Rubin Kazan keen on facing Chelsea at their home stadium instead of in Moscow

Kurban Berdyev, Rubin Kazan's head coach. Photo: PA

Chelsea's Europa League opponents Rubin Kazan insist they want to play at their home stadium instead of Moscow.

Rubin, in the Russian republic of Tatarstan, is the furthest east of any European club in the competition but the club played their last-16 home match against Levante at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium due to problems with the pitch.

A decision on where to play the Chelsea game on April 11 will be taken after a UEFA pitch inspection next week.

The game is expected to be in Moscow, which would mean a shorter journey - though still a significant one - for Rafael Benitez's team ahead of a possible FA Cup semi-final three days later.

The Blues have played 52 matches already this season, starting from the Community Shield, and have seven games lined up for April, including the Premier League visit of Tottenham that would have to be moved should they beat Manchester United in their cup replay.

A UEFA spokesman said: "There will be a pitch inspection next week in Kazan to decide where the match will take place."

But Rubin vice-president Kamil Iskhakov told www.sports.ru: "For the decisive second leg we will have at home, we definitely want it to be at the Central Stadium of Kazan.

"I am very happy with the draw - I am familiar with Chelsea's owner Roman Abramovich from when I worked in the Far East and Abramovich was governor of Chukotka.

"We became friends from a shared loved of football and be at this stage of the Europa League against so eminent and powerful rival, which is owned by our countryman, is just fantastic."

In the other Europa League quarter-finals, Tottenham appeared to be handed the easiest draw after being paired with Swiss side Basle, while Newcastle will play Benfica from Portugal and Turkish side Fenerbahce will face Lazio of Italy.

Rubin Kazan will be tough opponents for Benitez's Chelsea team.

The Russian side have already knocked out two Spanish teams - holders Atletico Madrid in the round of 32 and Levante last night, winning 2-0 after extra time in .

Rubin were also unbeaten in a tough group that include Inter Milan, and are particularly strong defensively, having conceded only three goals in 10 European matches.