Tuesday- February 25, 2014/Kick off: 6:00PM/Last 16/Stadion Petrovski
This will be the first competitive meeting between these two sides and only the second time the Russian side have made it through to the last 16. In 2011/12 they beat Benfica 3-2 at home, Roman Shirokov scoring twice, but lost 2-0 away. Zenit has struggled in the Champions league but has been successful in the Europa League. Meanwhile, Coach Luciano Spaletti is hoping that his wards can “write a chapter in the club’s history” by ousting last season’s finalists, Borussia Dortmund.
Zenit have not played a domestic fixture since 6 December when they ended 2013 level with FC Lokomotiv Moskva atop the Premier-Liga. They have played friendlies in Qatar, Israel and Turkey. They will be looking to heap further misery on a Dortmund side heading into the fixture on the back of a disappointing 3-0 defeat to Hamburg.
Dortmund were fortunate that Leverkusen slipped up against Wolfsburg at the weekend as they look to secure a second placed finish, with Bayern Munich now 19 points clear in the Bundesliga.
For Zenit St. Petersburg:
-Roman Shirokov is expected to miss out through injury, while Danny is a doubt but should be ok to start.
-First-team regulars Hulk and Tomas Hubocan are both one booking away from suspension.
For Borussia Dortmund:
-Dortmund have a number of injury worries ahead of the trip to Russia, with Neven Subotic, Ilkay Gündogan, Jakub Blaszczykowski and Sven Bender all sidelined.
-Mats Hummels and Robert Lewandowksi are carrying knocks, but will likely feature from the off.
-Marco Reus and Sven Bender (both thigh) returned to action at the weekend after respective two-week absences, but the latter may be sidelined until May by a groin injury sustained in the first half while Erik Durm has a thigh complaint.
HOW THEY WILL LINE UP
Looking into the mind of both coaches, this is how they will probably line up their team.
For Spaletti, using a 4-2-2-2 formation: Lodygin – Smolnikov, Hubocan, Lombaerts, Criscito – Witsel, Shirokov – Faizulin, Ryazantsev – Hulk, Kerzhakov
HalftimeNG Prediciton: . While a lack of match fitness could affect the hosts, they’ll look to make home advantage count but Dortmund might capitalise on that as well. Zenit 2-1 Borussia Dortmund