Barcelona Vs Rubin Kazan: Bez Buldırabız!By: Ramzi | October 19th, 2009
If I say that once upon a time a nation fought for independence and for protecting its unique culture. You will say Catalonia.
If I ask you about the Capital of that Nation, you will say Barcelona.
Now if I will say that the mentioned nation had to face an extreme regime, you will say that’s Franco’s.
You may be right, unless if we are talking about Tatarstan, its capital “Kazan” And their determination to be independent of Russia, with all what they had to stand against during the extreme regime of USSR.
My native country
I walked so many roads, I’ve seen the world,
And tender winds stroked my face.
But when I come to you, my native land,
I’m overjoyed deep inside.
When I’m away from you for just a day,
I miss you terribly with all my heart.
Without you, my dear native land,
It seems like there is no life in this world.
When I’m away from you for just a day,
I feel as if I am an orphan.
You are the beauty of this endless world,
The graceful light that shines bright at night
That’s a translation for Tatarestan National anthem. Or at least what my research lead me to.
I am not a historian nor I am in place to judge whats right or wrong. But its easy to see how the cultural bases of the two clubs concur.
Without going further in that endless ramble, lets focus on what will take place at the Camp Nou few hours from now. The game between:
The Catalans and the Tatar.
How will Barcelona play?
Allow me, for a change, to tell you how I wish Barcelona to play, rather than predicting the automatic selection and strategy which will get enough supportive discussions here and there and everywhere. Through my approach, I aim to inject some controversial issues between the lines. Such “issues” I believe will be more decisive for the club this season than this specific game.
I vote for a radical rotation.Which may sound as popular as garlic, and as healthy.
Maxwell on the left doing the usual Alves role but on the opposite flank.
Puyol as a right back: playing the usual Abidal job that we know. Acting as a third center back when Maxwell activate his Alves moves forward, and contribute offense wise as far as his basic defensive role allow.
Pique and Marquez as Center backs. Yet if Rubin barely had any player to bother our own half, and at times when Puyol stay behind, one of the two (Marquez or Pique) has to move up to act as a second holding midfielder leaving two Center backs behind.
Busquets as a holding midfield. Yeap! You read it right. He has been disastrous so far, to say the least. But I still believe in him for what he offered last season. Lets put it this way: No offense to Rubin, but a player who carried his responsibilities successfully against Manchester United, May 27, deserve another chance . And lets admit it now that he cant read this preview: We need him to be back and in form, especially if we did no X-mass shopping.
Then…Yaya: Its time to see what he can do in a more offense oriented role. If we ignore his Valencia performance when he tried too hard to be effective while moving forward, I am a believer in his offense qualities since the first time I saw him playing. Having Yaya in the same selection with Busquets is an insurance card. If Busquets started to show his drunk-y moments we will always have Yaya to move back to his original position, or at least to support there when needed. Finally, Having Yaya and Busquets in the midfield may save the third midfielder energy as he may not need to track back as much. Something we need for the third midfielder I picked for my weird selection.
Iniesta: Xavi need a break. As simple as that. And the team need to adapt playing without Xavi in the midfield, or else it will be a ticking bomb for the whole season. We need to take the brave step and launch the Midfield-Independence-Movement (MIM), a transition out of Xavi dependency.There is no better time than now. Unless if someone believe that its better to do it while missing Yaya and Keita? During the last stretch of the season? Nah…now or never.
How does the selection sound so far? Well I am just warming up.
Pedro on the right 1)to stretch the field, 2) Contribute in gaining back the ball through his quality in pressuring the opponent while Barcelona are in the quest to gain back possession. And of course, 3) to score another crucial goal if he felt like doing so.
Ibra as a “9”. Or you thought I will go as far as using Valdes there? If Ibra is ready, then he is a must.
Bojan on the left but not exactly on the left. Maxwell runs forward will give Bojan the chance to cut inside and act as a second striker around Ibra. That’s the perfect role for bojan if you ask me. If he plays there he will do an assist that Ibra will translate to the net, and he will score a tap in that he will get no credit for.
Having Puyol, Marquez, Pique and Busquets to do the essential defensive work creates a secure backbone to build our game strategy on. Iniesta and yaya running the show generate more possession time where Iniesta quality in holding possession and Yaya quality as an outlet and a ball winner will make Rubin midfield struggle. This due can execute the ball circulation perfectly, can make assists into the box, Yaya runs into the box will shock and shake the Russian defense. How can they defend against two towers like Yaya and Ibra in the box? And Finally, With pedro and Maxwell stretching the field and Bojan roaming around Ibra in and on the edge of the box, we can finish the game in the first half.
If it didn’t click, don’t forget that we have an Argentinian game changer on the bench who can attack the exhausted Russian defense in the second half, and we have a keita for any tactical fixings. Without forgetting Xavi and Alves of course. A quality bench that we can use wisely in the second half and finish the game as being the victorious team without burning all the calories we have.
Now how will Pep actually play? If we start the guessing game, we will never end. Alves +Maxwell and two holding mids? Or the best selection possible to seal the deal in the first half then do the substitutions? All sound good, and Whatever Pep will do he will do it for good reasons, at least from his own point of view. The same as I have my reasons for the selection I suggested.
You are lucky boys, its not me who decide. But I cant avoid asking the question: Will you prefer a 2-0 win using my selection or a 7-0 win starting all the big boys?
How will Rubin Kazan play? Well I have a bad news and a good news for you. The bad news is that my doctor forbids me from following the Russian league as its too cold for my rheumatism. So no rambling here. The good news is that Micheal, a Rubin Kazan fan agreed to give us his thoughts about the game. I sent him “The 101 questions about Kazan” And he kindly gave the following feedback:
“Rubin Kazan is in Russian premier league from 2003, where they finished the league in the third position. In 2004 Rubin Kazan was in UEFA Cup, and finished in the tenth position. After some “normal” seasons, in 2008 Rubin won the Russian tournament, the big day was the 2nd November 2008, against Ramenskoye (1-2).
Rubin is very different from the western Russia. I mean, it’s the pride of Tatars and his mentality, the way to play is different from CSKA, Zenit etc. Rubin is more concrete than beautiful to see. We can say that Kazan’s culture it’s similar to Barcelona’s one when it come to respecting the own state.
Rubin is in a bad mood at the moment, after losing all the advantage from the rivals in the league. The defeat in Kiev has started everything, because Rubin in August was very very strong. Not beautiful to see like I said, but concrete and expert in Russian borders. After the 3-1 against Dynamo, Rubin has drawn in Siberia against Tom 0-0 and Inter at home,and lost with Amkar Perm and Lokomotiv. Only last Saturday they beat Khimki, though not a fantastic team after all.
Rubin plays this way:
Kaleshin – Cesar Navas – Sharonov – Ansaldi
Noboa – Semak – Sibaya
Dominguez – Karadeniz
I don’t know if Bukharov will play tomorrow because he was substitute for an injury against Khimki.
Kurman Berdjev is the head coach of the team from 2001. He’s from Turkmenistan. He usually take in his hands a Musulman Coran when he’s on the bench. He doesn’t speak very much in matches, he’s more silent than excited
I think that the key performers are Semak, captain also of the national team, Ansaldi, a great Argentinian winger followed also by Barcelona, Dominguez, former Zenit player who scored the two goals for Rubin in this CL, and Bukharov.
I think also that is too early to evaluate its performance in the CL. Its even unrealistic to make expectations. Rubin is in an impossible group. We drew against Inter. Barcelona played better against Inter, but like I said before, it’s a difficult group for everyone, so it’s important to think match to match.
will Rubin offense cause troubles against Barcelona? I couldn’t watch Valencia-Barcelona, but reading in the results of the games I watched, its obvious that Barcelona defenders are fantastic. 0-0 against Valencia and Inter, 1-0 with Almeria 1-0 Shaktar 3-0 Bilbao 2-0 Dynamo Kiev etc. So I can’t find any weak point in Barcelona…also with a Rubin at 100% it depends on Barca mood to decide how the game will go.
Barcelona can hurt Rubin with its forwards. I mean…Rubin defenders are not excellent…and Messi can go trough them without any difficulties.
But even if Barcelona succeeded to mark Messi, Barcelona will not depend only on him as they have a lot of other fantastic player.
I hope in a less damaging defeat…1-0?”
That’s all what we have for today folks! If you wonder how would anyone suggest something similar to what you read here, may be the fact that I wrote this one while traveling from the freezing weather of Sweden to the warm weather of Lebanon these days is the one to blame as its dangerous for the brain, even a brilliant one like mine.
So take it easy with this poor thing. Enjoy this one before you start whipping:
* The “Bez Buldırabız!” that I used as a title is The unofficial Tatarstan motto and it means: We can!
To add some more spices while covering the game, enjoy this interview with Marat Gilmutdinov, one of the administrators of F.C. RUBIN KAZAN group on facebook.
- Can you give us a brief historical background about Rubin Kazan?
Until the 90’s Rubin were not a big team on a national scale, in fact their ‘new era’ started off in 1996 with a change in management. Since then Rubin has shown great progress. They moved up to the top league in 2002, and are now one of the leading teams in Russia. The club’s infrastructure and management has also been improved recently.
- Is it a team that s as attached to the Tatar culture as Barcelona to Catalonia? Where do you see the similarities?
Rubin is the only big football club in the Republic, all other football teams play in other divisions. In some ways I think that the team is some sort of a symbol, that makes people proud. But on the other side only one local player is listed in the first Rubin squad – Buharov. Also Kazan has other good teams, which are very popular. Our ice hockey team AK BARS, volleyball ZENIT and are champions too. Basketball team UNICS are in the top three of the Russian League. So I would not say that Rubin is the main team in the Republic.
- How can you evaluate the club performance in the league so far, specially for the past few games?
The last couple of weeks Rubin players were involved in a lot of games, including the national team qualifiers. Players may be a little tired mentally and physically, which is why the coach let most of the first team players rest in Saturday’s league game against Khimki. In general the team’s form is good, apart from an injury of Buharov, which he suffered in the last game. Recent games have shown that some of our young reserve players have good potential, and may be able to show it on Camp Nou on Tuesday.
- How can you describe the club style of play?
I would say that the style of play is flexible enough to adapt to the opponents tactics. But generally our team prefers attacking style of play. In some ways it is similar to Barca’s style with a mixture of short and long passes, fast wingers.
- Who are the key performers for the team?
In my opinion all players are important, but Dominguez and our goalkeeper Ryzhikov are vital.
- Where are the most concerning weaknesses in your opinion?
Lack of experience of playing in big tournaments and facing superclubs.
- How do you evaluate the team performance in the CL so far?
I think we played good enough in both games, but lost concentration in the end against Dynamo. The game against Inter proved that we have enough quality to succeed.
- How do you evaluate Barcelona performance from a Kazan fan point of view?
Barcelona have only started the season and I think now they are only playing to 2/3 of their real potential. They are usually better in the play-offs.
- Where do you feel Barcelona are soft enough for Rubin to expose?
Barcelona has a great choice of defenders, but at the moment the left-back position is weaker than the others.
- Where do you think Barcelona can hurt Rubin most?
At Camp Nou today.
- Do you think Marking Messi is the most important priority for Rubin? How can Rubin stop Barcelona?
All of Barcelona’s players are top quality, and most of them are able to create chances and score. But, obviously marking Messi, if that is possible, is very important. We hope Ansaldi will play his best and use his physical ability to stop Lionel.
- What are your predictions for this game?
Barca 1 – Rubin 2