The Russian Premier League is back in action with a highly competitive fixture this weekend as Rubin Kazan host Zenit Saint Petersburg at the Kazan Arena.
Kazan's victory over Spartak Moscow last weekend kept Leonid Slutsky's men in contention for a place in the Europa League next season.
Meanwhile, Zenit are the league leaders at the moment but they could only muster a draw in their last outing against FC Rostov.
Rubin Kazan vs Zenit Saint Petersburg
Rubin Kazan hold a healthy head-to-head record against the Gazprom giants compared to other clubs in the division. Their most recent outing went in favor of Kazan, as they sealed a narrow 2-1 win against Zenit in October.
In their last five outings, Zenit have won three times, with Kazan winning the other two.
Kazan have lost just once in their last five league matches. They are unbeaten in their last three encounters.
Zenit Saint Petersburg form guide in the Russian Premier League: D-W-W-W-W
Rubin Kazan form guide in the Russian Premier League: W-D-W-L-W
Rubin Kazan vs Zenit Saint Petersburg Team News
Rubin Kazan have their fair share of injuries to account for. They may not be able to field Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, Yuri Dyupin, and Filip Uremovic in this game. Oliver Abildgaard is also out following his red card against Spartak Moscow.
Doubtful: Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, Yuri Dyupin, Filip Uremovic
Suspended: Oliver Abildgaard
Zenit Saint Petersburg
The visitors will be without two key attacking players for their first league game since December.
Malcom, the former Barcelona winger, picked up a knee injury earlier this month. Striker Sardar Azmoun will also be on the sidelines on account of an ankle problem.
Injured: Malcom, Sardar Azmoun
Rubin Kazan vs Zenit Saint Petersburg Predicted XI
Rubin Kazan Predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Nikita Medvedev, Mikhail Merkulov, Silvije Begic, Carl Starfelt, Aleksandr Zuev, Darko Jevtic, Stefan Surikhov ,Soltmurad Bakaev, Oleg Shatov, Denis Makarov, Djorde Despotovic
Zenit Saint Petersburg Predicted XI (4-4-2): Mikhail Kerzhakov; Aleksei Sutormin, Danila Prokhin, Dejan Lovren, Douglas Santos; Daler Kuzyayev, Magomed Ozdoyev, Aleksandr Yerokhin, Wendel; Artem Dzyuba, Sebastian Driussi
Rubin Kazan vs Zenit Saint Petersburg Prediction
Kazan will look to build on their recent win over Zenit last year and pull off an upset.
The visitors have their two main forwards ruled out for the game and could struggle in the final third. They have the best attacking and defensive stats in the league, so they are the strong favorites here.
We expect Zenit to emerge victorious in this intriguing battle.
Prediction: Rubin Kazan 1-3 Zenit Saint Petersburg