Chelsea still have work to do if they are to secure progress into the semi finals of the Europa League.
The current holders of the Champions League are 3-1 up from the first leg at Stamford Bridge, given to the courtesy of two goals from Fernando Torres and one from international compatriot Juan Mata. However, interim boss Rafael Benitez will remain wary of the away goal Rubin Kazan managed a week ago.
However, the Blues will at least be thankful that they need not travel to Kazan, where no less than Barcelona have failed to win on their last two visits, but rather will face the neutral challenge of Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium, the venue of course for Chelsea’s defeat in the 2008 Champions League final to Manchester United on penalties.
Indeed, Rubin’s boss Kurban Berdyev believes the switch in stadium due to the freezing conditions in Kazan have damaged the club’s chance of hauling back the deficit.
“If we had played in Kazan, we’d have a full stadium with fans to support us and of course we’d have more chance to beat Chelsea,” he said.
“We have the chance to fight on Thursday. They won in London because we made two mistakes which cost us two goals.”
The Blues face an injury crisis at left-back with both Ashley Cole and his replacement Ryan Bertrand injured, leaving 18-year-old Nathan Ake to make only his second senior start for the club. Gary Cahill misses out again after undergoing knee surgery meaning that John Terry returns to the starting line-up, while Torres will start up front again with Demba Ba cup-tied.
For the Russians, Yann M’Vila again misses out through injury but they do have Jose Rondon available again to take his place up front.
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Rubin