Championship side Wigan Athletic face their sternest European test so far when they host last year’s quarter-finalists Rubin Kazan.
Rubin were eliminated by eventual winners Chelsea – despite winning the second leg 3-2. In the 2011-12 Europa League they were grouped with Tottenham Hotspur, and the home won each tie 1-0.
Rubin are experienced Europa League competitors and the most prolific scorers in the group stage so far with nine goals from their first two games. They have slipped to tenth in the Russian Premier League, however, after only one win in their last five.
Wigan are the only second-tier side in the group stage but they have made a fearless start to their first continental campaign. After a goalless draw at SV Zulte, Wigan beat Slovenian champions NK Maribor 3-1.
Playmaker Shaun Maloney, whose injury-time cross for Ben Watson in the FA Cup final against Mancheser City sent Wigan into Europe, is due to have hip surgery and will be out for three months. But Grant Holt is set to make his European debut after recovering from a knee injury.
Wigan can overtake Rubin Kazan at the top of Group D with victory.
KICK-OFF: Thursday, 8.05pm
The teams have never met before
Wigan were the only side entering the competition at the group stage with no previous experience of European football
Wigan’s FA Cup win over Manchester City let them bypass the qualifying rounds. Newboys Kuban Krasnodar, Estoril Praia and Pandurii Târgu Jiu all entered at that stage
Rubin recorded their biggest European win in history with a 4-0 home win over Zulte Waregem in their second group stage match
Rubin are one of only two sides – PSV Eindhoven the other – to have appeared in all five editions of the Europa League
Wigan's fellow English side Birmingham City are the only other club to compete in the Europa League as a second-tier side.
Birmingham won a place in the 2011-12 Europa League group stages after beating Arsenal in the League Cup final. Wigan's Jean Beausejour played in that team
Wigan Athletic: 3.1
Rubin Kazan: 2.3
TV: Live on BT Sport 1 at 8.05pm
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