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Zenit St Petersburg travel to Vienna to face Austria Wien in the Champions League Group G encounter on Wednesday night, confident of securing a place in the last 16 of the competition.
Atletico Madrid have already won the group, opening up a gap of seven points at the top, but the race for the second spot is still on, with Porto being just one point behind Zenit. Wien, meanwhile, are rockbottom of the pool with just two points.
A win in Vienna tonight would guarantee Zenit progression to the knockout stages, while the Russians could also qualify with a defeat, if Porto fail to beat Atletico in Spain in the other fixture, as Luciano Spalletti's men have a better head-to-head record over the Portuguese side.
However, the game might not be a walk in the park for Zenit, who have struggled for results in recent weeks. The 2-1 win over Ural at the weekend was the club's first win in eight matches.
"Tomorrow is a big day for Russian football and for Zenit. I am sure Austria will take this match very seriously and, like all teams, will want to win in front of their home crowd. The match will not be easy, Austria will give their best, it is a Champions League game after all. We will have to give our best to succeed tomorrow," Spalletti pointed out.
"Austria have put in some solid performances defensively, but I expect them to attack tomorrow, because of the nature of the game. Our task is to respond to it, we must play offensive football, attack. Austria will have no fear to attack, they have nothing to lose," he added.
Wien, on the other hand, do not even hold a chance of clinching a Europa League spot even with a win tonight but the Austrian outfit will be keen on ending its debut season in the Champions League on a high.
Nenad Bjelica's side are also not enjoying the best of forms, having won just four of their last 15 matches in all competitions. However, they will fancy their chances tonight, having held Zenit to a 0-0 draw in Russia in the reverse fixture in October.
"We will field the best XI we have. We are now into our game rhythm and playing midweek games regularly. The team is more relaxed after a couple of difficult weeks, but we have to look ahead too. We have a vital league game at Salzburg at the weekend. However, we are motivated for every match, and against Zenit it's a Champions League match which is motivation in itself," Bjelica said.
"Zenit have a good team with superb individuals, but, like us, they are struggling in their league so they have their own problems too. We definitely have a chance to take something from this game. Zenit are very good on the counterattack. They have power up front. We have to remain rock-solid at the back. We cannot give them space on the break," he added.
Wien: Defender Lukas Rotpuller and young winger Bernhard Luxbacher (both illness) will miss out, while midfielders Alexander Gorgon and Alexander Grunwald (both knee) remain long-term absentees.
Zenit: Goalkeeper Vyacheslav Malafeev, defender Aleksandar Lukovic, attacking midfielder Danny and striker Aleksandr Bukharov are confirmed absentees for Spalletti's side.
Where to Watch Live
The game is scheduled for a 1.15 am IST start on Thursday morning, with no live coverage in India. But you can live stream the match by clicking HERE. Viewers in the U.S. can catch the action via live streaming HERE. To watch the match in the U.K., click HERE. Viewers in North Africa and the Middle East click HERE.
Expected lineups: Wein: Lindner; Koch, Ramsebner, Ortlechner, Suttner; Holland, Mader; Royer, Kienast, Murg; Hosiner
Zenit: Lodygin; Smolnikov, Hubocan, Lombaerts, Criscito; Witsel, Zyryanov, Shirokov, Bystrov; Arshavin, Hulk
Prediction: 2-1 to Zenit