Scouting report: Qarabag

Ahead of our Champions League clash with Qarabag in Baku on Wednesday, we've ran our eye over the Azerbaijani champions...

Manager

Gurban Gurbanov. Qarabag’s Head Coach who took charge aged just 36 in 2008 and is only the second man to win the Azerbaijani Premier Division, as both a player and a manager. Gurbanov tends to set his side up with either a 4-3-3 or 4-5-1 formation but has been known to implement an unorthodox 4-6-0 formation on occasions. Qarabag are the first Azerbaijani side to reach the Champions League group stage. 

Key player

Michel. While the squad is mainly made up of Azerbaijanis, one player to look out for is Spanish midfielder, Michel. The 32 year-old is an accomplished passer of the ball and has a real engine in the middle of the park, as he looks to help out in attack by arriving late in the box. The midfielder spent a period in English football with Birmingham City, making his Premier League debut against us at Stamford Bridge back in 2010. 

Recent form

Qarabag are having a fine season so far, leading the Azerbaijani Premier League having only lost once in the league as well as claiming two creditable draws with Atletico Madrid in the Champions League. Gurbanov’s men head into the game on the back of a comfortable 2-0 home victory over Sumgayit FK. 

One to watch

Dino Ndlovu. The powerful centre forward will be one player for our defenders to pay close attention to, with the striker expected to lead the line for Qarabag against the Blues. The South African, who is capped at international level, has previous experience with Maccabi Haifa of Israel and Cypriot side Anorthosis Famagusta. 

Did you know?

Qarabag actually play in the capital of Baku, rather than their hometown of Agdam. Thanks to the Nagorno-Karabakh war, Agdam has been left abandoned as a ghost town since 1993, with Qarabag playing their home games in the capital at the Olympic Stadium, which is also the home of the national side.