By Graeme Riley.
Anzhi are relative newcomers on the European scene, helped enormously by the wealth of the region coming from oil reserves extracted in recent years. The club was bought by billionaire Suleyman Kerimov, with the funding being provided indirectly by the president of Dagestan, the region in which they are based.
The club had struggled in the lower reaches of the Russian league since their foundation in 1991, before finally making a breakthrough of sorts in 1997 with promotion to the second division. Three years later came their first promotion to the top flight, but this lasted just three years before they fell back to the second division.
In 2010 they finally made it back to the top flight, and a fifth place finish last season gave them entry into the Europa League for the second time. The first time came in 2001 when, having finished fourth in the league the previous season, they were drawn to play Rangers in the first round. Due to civil war in the province the home leg could not be played, and so a one-off game was played in Warsaw, the Scottish team coming out winners by a single goal five minutes before the end of the match. The unrest in the region continues to today although it is not quite so bad as in 2001, but the club still trains just outside Moscow before making the 1,000 mile trip to home games every couple of weeks.
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