Manuel Veth –
Zenit vs Leipzig – Tuesday, November 5, 17:55GMT/18:55CET – Saint Petersburg Stadium, St. Petersburg
Zenit faced a difficult game on the weekend. CSKA Moscow neutralised Zenit’s attacking line only managed one goal, scored by Aleksandr Erokhin.
Nonetheless, Zenit remain first in the Russian Premier Liga, three points ahead of FC Rostov. But while they struggled with CSKA at times they will face an even bigger task in RB Leipzig on Tuesday.
The Red Bulls demolished 1.FSV Mainz 8-0 on Saturday. “We can try and neutralise [Leipzig’s pace],” Sergey Semak said to UEFA.com on Tuesday. Semak, however, pointed out that Leipzig will be the favourites on Tuesday.
“If players are quicker and better technically, then, of course, it can be difficult,” Semak said. But at the same time Semak feels that with the right preparation Zenit will have a chance. There are ways for us to play, but if two players come up against each other, then the player who is better prepared will always have the advantage…”
“[On Zenit’s previous meeting with Leipzig] we did not attack correctly, they played a very high-pressure game with a high line, so we had the opportunity to counterattack,” striker Artem Dzyuba said. “Sardar Azmoun had a good chance, but we did not always make the right decisions and because of this, several dangerous chances for us were wasted.”
For Leipzig it will be all about confirming the 8-0 victory over Mainz. “I’m excited to have another UEFA Champions League match after scoring so many goals in our past two games,” Julian Nagelsmann said. “We need to take our confidence with us into the match. Our greed is incredibly big!”
“I’m expecting a similar game to the home tie,” Nagelsmann said. “Perhaps this time Zenit won’t defend as deeply and will try to go for the win. However, I won’t be making many changes to my side.”
Zenit playing at home will make it more difficult for the Russians to sit deep. A side with plenty of quality going forward will have to open up their defence, which will give Leipzig opportunities to win the game.
Zenit vs Leipzig – Players to look out for:
Wilmar Barrios #5 – Zenit St. Petersburg
“We know that RB Leipzig will not come to defend with eight or nine men behind the ball, they play an attacking style with great ball control,” Dzyuba said. “The first game was tough to take. It’s one thing when you lose without chances and another to lose 2-1.” For Dzyuba the balance between midfield and attack was the biggest problem. In that area Wilmar Barrios will be the key player. The Colombian is a typical balance player and will be key to Zenit’s success.
Timo Werner #11 – RB Leipzig
Timo Werner scored three goals and three assists in Leipzig’s 8-0 win over Mainz. The striker has scored every 93 minutes or 13 goals in 15 competitive games this season. The 23-year-old has been involved in 48% of Leipzig’s goals this season. Zenit were clear on Tuesday, for the Russians to take anything from Tuesday’s match they will have to stop Werner first.
Zenit vs Leipzig – Match Stats
- Zenit have won seven of their last eight home European matches, and 12 of their last 14 (D1 L1), the sole draw coming against Leipzig. Their record in St Petersburg in the UEFA Champions League group stage is W8 D8 L3.
- Zenit are without a victory in their last three home matches against German visitors (D1 L2); indeed, they have won only twice in their nine fixtures against Bundesliga clubs in St Petersburg (D2 L5).
- The Matchday 1 success at Benfica was only Leipzig’s fourth away European win in their 13th match (D4 L5).
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Zenit vs Leipzig – 1-3
Zenit vs Leipzig – Lineups
Zenit St. Petersburg:
Kerzhakov – Douglas Santos, Rakitskiy, Ivanović, Karavaev – Shatov, Ozdoev, Barrios – Driussi, Dzyuba, Azmoun
Head Coach: Sergei Semak
Gulacsi – Halstenberg, Upamecano, Klostermann, Mukiele – Demme, Laimer – Forsberg, Sabitzer – Werner, Poulsen
Head Coach: Julian Nagelsmann
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others, contributes to Forbes.com and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently splits his time between Victoria, BC, and Munich, Germany. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.