For the few Russians playing in the Champions League this season, the second qualifying round ended successfully – everyone went on. We tell you how they are doing.

Mikhail Kovalenko

Team: Pyunik 🇦🇲
Path: from 1st qualifying round

The pupil of Zenit played for Sochi, Tyumen, the Armenian Noah, spent half a year without a club, and this summer he moved to Pyunik from Dolgoprudny. Kovalenko immediately fit into the squad – in four qualifying matches of the Champions League he spent a total of 390 minutes on the field.

Mikhail Kovalenko

Mikhail Kovalenko


In the first round, the Armenian champion on penalties passed the Romanian CFR, in the second – the Luxembourg “Dudelange” (total score – 4:2). Ahead of Pyunik are meetings with Red Star.

Nikita Khaikin

Team: Bodø-Glimt 🇳🇴
Path: from 1st qualifying round

The Russian goalkeeper is regularly at the heart of the Norwegian champions. In the first qualifying round, Bodø-Glimt with Khaikin dealt with the Faroese Klaksvik not without difficulty. The first match ended with the victory of the favorite with a score of 3: 0 (Haikin did not disappoint!), But the second almost ruined everything – in the first 20 minutes, Bodø-Glimt conceded two goals, and on the 85th and third. But realized in the 55th minute penalty still allowed the team to go further.

In the second qualifying round, Bodø-Glimt competed with Linfield from Northern Ireland. The Norwegian club lost the first match (0:1) – but in the second it came off: eight goals scored and Khaikin went to zero.

“Before the return match, I felt that we would win with the right score, but definitely not with this one! – Nikita was happy after the match. – The defeat in Belfast was rather accidental – we completely controlled the game, but mistakes are not forgiven in football. Yesterday, in theory, the coach told us not to look back at the result of the first match and just show our football, the one thanks to which we play at a high level.”

Nikita Khaikin

Nikita Khaikin

Photo: From Khaikin’s personal archive

In the next round, the Norwegians are waiting for Zalgiris. Funny coincidence: Bodø-Glimt meets the Lithuanian club in qualifying for the third year in a row. In the 2020/2021 season, it was qualifying for the Europa League group stage (3:1), in the 2021/2022 season, it was the Conference League qualifying (2:2; 1:0). Khaikin took part in all matches.

Stanislav Cherchesov

Team: Ferencvaros 🇭🇺
Path: from 1st qualifying round

Ferencváros, as the champion of Hungary, began the fight for a ticket to the Champions League group stage from the first qualifying round. At the start, Cherchesov’s team got rivals from Kazakhstan’s Tobol: the first match ended in a goalless draw, but in the second, Ferencvaros got together and scored five goals – the final score was 5:1. For Cherchesov-coach, this was the sixth match in his career in the Champions League and the first victory. But he did not show much joy in this regard.

“We know that Tobol is not the strongest opponent that will come our way,” he assessed the team’s achievement. “We want to improve further.”

In the second qualifying round, Ferencváros got Slovan, and in the first match everything went wrong again – the Hungarians lost at home 1:2.

“I think that the game developed according to our scenario, and the result, of course, does not correspond to it,” Cherchesov said after the match. – The opponent had three chances – and he managed to convert two. In the first case, they received an optional free kick, and then overslept the scoring episode. In the second moment, the opponent got a cool shot into the top nine. Let’s analyze the meeting with the Slovaks in detail. I myself need to understand where and in what I have failed in this case.

Judging by the result of the return match, the work on the mistakes was carried out successfully: Ferencvaros opened the scoring in the 20th minute, by the 30th minute they increased the advantage to two goals. On the 70th, Slovan nevertheless scored, which put the total success of the Hungarians in jeopardy, but in the end, the Cherchesov team gathered and still pulled out a ticket to the third qualifying round.

Cherchesov defeated another opponent in the Champions League!  Powerful comeback at the right time
Cherchesov defeated another opponent in the Champions League! Powerful comeback at the right time

While in the locker room the players celebrated and rejoiced at the victory, the head coach did not express much emotion. After waiting for a moment, Cherchesov whistled for a long time to calm the overclocked players a little, and gave out a powerful post-victory speech: “I can only tell you two words: not bad (Not bad. – Approx. “Championship”). Not. Bad.”

Ahead of Ferencváros are matches with the Azerbaijani Qarabag, and there will be nothing left until the group stage – the playoff round.

Alexander Golovin

Team: “Monaco” 🇲🇨
Path: from the 3rd qualifying round

Monaco only on August 2 will begin its journey in the Champions League – two matches with PSV. If everything goes well, then the club is waiting for the playoff round, in which it could potentially meet with Benfica, Midtjylland, Union or Rangers. Monaco is still counting on Golovin: the club’s management has already announced that they are not going to sell the Russian midfielder.

“Dazzling Golovin!” The Russian scored “Inter” and delighted the French

Andrey Lunev

Team: Bayer 🇩🇪
Path: from the group stage

At the end of last season, Bayer got into the group stage of the Champions League, so at least one Russian is guaranteed to be there. But whether Lunev will play at least in one match is a big question: his statistics are not yet impressive, although in many ways they were affected by an injury, due to which the goalkeeper fell out for a long time.

“We will work,” he said recently. – You have to earn this place to play. Nobody canceled the competition. The goalkeepers are strong, including the team captain, which, of course, makes everything a little more difficult, but all the more interesting. Wait and see”.

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