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.
Nov 24, 2014, 8:30 PM EST
After returning from injury ahead of schedule, Olivier Giroud found out he was never included on Arsenal’s Champions League roster.
Nov 24, 2014, 7:25 PM EST
Find out who made it into the starting XI in the latest edition of Premier League Team of the Week.
Nov 24, 2014, 6:28 PM EST
Manchester City hosts Bayern as Chelsea travel to Schalke on Matchday 5 of Champions League group play.
Nov 24, 2014, 5:30 PM EST
PST’s Lead Writer and Editor takes an in-depth look at the PL during Week 12.
Nov 24, 2014, 5:11 PM EST
Aston Villa led at halftime but a Nathaniel Clyne strike ensured a point for Southampton at Villa Park.
Nov 24, 2014, 4:32 PM EST
Struggling in England, the Reds need a result midweek to remain in the Champions League.
Nov 24, 2014, 3:54 PM EST
It’s a rare halftime lead for Aston Villa as they look to shock Southampton.
Nov 24, 2014, 3:00 PM EST
Schalke is three points back of Chelsea despite drawing 1-1 in the Stamford Bridge portion of group play.
Nov 24, 2014, 2:23 PM EST
The league announced Monday that Akindele edged Steve Birnbaum of DC United and Harry Shipp of the Chicago Fire for the honor.
Nov 24, 2014, 2:05 PM EST
The second-placed Saints need a win to keep pace with a Chelsea team threatening to run away with the Premier League.
Nov 24, 2014, 1:17 PM EST
Packwood is a promising defender who can be a big part of the US U-23 picture and onward.
Nov 24, 2014, 12:36 PM EST
Seven of his eight appearances have been substitutions, all in the 76th minute or later.
Nov 24, 2014, 11:35 AM EST
No one told Wright-Phillips another yellow card would keep him out of an MLS Cup Playoff game. Pretty unsettling if you’re a Red Bulls fan.
Nov 24, 2014, 10:45 AM EST
Arteta felt they were dominating the game before an own goal from Kieran Gibbs changed the temperature and, at the risk of losing something in the language, doesn’t think highly of the Red Devils.
Nov 24, 2014, 9:46 AM EST
It wasn’t quite a number that rivaled top American matches, but women’s soccer in England can take an extra bow.
Nov 24, 2014, 9:09 AM EST
A trio of American attackers scored goals and a bevy of defenders and netminders worked good shifts in the own end.
Nov 24, 2014, 8:20 AM EST
Certainly keepers like David De Gea, Tim Howard, Wojciech Szczesny, Hugo Lloris and Salvatore Sirigu are scratching their heads.
Nov 24, 2014, 7:30 AM EST
Two teams on very different form meet on NBCSN to finish off the weekend’s Premier League action.
La Liga and Serie A roundup: Valencia, Napoli falter in Champions League bids; Milan derby a stalemate
Nov 23, 2014, 10:20 PM EST
Catch up on all of Sunday’s action and movement in La Liga and Serie A.
Nov 23, 2014, 8:15 PM EST
The Revs and Galaxy may both hold one-goal advantages, but they’re very different leads built in very different ways.
- Premier League Playback: Should Liverpool fire Brendan Rodgers? 3
- Aston Villa 1-1 Southampton: Nathaniel Clyne secures point for Saints 2
- Tesho Akindele brings FC Dallas its first MLS Rookie of the Year award 0
- Americans Abroad review: Boyd bags brace, Johannsson heads home (video) 2
- Premier League Preview: Aston Villa vs. Southampton 0
- Inside Look, MLS Cup Playoffs: How Revs, Galaxy built very different one-goal leads 1