Borussia Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp is looking forward to his first trip to Russia after last season's finalists were drawn against FC Zenit in the UEFA Champions League round of 16. Despite the Russian club making it through with just six points Klopp is refusing to take them lightly, saying: "Any team that manages to survive the group stage of the Champions League is a quality side." One man who knows BVB well is Zenit midfielder Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, part of the FC Bayern München squad that defeated Dortmund in last May's Wembley final – he sees the German outfit as more vulnerable than last term.
Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, Zenit midfielder
Borussia are currently third in the Bundesliga. In my opinion they are not in the best form right now. They have taken points against the other frontrunners in their league and in the UEFA Champions League, but it is not the same team that reached the final last season. They were much stronger then. Their advantage is the fact they will be in the middle of the season by the time our tie takes place. Their players will be in good shape for sure.
In contrast, we will have played just a couple of friendlies [due to Russia's winter break]. Now it is time for us to rest and then we will start preparing in the best possible way. Actually I had a feeling we would meet Dortmund. I said this to some of the lads yesterday. I think it is a good draw for us. The stadiums are always full in Germany, they have great pitches and it is always nice to play there. There is a great atmosphere at their stadium – the capacity is over 80,000 spectators and it is always full.
Maksim Mitrofanov, Zenit general director
I believe it is completely wrong to assess the draw in terms of whether we were lucky or unlucky. We will face one of Europe's best teams, last season's runners-up. Of course it's a huge challenge for us, especially given the massive support Dortmund have at home. But regardless of how people took our qualification from the group, we made it and we will play to win.
Jürgen Klopp, Dortmund coach
I've never been to Russia but I'm looking forward to our games against Zenit. In the coming weeks we will prepare intensively for these matches and study them as best as possible. Any team that manages to survive the group stage of the Champions League is a quality side, but I can't say much about them at the moment. It wouldn't be very professional to talk about them in detail two months before the games actually take place.
Sebastian Kehl, Dortmund captain
Zenit are clearly not the toughest draw for us, there were other teams that would have been more difficult. However, we have never played in St Petersburg and we will have to prepare for uncomfortable temperatures. I do feel we have a good chance to reach the next round though, as long as we play to our potential. Playing the first leg away should also be a small advantage for us. We look forward to our trip to St Petersburg.
Kevin Grosskreutz, Dortmund midfielder
I would have liked to play AC Milan to be honest. They have a great city and it is not a long journey, which would have allowed a lot of our fans to make the trip. But Zenit are also an interesting draw. Hulk is a player that stands out for them. He has great physical presence and is difficult to defend against. I do not think it says anything that Zenit only qualified for the next round with six points and a negative goal tally. They have a quality team.
Hans-Joachim Watzke, Dortmund sporting director
I can live with this draw, but Zenit have a host of quality players such as Hulk. It is not the shortest trip for us, but we will manage. I think it is a good omen for us to play in St Petersburg. We already had a long journey last year in the first knockout round when we played [FC Shakhtar] Donetsk. It was cold there as well and we prevailed.
The other German teams have very tough draws. I read that Leverkusen wanted to get Paris Saint-Germain and now they have them. Real Madrid are a very strong side, it is a tough draw for Schalke and Bayern got Arsenal, which was probably the one team they did not want after finishing top of their group.
We know Zenit are capable of playing at a high level and their squad is full of quality. Maybe it is an advantage for us that Zenit won't have any competitive matches before they play us. Perhaps we will have a better rhythm then.
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