Mar 19, 2014, 1:15 PM EST
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.
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.
Feb 27, 2015, 7:37 AM EST
Will Clyne stay at Saints or move to one of the big boys?
Feb 26, 2015, 11:37 PM EST
It’s red — lots of red — and “All For One.” Do you dig it?
Feb 26, 2015, 11:10 PM EST
Petr Cech has been in plenty of PK shootouts for Chelsea, but Courtois has never done it.
Feb 26, 2015, 10:32 PM EST
*sigh* Another MLS team gets hammered in CCL, and we’re (probably) down to one last hope.
Feb 26, 2015, 8:15 PM EST
It’s a who’s-who of USMNT, USWNT and MLS stars who are now eligible for the U.S. Soccer HOF.
Feb 26, 2015, 6:51 PM EST
A 550-pound British bomb was found near Dortmund’s stadium on Thursday. That’s a little bit crazy.
Feb 26, 2015, 6:13 PM EST
Five years, $300 million — the going rate for prime real estate on a top PL team’s jersey.
Feb 26, 2015, 5:05 PM EST
The Premier League’s nightmare week in European competition continued on Thursday.
Feb 26, 2015, 3:44 PM EST
It took kicks to settle the UEFA Europa League tie between Besiktas and Liverpool after both clubs won 1-0 home legs.
Feb 26, 2015, 2:59 PM EST
The shots may’ve been even, but Spurs had 2/3 possession for much of the night.
Feb 26, 2015, 2:36 PM EST
Cummings’ manager is backing him up, too, and the Scotland U-19 forward has 11 goals in 23 matches for Hibs this season.
Feb 26, 2015, 1:46 PM EST
If you believe the words from Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen on local radio last night, you probably want to prepare for a work stoppage in MLS.
Feb 26, 2015, 12:42 PM EST
It had to be a terrifying incident for the team, let alone the player.
Feb 26, 2015, 11:50 AM EST
Kickoff is at 8pm ET, with the return leg in DC on Wednesday.
Feb 26, 2015, 11:05 AM EST
Koeman, like many of us, thinks it’s a little wild to keep talking about 2022 in 2015.
Feb 26, 2015, 10:16 AM EST
Gone for now is the trademark ponytail due to the cancer battle, but Jonas’ spirit has been and will be a big boost for the Magpies.
Feb 26, 2015, 9:25 AM EST
Dunkin’ Donuts has issued an apology after their doctoring of the Liverpool logo offended some fans.
Feb 26, 2015, 8:39 AM EST
Scholes, 40, would be a high-profile move for the Latics, and Oldham says it won’t rush to hire a replacement.
Feb 26, 2015, 7:48 AM EST
He was without a team for a while, exploring other European clubs before deciding to return to New England.
Feb 25, 2015, 11:00 PM EST
The midfielder takes a quick dribble and lashes a left-footed shot that pings off the inside of the net and rockets around the back.
- Report: Chelsea join Manchester United in chase for Nathaniel Clyne 1
- CONCACAF Champions League: D.C. United battered by Alajualense, 5-2 1
- Keller, Hejduk, Conrad headline 13 new eligibles for National Soccer HOF 0
- Europa League roundup: Tottenham, Liverpool out; Everton, La Liga sides advance 0
- Besiktas 1-0 (1-1) Liverpool: Arslan makes, Lovren misses final PK as Reds go out of Europe 8
- Fiorentina ousts Tottenham from the Europa League with 2-0 win at the Stadio Artemio Franchi 1