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Railwaymen from Russian capital

Lokomotiv Moscow profiled: Everything you need to know

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FC Bayern’s first away match of the 2020/21 Champions League season takes them to the Russian capital, as the holders travel to Lokomotiv Moscow on Tuesday evening (kick-off 18:55 CET). The only two previous meetings with the ‘Railwaymen’ in European competition came on the way to the 1996 UEFA Cup triumph. fcbayern.com profiles the second group opponents…

Targeting last 16

Vitaly Lisakovich scored the equaliser in the 75th minute on Matchday 1 to secure a point for Lokomotiv against Salzburg.

Loko qualified for the Champions League for the third year in a row and for the fifth time overall having finished second in the Russian Premier League. However, for the most part – including last year – they’ve exited in the group stage. The only time the Russians have reached the last 16 was in 2003/04, when they were beaten on away goals by AS Monaco. They made a reasonable start to the new campaign with a 2-2 draw at FC Salzburg. “We can’t be happy but can’t be unhappy either,” summarised coach Marko Nikolić afterwards.

Setback in the league

After four wins on the spin, the three-time Russian champions suffered a setback on Saturday with a 2-1 defeat at home to Rotor Volgograd, during which they also missed a penalty in the 83rd minute. The Moscow club lie in fourth place after 12 matches with 21 points, six behind leaders Spartak Moscow.

Portugal’s Euro hero up front

Going for glory: Éder fired Portugal to the European Championship title in 2016 and won the Russian league title with Lokomotiv in 2018.

Nikolić, who’s been in charge of Loko since June, has tended to set his team up in a 4-4-2 formation in recent weeks. The Russians strengthened in attack during the most recent transfer window. Fedor Smolov returned from a six-month loan Celta Vigo and is currently the team’s leading scorer with three goals, although he’s never scored in the Champions League. Unlike strike partner Éder, who netted the opening goal against Salzburg on Matchday 1. The Portuguese striker, who fired in the extra-time goal that won the 2016 European Championship for his country, has worn the red, white and green shirt for three years.

FCB with good memories of Moscow

Jürgen Klinsmann’s first-half brace set Bayern on the path to victory early in Moscow in 1995. Further goals from Andreas Herzog and Mehmet Scholl meant FCB were already 4-0 up before the break. Thomas Strunz completed the scoring.

Bayern have never met Lokomotiv in the Champions League, with the only previous encounter between the two clubs coming in the first round of the UEFA Cup in 1995. After a 1-0 defeat at home, the Munich men secured their place in the next round with a convincing 5-0 win in the second leg – Loko’s heaviest defeat in Europe to date. FCB went on to win the tournament.

Eclipsed by local rivals

Lokomotiv last won the Russian title in 2018. Several of the players from that team are still in the squad.

Lokomotiv Moscow was formed in August 1923 by the best players from the Moscow railway system as the ‘Club of the October Revolution’ (KOR). Twelve years later, KOR became a voluntary sports society for the railway workers and was renamed ‘Lokomotiv’. They’ve won the Russian Cup a record eight times, but with three Russian Premier League titles, they are somewhat in the shadows of local rivals Spartak (10) and CSKA (six) when it comes to league successes. The Railwaymen are still waiting for their first European honour. Loko play their home matches at the RZD Arena, which was built in 1923 and converted into a pure football stadium in 2002, holding 30,075 spectators.

Bayern head to Russia full of confidence following an impressive win over Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday:

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