Records have been tumbling all season in the UEFA Champions League and already this week, UEFA.com's Matchday Live show has recorded a landmark. After 43 consecutive shows at the helm, Rob Daly has the week off for good behaviour (albeit at the UEFA Champions League Trophy Tour, presented by Heineken, in Argentina) so I'll be dusting down the broadcasting microphone and hoping that it still works.
Thankfully, I'll have some exceptional company and a little bit of extra time to savour it. The early kick-off in St Petersburg means that we will begin at 18.55CET (35 minutes earlier than usual) and enjoy the second half of FC Zenit's match with Borussia Dortmund which promises to be a real scorcher.
Commentary will come from the second period and we will endeavour to bring you the thoughts of those involved before the end of the show at 23.30CET. Zenit had to battle beyond several Bundesliga sides to win the UEFA Cup in 2007/08 and can call upon a German football expert in Anatoliy Tymoshchuk – but rely on their winter camps to have them at their very best, having been out of competitive action since matchday six in December.
Full commentary then comes from Olympiacos FC against Manchester United FC and we hear from Kostas Manolas and Roberto in the lead-up, two heroes of the group stage.
On Wednesday, the start time returns to normal but we expect the action to remain relentless. Has anyone had a more emotional UEFA Champions League reunion than Galatasaray AŞ's Didier Drogba is about to experience with Chelsea FC? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter using #matchdaylive. We'll find out about Drogba's impact in our live commentary while also featuring FC Schalke 04 against nine-time winners Real Madrid CF, including a few words from Gareth Bale in the build-up.
While all that is happening, Rob Daly will be stalking around Buenos Aires in search of former Real Madrid players to give us reaction to events in Gelsenkirchen and if he finds any, they'll be with you on the show. Whether he nabs them or not, we can guarantee you European football experts Chris Parrott (Tuesday) and Paul Saffer (Wednesday) to offer their insight.
Our comprehensive UEFA Champions League coverage begins at 18.55CET (Tuesday) and 19.30CET (Wednesday) via the UEFA.com MatchCentre. And you can download last week's podcast, reviewing the action and previewing the coming games.
The opinions expressed here are the writer's own and not those of UEFA.
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