In profile: CSKA Moscow

Sports Mole takes a closer look at Manchester City's Champions League opponents CSKA Moscow.

Having been swept aside by Bayern Munich last time out, Manchester City's trip to CSKA Moscow in the Champions League now has extra significance placed upon it.

The two teams are locked on three points from their opening two encounters, which in turn means that the winner of tomorrow's contest will take a firm grip on second spot behind the German leaders, who host minnows Viktoria Plzen in Munich.

So, what is there to know about City's Russian opponents? Read on...

History

Having been formed as part of the Russian military's CSKA sports club in 1911, it was not until the mid-1940s and after World War II that they became one of the nation's most successful sides. Between 1946 and 1951, they won the Soviet Championship on five occasions.

CSKA Moscow players celebrate scoring a goal against FC Amkar on August 30, 2013© Getty Images

Since the break-up of the Soviet Union, the capital-based outfit have continued to be collect silverware, winning the Russian Premier League four times since 2003. In the same time period, they have also lifted the Russian Cup on five occasions.

The Horses - a nickname given to the club because their first stadium was built on an old racecourse - have also had some success in European competitions. Back in 2005 they claimed the UEFA Cup thanks to a 3-1 victory over Sporting Lisbon in the final in the Portuguese side's own ground.

Notable former players

Fans of the Premier League may well remember Dmitri Kharine, who spent a season with CSKA prior to signing for Chelsea in 1992. Following seven years at Stamford Bridge, the goalkeeper had a spell with Celtic in Scotland.

Staying with the Chelsea connection, midfielder Jiri Jarosik also made the switch from Russia to the English capital in 2005. Interestingly, like Kharine, he also traded London for Celtic.

Former Chelsea midfielder Jiri Jarosik shoots for goal against Newcastle United on May 15, 2005.© Getty Images

Vagner Love is also a name that will ring a bell with many people. The Brazilian showed a clinical streak during his two stints with CSKA and as it stands only two players (Grigory and Vladimir Fedotov) have scored more league goals for the club. Love was also among the scorers during the UEFA Cup success eight years ago.

Players to watch out for

Alan Dzagoev: The diminutive Russian international is struggling with a hamstring injury, but some reports have claimed that he could be fit. Despite being just 23, Dzagoev is viewed as the hub of the CSKA team. The playmaker has a creative side to his game, but also possesses a keen eye for goal.

Seydou Doumbia: One attribute that most defenders dread facing is pace. Step forward Doumbia, who is regarded as one of the quickest strikers in Europe. It has resulted in the CSKA number 88 scoring 68 goals in 88 appearances for the Russian giants, including four in seven outings this season.

Stadium

CSKA had played their more recent Champions League fixtures at the Luzhniki Stadium, but that is currently being rebuilt ahead of the 2018 World Cup. Consequently, City will travel to the Arena Khimki - a ground that CSKA share with rivals Dynamo Moscow. By no means a modern stadia, the facility can hold just 18,000 supporters. What's more, there are also concerns over the state of the pitch, despite the fact that it passed a recent UEFA inspection.

A general view of CSKA Moscow's stadium Arena Khimki on August 06, 2011.© Getty Images

Previous meetings

This will be City's first match against CSKA. In fact, it will be their first competitive encounter against any club from Russia.

CSKA, though, are no stranger to English opponents. Back in 2009 they claimed a 3-3 draw from a trip to City's neighbours Manchester United, while they lost the reverse fixture 1-0 thanks to a late strike from Antonio Valencia.

In previous years, they have also come up against Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Aston Villa. From those seven encounters, they won two of them (against Arsenal and Villa), both of which were achieved in front of their own fans.

Japan national team player Keisuke Honda looks on during training ahead of their international friendly match against Serbia at stadium Karadjordje on October 10, 2013
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