The FC Sheriff Tiraspol story: A controversial football club from separatist Transnistria reaches Champions League

Sheriff FC hails from Transnistria, a Russian-speaking region which broke away from Moldova after a brief civil war following the collapse of the Soviet Union

Fans of European giants Real Madrid and Inter Milan will see their teams face unusual competition this autumn: a club from a tiny separatist region in one of Europe's least known countries, Moldova.

After a couple of failed attempts, Sheriff FC is making its debut in the group stage of Europe's top football competition this year, becoming the first team ever from the ex-Soviet country to reach the Champions League itself.

Sheriff FC hails from Transnistria, a Russian-speaking region which broke away from Moldova after a brief civil war following the collapse of the Soviet Union.