Things aren't looking good for Zenit St Petersburg. After losing the first leg of this Champions League round of 16 matchup, the Russian side now has to either win by three goals or score at least four goals and win by two.
And they have to do it at Borussia Dortmund's home stadium, against the club that reached the Champions League final a year ago. No easy task for the Russians, indeed, as Dortmund have won eight of their last nine home matches in this competition.
But in Europe's top tournament, you never quite know what will happen next, so Zenit could certainly pull off the shocker. Let's break down the second leg of this fixture.
When: Wednesday at 3:45 p.m. ET
Wednesday at 8:45 p.m. ET
Where: Westfalenstadion, Dortmund, Germany
The big news coming into this match is Zenit appointing Andre Villas-Boas as the club's new head coach.
Zenit St Petersburg have appointed Andre Villas-Boas as their new head coach on a two-year contract.
The former Chelsea and Tottenham manager will start work at the Russian club on Thursday and his first match in charge is set to be a league match with Krylya Sovetov on Monday evening.
The sacking of Luciano Spalletti last week came as a bit of a surprise, seeing as he got Zenit into the Champions League this season and had the club just three points behind first-place Lokomotiv Moscow in the Russian Premier League.
But patience has never exactly been one of the virtues common in the ownership of European soccer clubs, that much is for certain.
Dortmund will get a boost in this game, as Henrikh Mkhitaryan will return after missing the match against Borussia Moenchengladbach—a 2-1 loss for Dortmund—over the weekend. Marco Reus remains in doubt, however.
So does qualification for next year's tournament through Bundesliga play.
While Dortmund are currently in second place—a whopping 23 points behind Bayern Munich—they hold only a one-point lead over Schalke for second place and are seven points clear of fifth-place Mainz. Four teams from the Bundesliga qualify for the tournament, and Dortmund are safe at the moment, but hedging their bets by making a deep run in the Champions League certainly wouldn't hurt.
With Dortmund also still in the running for the DFB-Pokal, the matches are going to start piling up for Dortmund. An early goal in this game would go a long way for the German side, as it would ensure Zenit had to score four goals against and allow Dortmund to potentially rest a key player or two in the second half.
But Dortmund aren't treating this game as a mere formality, as star striker Robert Lewandowski told Bundesliga.com:
We're not in the quarter-finals yet, even after winning the first leg 4-2. We need to be on our toes and mustn't underestimate Zenit. I hope nothing happens that could jeopardise our passage into the next round, but the tie isn't over and we can't afford to play like we did against Gladbach. We will do everything to win the return leg in front of our own fans on Wednesday. We don't want to lose in Dortmund again!
Dortmund need a positive result after the Gladbach loss, so expect for them to come out in this match looking for a win, not simply looking to move to the quarterfinals on aggregate.
Injuries have been a major theme for Dortmund this campaign, but the return of Mkhitaryan and possibly Reus should reinstall some of the creativity and playmaking ability lacking in the match against Gladbach.
Zenit are in a period of transition and, frankly, are overmatched from a talent perspective even with Dortmund less than 100 percent, so it's hard to see them coming into Dortmund and leaving with a win.
This game ends in a draw, 1-1.
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