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On 1 August the SOGAZ-Russian Football Championship season 2014-2015 starts. 16 clubs of the Russian Football Premier League will be competing for the main trophy – Champion of Russia Cup, which will have its holder at the end of next May. However, CSKA Moscow seems to have very good chances to retain their champions title.

In the current season in the Premier League 4 teams promoted from FNL will be playing – and all that thanks to the play-off matches for promotion\relegation. We wonder now, how the new arrivals of RFPL will manage to show themselves? Even now we can suppose that the competition will be very tough and it would be great if the starting season will be as interesting and intriguing as the previous one.

Two new stadiums will be used in the season 2014-2015 in RFPL – Otkrytie Arena in Moscow and Kazan Arena in Kazan. It will allow to create more comfortable conditions for the spectators, as well as the quality of the picture for television. We expect many other innovations, the general aim of which is to raise comfort and increase safety and security at the tribunes.

The opening match will take place on Friday, 1 August in Kazan. Rubin will be hosting Spartak Moscow. We all expect picturesque performance and a lot of positive emotions in the new season.


Rubin – Spartak

01.08.2014 20:00, Centralyi

Referee: Vitaly Meshkov (Dmitrov)

Balance of matches in the top division of the Russian Championship: +10=5-9 (24-24)

Last season: 0:0, 2:1

The club from Kazan got a lot of new arrivals during the previous season, and now it intends to return to the European Cups zone. However, the team also has another task – to attract as many spectators to the stadium tribunes as possible. In the match again Spartak suck kind of problems, but the future perspectives are in the hands of the players. If the performance is good and the points are gained, spectators will come to the stadium. Besides, Rubin is expected to move all its matches to Kazan Arena quite soon.

Within pre-season time the squad of the team changed noticeably. M'Vila, Prudnikov, Torbinskiy, Sharonov,Kulik and some other players, which had not been able to persuade  Rinat Bilyaletdinov to field them in the starting squad.  

The new arrivals of the team look more impressive – forwards Kanunnikov, Livaja, Dyadyun. Besides, the team from Kazan supported their goalkeeping positions with Filtsov, midfield line – with Ozdoev and Bibilov. It is still not clear if Eremenko will continue playing for Rubin, he has not arrived to the team yet, though he has his valid contract with Rubin.

Spartak is intending to join the competition for the highest places again. In summer the new Head Coach Murat Yakin was invited to guide the team. Before he was quite successful in coaching Swiss Basel. All the supporters of Spartak need now is to believe that the club Administration had made the right choice. The quality of performance and the ranking will show that.

Spartak still cannot boast a big number of new players. They signed a contract with Shirokov, which will be able to recover by the end of autumn. Waris, Dzyuba, Ananidze and Insaurralde, Källström returned from loan. Unfortunately, Movsisyan will not be able to help his team. Ebert is also injured, and supporters have the right to expect a good game from him.

In the current season Spartak at last will start playing at their own stadium. Otkrytie Arena will open its gates in September. For now more than 15 thousand supporters have already purchased season tickets for the new arena.


Ural - Mordovia

02.08.2014 16:30, Centralnyi

Referee: Kirill Levnikov (St.Petersburg)

Balance of matches in the top division of the Russian Championship: never played

Last season: did not play

After Alexander Tarkhanov came to Ural in the previous season, the club managed to improve its position and to get from the bottom of the tournament table. So now it is possible to expect new success from one of the most experienced Russian coaches. Besides, the team showed quite picturesque and nice playing at the end of the Championship.

The main achievement in the pre-season can be considered the keeping of all the leading players. Besides, the team was reinforced – experienced defenders Berger and Fontanello, a group of promising midfields headed by Lambarschi and Podberezkin, as well as the young forward Nurov.

In the previous season Ural was not able to win a home match for a long time. So this season it will be very important for Alexander Tarkhanov team to start with winning.

Mordovia after returning to the Premier League immediately changed the head coach. Experienced Yury Semin came to the team as the Head Coach, he has a huge experience of matches at the highest level.

Taking into consideration previous experience of playing in the Premier League the club from Saransk was very active in strengthening its team. Cebanu is to support the goalkeeping position, Lomic and Vasin on a loan from CSKA came to the defense line. In the midfield there are four foreign players at a time – Hiasse, Danilo, Donald and Ebecilio. Forward Mukhametshin returned to the team, and he will be in competition with Le Tallec.

So Mordovia will do their best in order to continue playing in Premier League on the results of this season.

Arsenal – Zenit

02.08.2014 19:00, Arsenal

Referee: Alexey Nikolaev (Moscow)

Balance of matches in the top division of the Russian Championship: never played

Last season: did not play

The club from Tula has his first show in the Premier League. This event has been expected for a very long time, so the festival and full house at the team matches are guaranteed. Of course the main task of the club in their debute season will be keeping their place in the top division of the Russian football. And the coaches headed by Dmitry Alenichev will decide how to reach this goal.

In spite of qualifying to Premier League, there are not so many changes in the squad of Arsenal. From new arrivals we can spot defender Osipov, midfields Zotov and Maloyan, as well as forward Votinov. According to the words of the Region Administration, they mainly count on the Russian players. So all we have is to wait and see what such approach will do to the club. Arsenal has a serious challenge in the 1st tour of the Championship, when they will host Zenit.

The club from St.Petersburg is expecting to return the Champions title in the current season. After a group of players headed by Shirokov left, Andre Villas-boas announced that he is forming a new team. However, this circumstance does not takes away the task to win the title. Serious finances are invested into the team and expensive players are purchased.

The National Team of Argentina defender Garay is the only new arrival of Zenit, but the club might announce its new players by the end of the registration period.

PFC CSKA – Torpedo

02.08.2014 21:30, Arena Khimki

Referee: Igor Fedotov (Moscow)

Balance of matches in the top division of the Russian Championship: +13=6-9 (41:38)

Last season: did not play

The wording of the task which CSKA is facing is very simple – to win all the tournaments in which the team participates. Any other tasks cannot exist. CSKA always do not give up till the very last match, and the result of it we all saw in the last season Championship.

The current season was started by CSKA with winning. The team of Leonid Slutskiy won the Super Cup of Russia having beaten Rostov in Krasnodar.

The Army team came to the start of the season without any big-name new players. However transfer window will be closed in about a month, and the team still have some time to strengthen the team. So far, the only new arrival of the team is forward Panchenko.

However, they have more losses -  the following players left on a loan: Gonzalez, Vasin, Karavaev, Ten, Ambartsumyan and Oliseh. Rahimic also finished his career. Vitinho is expected to show himself in the current season. And so far the squad of the Army club is quite stable. However, at the start of the season the team was left without Shchennikov and Cauna. Dzagoev, who was injured during 2014 FIFA World Cup is also under treatment so far.

Torpedo will play in the Premier League for the first time since 2006. The team could not boast the results in the recent years, but it was able to get its way to the elite of the Russian football through promotion\relegation play-offs.

Saturn stadium in Ramenskoye will be a home arena for Torpedo.

As for the changes, during the pre-season time Nikolay Savichev became the Head coach of the team – he is the trainee of this club and one of those players who contributed into the glory of this team in the Soviet period.

The team squad is noticeably innovated. An experienced goalkeeper Zhevnov came, defenders Kokoszka and Rykov, midfield Marcio, forward Davydov, as well as a number of other players. It is evident that the main aim of the team will be keeping their place in the Premier League.


Dynamo - Rostov

03.08.2014 16:30, Arena Khimki

Referee: Mikhail Vilkov (Nizhny Novgorod)

Balance of matches in the top division of the Russian Championship: +19=14-7 (63:34)

Last season: 1:1, 3:2

Dynamo in the last season nearly missed the top three team. Now the team which is coached by Stanislav Cherchesov is evidently aimed at the competition for the medals. They have all the conditions for that – the club has finances, which allows to purchase top-class players, and the squad of Dynamo is quite an impressive one. All that allows to the supporters to count on going forward. Dynamo has not win anything for quite a long period and it is high time to break this unpleasant tradition.

The changes in the squad in comparison to the previous season are quite serious. The following players left the team: defenders Rykov, Lomic, Wilkshire, Fernandez, midfields Kasaev, Saleta, Gatagov, Florescu, as well as forwards Dyadyun and Voronin.

They were replaced by defenders Büttner from Manchester United, Manolev from Kuban, midfield Vainqueur, as well as forward Prudnikov. Quite probable the appearance in the white-and-light-blue team of the National Team of France midfield Valbuena. Dynamo is in negotiations regarding his transfer now and can finish it successfully by the end of the registration period.

As for Rostov, in the previous season the team won the Cup of Russia and now they are playing in the UEFA Europa League. However, the way to European clubs was not easy and the decision about participation of the team was taken in the Court of Arbitrage for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne. As for the tasks of the team for the season, than taking into consideration the debut in European clubs, the place in the middle of the tournament table could hardly upset the Administration of the club and Region.

As for the changes in the squad, they are quite serious. The following players have returned to their clubs: Dzyuba and Ananidze – to Spartak, Logashov – to Lokomotiv. Sinama-Pongolle and Gabulov, which was not able to show his best in Rostov-on-Don, left

As for the new arrivals, we can point out forward Bukharov, midfields Torbinskiy, Rebko and Doumbia. Also a big group of players, which had been on a loan, returned to the team. Now the team of Miodrag Bozovic needs to achieve a good team-work. The squad is quite impressive is we speak about players.

Kuban - Ufa

03.08.2014 19:30, Kuban

Referee: Alexander Egorov (Saransk)

Balance of matches in the top division of the Russian Championship: never played

Last season: did not play

The previous season was not very successful for Kuban. The team finished it outside the European cups zone and got Krasnodar ahead of it. But we should always remember about the fact that the team had their debut in European cups even not too successful. However they have got a very valuable experience. So in the current season Kuban has its full right to compete for the place in the European cups zone. We should not forget that in Championship of 2013-2014 Victor Gancharenko had problems with squad after the serious injury of Balde and Kabore. They both have returned to the team by the start of the new season, however Balde will need some more time.

From the team leaders only Manolev has left the team, even though for a long time they said that also Popov and Belenov will leave the team. But they were managed to be kept. According to the information in media, Lokomotiv is thinking about Kabore and it is possible that something will be changed before 1 September.

After loan in Kazan Kulik returned to his club, Seku Oliseh and Eshchenko are on a loan. Defender Zhunyich and forward Danilo arrived from Ukranian Zarya.

Ufa has its debut in the Premier League. But at the start of the season the team will have its home matches at Dynamo stadium, the capacity of which is not so big. However, in November the team will return to the fully reconstructed Neftyanik, which will be able to host about 15 thousand supporters.

The team squad was innovated during summer. The defensive line was strengthened by Verkhovtsev, Tumasyan, Forbes, midfield line – by Vasiliev, Marcinho, Bezlikhotnov, Laurevic, Akahosi, attacking line -  Handžić. Also a very experienced goalkeeper Veremko moved to Ufa as well.

As for the tasks for the season, the head coach of the team Igor Kolyvanov announced the place not lower than 12th. And in general it is very important for Ufa to gain stability in the Premier League.

Lokomotiv – Krasnodar

03.08.2014 21:30, Lokomotiv

Referee: Sergey Lapochkin (St.Petersburg)

Balance of matches in the top division of the Russian Championship: +5=0-1 (15:8)

Last season: 3:1, 3:1

Krasnodar in the previous season gained the right to play in UEFA Europa League. This is quite an achievement for such a young club. But they have to develop more. The club owner, an ambitious Sergey Galitskiy will hardly set the aim to play not better than in the previous season.

So the team reinforced its squad. A very experienced goalkeeper Dikan came from Spartak, Bystrov, Ahmedov and Adzhindzhal were invited to the midfield line. Izmaylov was loaned before the start of the season.   Burmistrov was called to the attack. All these players have an experience of playing in European cups and have to reinforce the team. There will for sure be new names before the end of the registration period.

Shirokov, which had been loaned from Zenit and group of players which did not have regular playing practice for the main team, left the club.

Lokomotiv in the previous season till the last tour was competing for the gold medals till the last tour. However they got the bronze medals. So in the end of May 2015, the team will be expected to show the higher result.


However, in summer Leonid Kuchuk had a reason to be upset. Quite unexpectedly two leaders announced their decision to change the team – Diarra and Boussoufa. The negotiations on their transfers are under way now. This is a serious loss for sure. But after a serious injury Tarasov should start playing in the middle of the pitch again. Defender Peicinovic, midfields Kasaev and Fernandes as well as forward Niasse came to the team.

So far only Ozdoev has officially left the team, he did not have his place in the starting squad.

Terek - Amkar

04.08.2014 20:00, Sport Complex named after A.Kadyrov

Referee: Alexey Eskov (Moscow)

Balance of matches in the top division of the Russian Championship: +6=5-5 (14:14)

Last season: 1:1, 1:0

In the previous season Terek was fighting to survive, which was quite unexpectedly for many people. As a result the team managed to avoid play-off matches, but now the team administration set the task to compete for the place at least in the middle of the tournament table.

So far Terek does not have any new arrivals. But we should not forget that the registration period will be over on 1 September and before that there should be some changes for sure. However, Rashid Rakhimov has quite a good team at team-work and this is their big advantage.

In summer Amkar announced the name of their new Head Coach. It was a well-known in Russia Slavoljub Muslin. He knows Russian football very well and will not have any problems with adaptation for sure.

As for the new arrivals, there were no big-names. From the losses, it is worth to mention Kanunnikov, who moved to Rubin. But the team from Perm still have time.

As for the task for the whole season, it was announced by the club President Guennady Shilov. As he said, the team should enter the top team teams. That means they should play not worth than in the previous season


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