Luciano Spalletti's men failed to win either of their two previous Group G games at the Petrovsky Stadium, but they need three points to boost their qualification hopes.
The Group G encounter in Russia gives the hosts the chance to qualify with a win, as long as Porto fails to take all three points at home to Austria Vienna.
It will be a tough task for Luciano Spalletti's side, with visitors Atletico just one of two sides in the competition, along with holders Bayern Munich, to boast a perfect record in the group stages so far with four wins from four, including a 3-1 victory over its Russian rivals in Spain on matchday one.
Zenit boasts a strong home record in Europe, having not lost in six Champions League matches, but is yet to win at the Petrovsky Stadium so far this campaign in the group stages of the competition following draws with Vienna and Porto.
Zenit also has a good record at home to Spanish opposition, with just one defeat from seven meetings with Liga outfits.
Atletico, however, has won its last two European away ties and has lost just once on its travels in all competitions this season.
Both sides are faring well in their domestic leagues, Zenit currently top of the Premier League, but Spalletti's men have been in poor form recently, with no win in three in the league and none in five in all competitions - their worst run since May 2006.
Atletico, meanwhile, is three points behind leaders Barcelona at the top of La Liga and is unbeaten in seven matches in all competitions. Confidence will be high in the Atletico squad approaching Tuesday's after Saturday's thumping 7-0 home win over Getafe.
Zenit will have Vyacheslav Malafeev available for the first time this season after a calf injury, while for Atletico, Adrian Lopez and Leo Baptistao (both ankle) remain doubtful for the trip to Russia.