A few facts on tonight's UEFA Cup opponents from Russia.
- Spartak finished eighth in Russian championship this season, which ended last month. They had previously finished second for three straight seasons.
- They are managed by former Danish great Michael Laudrup, who masterminded Getafe's 1-0 win at the Lane in the UEFA Cup group stages last season.
- Spartak were eliminated from the Champions League in the third qualifying round by Dynamo Kiev. They then qualified for the UEFA Cup group phase by knocking out Banik Ostrava in the first round.
- Lost their first group game against Udinese before winning away at Dinamo Zagreb. In their last group game last week they were 1-0 up against NEC Nijmegen with eight minutes remaining before the Dutch side fought back to win 2-1. If Spartak had held on and not lost we would have automatically advanced to the knockout rounds of the UEFA Cup.
- If we lose tonight by a two-goal margin or more and NEC Nijmegen win by at least two goals we will be eliminated and those two teams will qualify alongside Udinese.
- This is our first game against a Russian team.
- Spartak have played 14 games against English opposition, winning nine. They've won four, lost three in England.
- Indeed, Spartak didn't lose their first nine games against English opponents until they were beaten by a Leeds side that included Jonathan Woodgate.
- We signed Roman Pavlyuchenko from Spartak in August. Manchester United's Nemanja Vidic and Emanuel Pogatetz of Middlesbrough have also played for Spartak in the past.