panorama empty interior Otkritie Arena Moscow Otkritie Arena. (Image: Дмитрий Садовников, CC BY-SA 3.0 GFDL, via Wikimedia Commons)

Leicester City sit in a tie for second place in Group C after three games in the Europa League, just two points out of first. In the first match-up, Leicester City came away from Spartak Moscow with a 4-3 win, and now the teams face off in England. Let Groundhopper Soccer Guides introduce you to their opponents from Russia’s Premier League.

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group picture of 2019 Spartak team in red uniforms

The traditional red home kits. (Image: Анна Нэсси, CC BY-SA 3.0 GFDL, via Wikimedia Commons)

Introduction to FC Spartak Moscow

Spartak Moscow is the most successful club in the top tier of Russian football, having won a combined 22 titles in what is now called the Russian Premier League. The club’s greatest European success is when they reached the Champions League semifinals in 1990-91.

FC Spartak Moscow’s History

When clubs were formed in the Soviet Union, the domestic teams were created by police, army, and even railroad workers. That is why many clubs have Dynamo (from the Greek word meaning “power” or “power in movement”) or CSKA (Central Sports Army Club) as part of their name. Spartak was created by a trade union (a public organization) in 1883, and that is why their nickname is still The People’s Team.

When the structure of football changed in the Soviet Union in 1926, the club’s first sponsor was a food workers union. The club has since changed sponsors numerous times.

In 1936, the Soviet Top League was formed, and Spartak Moscow finished second behind heated rival Dynamo Moscow. The two clubs have since dominated Russian football.

Even though the club has a record 22 domestic trophies, only one has come since 2002 (2016-17).

Spartak Moscow’s Stadium, Otkritie Arena

Located in the northwest part of Moscow, the 45,360-seat stadium is one of the top venues in Russia. In addition to hosting games for the Russian national team and the home matches of Spartak Moscow, five games of the 2018 World Cup took place there (including when England was eliminated on PKs against Colombia in the Round of 16).

The stadium was inaugurated in 2014 and cost $232 million to build.

aerial view of Otkritie Arena

Otkritie Arena hosted five games during the 2018 World Cup. (Image: Mos.ru, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

The City of Moscow, Russia

Moscow is the capital and largest city in Russia. It is located on the Moskva River in the center of the country with over 20 million residents in the metropolitan area, which covers over 10,000 square miles.  Moscow is the largest city by land area on the European continent.

The city is home to many UNESCO World Heritage Sites and receives an estimated 4.8 million tourists each year.

colorful domes and towers of Saint Basil's Cathedral Moscow

Saint Basil’s Cathedral was built in 1561. (Image: Ludvig14, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

2021-2022 Europa League Schedule

Group A – Spartak Moscow, Leicester City, Legia Warsaw (Poland), Napoli (Italy)

Here are the matchups between Spartak Moscow and Leicester City:

  • October 20 – at Spartak Moscow – Leicester City 4-3
  • November 4 – at Leicester City

Have a complete look at the 2021-22 Europa League schedule and learn more about the Premier League clubs in the Europa League.

How to Watch the UEFA Europa League in the U.S.

Watch the Europa League on Paramount+ in the US.

Read more about European Clubs & Travel: