Anderlecht - Zenit St Petersburg Preview: Spalletti's men face must-win game

The two sides occupy the bottom two places in Group C and know they must win the encounter to maintain a realistic chance of qualifying for the knockout stages of the competition


Gillett, Kouyate, Nuytinck,Safari
Bruno, Biglia, Kljestan, Jovanovic
De Sutter

Yanbayev, Bruno Alves, Lombaerts, Criscito
Denisov, Zryanov, Witsel, Faizulin


If you are a big believer in statistics, then the outcome of this contest already appears to be heading in one direction.

With five consecutive victories under their belt from their last five games, Zenit St Petersburg are very much the in-form side as they bid to put pressure on AC Milan and Malaga - who go head to head in the other clash in Group C.

Luciano Spalletti's side have picked up just three points from their opening three Champions League encounters and lay in third place and a single point behind the Rossoneri before Tuesday's game.

In hosts Anderlecht, they will have no better opportunity of securing victory. The Belgian club have picked up just one point in this season's competition and are yet to find the back of the net - making them one of only two sides in the group stages to be saddled with that unfortunate statistic.

The visitors will be without star man Hulk (pictured below, right), who is absent with a thigh injury sustained in Friday's clash with Rostov, while Anderlecht are able to boast a clean bill of health.

  • Zenit St Petersburg beat Anderlecht 3-1 home and away when the two teams met in the group stage of the 2010/11 Europa League.
  • The Russian club have previous when it comes to facing Belgian opposition. They beat Standard Liege 4-1 on aggregate in the first round of their successful 2007/08 Uefa Cup campaign.

  • Coach Luciano Spalletti has won all nine previous encounters with Belgian clubs in his career.

  • Anderlecht have gone nine group stage matches without a win. Their last victory came back in 2005 when a Vincent Kompany header saw off Real Betis.

  • Goalkeeper Silvio Proto is the only Anderlecht player to have played all 630 minutes of their Champions League campaign.

  • Anderlecht and Dinamo Zagreb are the only two teams yet to score in this year’s competition.