Ahead of Bayern Munich's Champions League match on Tuesday with CSKA Moscow, we went searching for someone that could answer a few questions about the defending Russian Premier League champions.
Our guest for the Three Questions on CSKA Moscow is Ben Yaffe. Ben can be found running the twitter account @CSKAMoscowENG. And, lucky for us, we have a couple of bonus questions with Dynamo Moscow supporter Aleks Vee. Aleks can be found at @aleksvee, @GoalChatter, and GoalChatter.com.
Three Questions with Ben Yaffe
While CSKA Moscow were generally considered the fourth team in this group by the outside public, what were the supporters thoughts on their advancement from this group before the competition started? Is everyone resigned to being out of Europe after the hammering from AS Roma?
I think that the Roma result was obviously devastating, and nobody really expected them to win by such a large margin. Our league form has been quite good and going into that game in Italy, I was hoping for a draw or more but obviously we were no match for them. They were great last season and have won every game in every competition this season, so I don't think our fans would be that concerned with the loss. Our group is impossible to get out of I feel, but our home advantage of teams could be a way out of the group into the Europa League.
CSKA is once again facing punishment from UEFA in this match due to racist chants/banners from supporters. Aside from being an awful thing to do, this keeps supporters out of the stadium, and an empty stadium takes away the home sides biggest advantage. Is the club looking to do anything in an attempt to prevent this?
I honestly have no idea what the club's plans are regarding that. I don't condone any of the behavior in that manner from our fans. It's just plain wrong, but there are some ideologies in Russia that are fine with racism and don't see it as a problem at all. It's like that across many countries, and nothing ever seems to be done about it. I'm not sure any current rule or punishment is good enough. You can't change people's views on racism. If they are a racist, they will just keep doing it. If you ban the individual, it will be a repeated cycle as someone else will just start doing it, too. I don't think racism will ever be kicked out of football as nobody seems to do enough to want it eradicated.
CSKA struggled with Ural this weekend in the Russian Premier League, needing a last minute goal from Seydou Doumbia to secure the victory. Their main challenger for the RPL title this year will be Zenit. Is CSKA going to be able to win their third championship in a row?
Yes, we struggled against Ural, but we came out on top. I wasn't expecting it to be so close or for them to score three goals. We didn't play that well, but we still won which is the sign of champions. It just so happens that Zenit are on fire right now, although they only managed a draw this weekend. They'll do better than us in the Champions League as they have an easier group than us. It'll be close as to who wins the league, but if we go on a run like last season again, then we can be unstoppable. It also depends on injuries. Zenit have a bigger squad than us, but I think we could beat them home and away if we really wanted to. If we lose Doumbia, Tosic, Musa, even the Berezutski's, we'd be in trouble. But, yes, we can win it for a third year in a row. I certainly hope so!
Bonus questions with Aleks Vee
CSKA is regularly one of the top teams in the RPL. When you watch them play, what is their biggest strength on the field? Weakness?
CSKA are in some way like the Manchester United of past seasons - a team that more or less sticks with the same line-up. This puts them at an advantage over teams that are in constant rotation. The players are accustomed to each other. Their biggest strength on the field is having the best back four in the Premier League and a productive forward in Seydou Doumbia. They've also got a great manager in Leonid Slutsky, who, having been at the helm since 2009, is one of the longest-serving in the league. When the team competes in three tournaments (the league, the Cup and UCL), however, not having a second squad of the same caliber becomes a problem. So CSKA's greatest strength can also be seen as their greatest weakness.
As a Dynamo Moscow supporter, do you think your team will be able to overtake CSKA and Zenit to win the RPL title?
Potentially, Dynamo can beat any team in the Premier League. Even in the games they lost against Spartak and Zenit, they had the advantage, and lost due to careless errors and bad refereeing. It's still early to predict who will win the title, but Dynamo definitely have the potential to finish in the top 4.