Zenit St Petersburg - Malaga Preview: Russian champions face must-win clash against Group C leaders

Luciano Spalletti's side will be eliminated from the Champions League if they fail to beat the Primera Division outfit and AC Milan overcome Anderlecht in the other group match


Anyukov, Hubocan, Alves, Yanbaev
Witsel, Denisov, Shirokov
Bystrov, Kerzhakov, Hulk


Gamez, Demichelis, Weligton, Eliseu
Toulalan, Camacho
Portillo, Isco, Duda
Santa Cruz

Zenit St Petersburg have been boosted by the return of Hulk from a thigh injury ahead of Wednesday's crucial encounter with Malaga at the Petrovsky Stadium.

Winger Viktor Fayzulin is also available after shaking off a minor knee problem, but left-back Domenico Criscito is sidelined.

Malaga are without Carlos Kameni (illness), Nacho Monreal (back), Sergio Sanchez (hamstring) and Julio Baptista (achilles), while Manuel Iturra is suspended.

Coach Manuel Pellegrini has opted to rest Joaquin and Javier Saviola for the trip to Russia, so Roque Santa Cruz could be set for a rare start in attack.

  • Zenit St Petersburg have won seven of their last eight matches in all competitions.
  • The Russian outfit's overall home record against Spanish visitors is W2, D3, L1, with the solitary defeat coming against Real Madrid in the 2008-09 Champions League group stage.
  • Zenit's 3-0 loss at Malaga in the reverse fixture equalled their heaviest away defeat in the Champions League.
  • Malaga have won just one of their last six matches across all competitions (W1, D3, L2).
  • Los Boquerones have suffered just one defeat in 11 away games in European competition.
  • Eliseu is Malaga's top scorer in the Champions League this season with four goals.
  • The Liga outfit have averaged two goals per game in this season's competition, finding the back of the net eight times in their four matches so far.