Skip to content

Zenit face daunting task at Borussia Dortmund, as Russian club set for new era under AVB

Mar 19, 2014, 1:15 PM EDT

Axel Witsel, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Nuri Sahin AP

On Wednesday Zenit St Petersburg must enter the intimidating atmosphere of the Westfalenstadion and beat Borussia Dortmund, that’s hard enough.

But with a caretaker boss, Sergei Semak, in charge and a 4-2 deficit to overturn, they will have to win by three to clinch victory in regulation.

Even the most optimistic Zenit fan would admit that their chances of advancing to the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals, for the first-time in club history, are pretty slim. But Zenit are already building for the future, as they appointed former Tottenham Hotspur boss Andre Villas-Boas as their new manager on a two-year deal on Tuesday and will unveil the 36-year-old Portuguese boss on Thursday following the trip to Dortmund.

ALL THE LATEST UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE NEWS

When a new manager arrives, players often get a boost as they realize they are starting on a clean slate and must impress the new man in charge to keep their place in the lineup. Zenit will be hoping AVB’s appointment has that impact, but even if it does, lady luck will also have to shine heavily on the Russian Premier League outfit if they’re going to advance to the final eight of the UCL.

On the flip side, Dortmund must be feeling quite relaxed about everything as Jurgen Klopp’s men tore Zenit apart time and time again in the first leg away in Saint Petersburg last month, but failed to put the game completely out of reach after a gutsy second half fight back from their Russian opponents. For all of Zenit’s poor defending and inability to mark Robert Lewandowski, who scored twice away at the Petrovosky Stadium, Dortmund know they must not underestimate Zenit. After finishing as runner up in last year’s UCL, manager Klopp is keen to see BVB punch above their weight once again after an injury-hit season.

“We have reached our goals by making the knockout stage,” Klopp said. “Anything beyond that is bonus for us but we still want to get the maximum out of this competition.”

Dortmund are without influential midfielders Marco Reus and Sven Bender, as the German international haven’t recovered in time, while Zenit have a full-strength squad to choose from.

Remember, we will have recaps, analysis and reactions from all the UEFA Champions League action right here on ProSoccerTalk.

Latest Posts
  1. Brendan Rodgers: Liverpool lacks big-game mentality

    Apr 19, 2015, 4:15 PM EDT

    Aston Villa v Liverpool - FA Cup Semi-Final Getty Images

    Following Liverpool’s FA Cup semifinal loss to Aston Villa, the Reds’ boss said his side must learn how to deal with the occasion in big matches.

  2. Report: 8 gunned down during Brazilian soccer fan club meeting

    Apr 19, 2015, 3:25 PM EDT

    Corinthians Getty Images

    The horrible attack comes the night before a local derby, but police have ruled out fan violence as a motive.

  3. VIDEO: “I Was There” visits both sides of the Manchester derby

    Apr 19, 2015, 2:34 PM EDT

    Screen Shot 2015-04-19 at 1.05.17 PM

    Go inside the Manchester Derby match day experience with a pair of supporter groups.

  4. David Silva may have escaped the worst following scary injury

    Apr 19, 2015, 1:49 PM EDT

    Silva Getty Images

    The Manchester City winger was sent home quickly from the hospital and he confirmed the “tests have gone well.”

  5. VIDEO: Pellegrini talks straightforward win over West Ham

    Apr 19, 2015, 1:27 PM EDT

    Pellegrini Getty Images

    The Manchester City manager wouldn’t be drawn into questions about his future at the club.

  6. Newcastle 1-3 Tottenham: Chadli, Eriksen see Spurs into sixth

    Apr 19, 2015, 12:51 PM EDT

    Spurs Getty Images

    Spurs bracketed halftime with a pair of goals and they stood tall to Newcastle’s spotty threat.

  7. Aston Villa 2-1 Liverpool: Gerrard denied fairytale ending as Villa stun Reds, reach FA Cup final

    Apr 19, 2015, 11:58 AM EDT

    FBL-ENG-FACUP-ASTONVILLA-LIVERPOOL FBL-ENG-FACUP-ASTONVILLA-LIVERPOOL

    Villa will play Arsenal in the FA Cup final after beating Liverpool against all the odds.

  8. Jose Mourinho: Chelsea had Manchester United’s stars “in our pockets.” Is he right?

    Apr 19, 2015, 11:39 AM EDT

    Chelsea v Manchester United - Premier League Getty Images

    Mourinho plays up defensive masterclass. But how did he quell United’s attackers?

  9. Watch Live: Newcastle vs Tottenham (Lineups and Live Stream)

    Apr 19, 2015, 10:44 AM EDT

    StJamesPark Getty Images

    Spurs search for a European place as they take on struggling Newcastle from St. James’ Park.

  10. Manchester City 2-0 West Ham: Two first half goals put down poor Hammers

    Apr 19, 2015, 10:35 AM EDT

    ManchesterCity AP

    The home side produced enough moments at the Etihad to see off a timid West Ham side.

  11. Memphis Depay is a major summer target for top teams according to PSV exec

    Apr 19, 2015, 9:55 AM EDT

    Depay Getty Images

    With his goal of an Eredivisie title secure, Memphis Depay will be a popular transfer target this coming summer.

  12. VIDEO: Odd James Collins own goal opens scoring at the Etihad

    Apr 19, 2015, 9:15 AM EDT

    Goal Getty Images

    The West Ham defender flubbed an easy clearance and sent the ball into his own net as Manchester City have dominated West Ham in the first half.

  13. Borussia Dortmund names Thomas Tuchel as Jurgen Klopp’s successor

    Apr 19, 2015, 8:16 AM EDT

    KloppTuchel Getty Images

    Thomas Tuchel will follow in Jurgen Klopp’s footsteps for the second time when he takes over at Borussia Dortmund this summer.

  14. Watch Live: Manchester City vs West Ham (Lineups and Live Stream)

    Apr 19, 2015, 7:52 AM EDT

    PellegriniAllardyce AP

    A pair of slipping sides meet at the Etihad in a rematch of last seasons title-clinching win for Manchester City.

  15. Injuries piling up for top teams as Modric, Mertesacker go down

    Apr 19, 2015, 7:31 AM EDT

    Mertesacker Getty Images

    It’s that time of year, where big clubs look to the bench to replace important players in big games.

  16. MLS Snapshot: Real Salt Lake 0-1 Vancouver Whitecaps

    Apr 18, 2015, 11:39 PM EDT

    Darren Mattocks, Vancouver Whitecaps Getty Images

    Two red cards for RSL, a late goal for Vancouver and the Whitecaps just keep winning.

  17. WATCH: The 2 Robbies answer the question, “Should Chelsea worry about entertaining?”

    Apr 18, 2015, 10:12 PM EDT

    Robbie Earle & Robbie Mustoe, The 2 Robbies Robbie Earle & Robbie Mustoe, The 2 Robbies

    Do the top teams have a responsibility to entertain, or should they look to win at all costs, no matter how boring it may be?

  18. MLS Snapshot: Columbus Crew SC 3-0 Orlando City SC

    Apr 18, 2015, 9:29 PM EDT

    Federico Higuain, Columbus Crew SC Federico Higuain, Columbus Crew SC

    Crew SC are going to be a really, really scary team once they get going. They picked up a great deal of steam on Saturday night.

Featured video

Hazard seals victory for Chelsea