Sevilla. With that result unlikely, and Sevilla only needing a victory, a 2-0 win is mutually beneficial for both sides.
Sevilla are a force at home in the European football. They have won all five European home games this season, scoring 19 goals and conceding just one. And while Krasnodar do lead the league, Sevilla have scored nearly twice as many goals in the group stage, with the Russians scoring eight goals in five games.
Everything good for Sevilla this season has come through Pablo Sarabia. The 26-year-old has been involved in 11 goals in La Liga this season (five goals & six assists). But his red card against Standard Liege puts the emphasis on Banega to facilitate. He has already shown he can score, notching three goals in the group stages, and will be first choice for any penalties – take note when considering scorer odds on betting sites.
Head to Head
Sevilla’s trip to Krasnodar earlier in the competition was the first ever meeting between these two sides. The Russian side earned a late 2-1 win courtesy of an 88th minute overhead kick from Tornike Okriashvili.
Sevilla’s overall record against Russian sides is mixed. Across games against Zenit St Petersburg, Spartak Moscow, CSKA Moscow, and Torpedo Moscow, they have won just six games out of 15. However, their record at home is good, winning five of six.
Nine different players have scored a goal for Sevilla in the Europa League this season (excluding own goals), more than any other side.
FK Krasnodar have won possession of the ball in the attacking third of the pitch on 33 occasions this season in the Europa League – the joint-most in the competition alongside RB Leipzig.
Sevilla have scored four goals from outside the box in the Europa League this season, more than any other team.
Sevilla have won 16 matches in a row at home to non-Spanish opposition in the UEFA Europa League, qualifying included.