6 things you should know about FK Rudar Pljevlja

FK Rudar finished top of the Montenegrin First League last season. Picture: FK Rudar/Facebook
FK Rudar finished top of the Montenegrin First League last season. Picture: FK Rudar/Facebook
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SHOULD Celtic see off Stjarnan in their Champions League qualifier, the Hoops - currently holding a 2-0 aggregate lead - will play either Qarabağ of Azerbaijan or Montenegrin outfit FK Rudar Pljevlja.

Earlier today, we looked at Qarabağ but what about their opponents FK Rudar? Here’s a closer look at the Montenegrin league champions...

1) FK Rudar are based in the northern city of Pljevlja, the third-largest in Montenegro. Lying at an altitude of 2530ft, the city borders Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegrin towns of Žabljak, Mojkovac and Bijelo Polje.

In Pljevlja, beer will set you back between 50p and £1, while a meal at a mid-range restaurant will cost just £20. The current exchange rate is 69p for every Euro.

2) The team plays at the 18,500-capacity Stadion Gradski (10,000 seated) which they share with FK Pljevlja 1997, who currently compete in the Montengrin Third League - North Region.

Originally opened in 1948, the ground was renovated in 1985. Its name translates as the ‘City Garden Stadium’.

3) FK Rudar have won the Montenegrin First League just twice; first in the 2009/10 season and again in the 2014/15 season.

They can boast three Montenegrin Cup wins, however - in 2006/07, 2009/10 and 2010/11.

In the 2006/07 season, Rudar defeated FK Sutjeska Nikšić 2-1 in the final, repeating the scoreline in the 2009/10 season against FK Budućnost Podgorica and defeating FK Mogren on penalties in the 2010/11 final.

They won 22 of their 33 matches played in the 2014/15 league campaign, losing just five and conceding 18 goals in the process. They drew six matches and scored 58 goals as they pipped Sutjeska to the title by three points.

4) Rudar have played just 13 matches in Europe - four in the Champions League qualifiers and nine in the UEFA Cup / Europa League. Out of those 13 matches they have won just three, drawing two and losing eight.

They lost 4-0 on aggregate to Omonia in their first foray into Europe in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup, before defeating San Marinese side Tre Fiori 7-1 on aggregate in the Champions League qualifiers in 2010/11, before a 5-0 aggregate defeat at the hands of Litex Lovech in the second qualifying round.

Further defeats followed in the Europa League qualifiers in 2011/12 (5-0 v Austria Wien) and in 2012/13 (2-1 v Shirak). In the 2013/14 competition, they saw off FK Mika 2-1, and despite a credible 2-2 draw with Polish outfit Śląsk Wrocław in Pljevlja, the Poles won the return leg 4-0.

Rudar’s opponents in the 2015/16 competition, Qarabağ, have played 55 matches in Europe by comparison.

5) Igor Ivanović and captain Nedjeljko Vlahović are the men to watch, with the Montenegrin duo scoring 13 and 8 goals respectively as Rudar secured the title last year.

Midfielder Ivanović made three appearances for the Montenegro Under-21 side.

6) They had a strong finish to the league campaign, beating Mladost 3-1 and Berane 4-1 in their final two matches.

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