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AJ Auxerre welcome FC Zenit St. Petersburg to the Stade de l'Abbé-Deschamps looking to book their return to the UEFA Champions League group stage after an eight-year absence.
• The Ligue 1 side have a 100% home record against Russian opposition and will look to uphold that supremacy against Luciano Spalletti's visitors.
• Auxerre will have to maintain that winning run to stay in the competition having lost 1-0 in the first leg in Russia, Aleksandr Kerzhakov's third-minute header separating the sides.
• Auxerre and Zenit are both chasing a third appearance in Europe's elite club competition. Auxerre were quarter-finalists on their debut in 1996/97 and competed in the group stage again in 2002/03. Zenit made their debut in the UEFA Champions League group stage two years ago having previously appeared in the competition back in 1985/86 when they reached the second round.
• Third in the Russian Premier League in 2009, Zenit started their campaign in the third qualifying round where they defeated Romania's FC Unirea Urziceni 1-0 on aggregate, Danny scoring the only goal 33 minutes into the second leg in St Petersburg.
• Zenit slipped up against Portuguese club CD Nacional at the play-off stage of the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League. Following a 4-3 first-leg defeat in Madeira, they looked on course to qualify after taking a 1-0 lead in the return only to concede an 89th-minute equaliser.
• Unlike Zenit, Auxerre qualified automatically for this play-off by taking third place in France's Ligue 1 in 2009/10 – their highest placing since 2002.
• Auxerre have lost only one of their last 16 European home outings – albeit in their most recent fixture, a 1-0 reverse against AS Livorno Calcio in the 2006/07 UEFA Cup group stage.
• Auxerre have won their three previous home games against Russian visitors. They defeated FC Torpedo Moskva (1997) and FC Rostov (2000) in the UEFA Intertoto Cup and beat PFC CSKA Moskva in the 2004/05 UEFA Cup quarter-finals – albeit not enough to undo the damage of a 4-0 first-leg loss, as CSKA went on to lift the trophy. Centre-back Jean-Pascal Mignot is their only survivor from that tie.
• Zenit have won their two previous two-legged ties against French opposition – both against Olympique de Marseille at the round of 16 stage of the UEFA Cup.
• Auxerre coach Jean Fernandez was at the Marseille helm when Zenit overcame the Ligue 1 club in the 2005/06 competition. The Russian side prevailed after a 1-0 first-leg away win and a 1-1 draw in the return, for which Fernandez was suspended and in which Kerzhakov scored Zenit's goal.
• Zenit prevailed again two seasons later en route to lifting the 2007/08 UEFA Cup. Trailing 3-0 in the first leg in Marseille, Andrey Arshavin struck an 82nd-minute reply and this proved decisive when Zenit won the return 2-0 to advance on away goals.
• Zenit coach Spalletti enjoyed success against French opposition in the UEFA Champions League with AS Roma. They defeated Olympique Lyonnais in the round of 16 in 2006/07, winning 2-0 win in France, and also achieved home and away wins against FC Girondins de Bordeaux in the 2008/09 group stage.
• There are five survivors in Zenit's squad from their 2005/06 victory against Fernandez's Marseille: Vyacheslav Malafeev, Aleksandr Anyukov, Igor Denisov, Radek Šírl and Kerzhakov.
• Vladimir Bystrov, Denisov and Kerzhakov all featured in Zenit's first meeting with Ligue 1 opposition, a 2-1 loss at LOSC Lille Métropole FC in the 2004/05 UEFA Cup group stage. Kerzhakov scored Zenit's goal.
• Szabolcs Huszti spent 2005/06 in Ligue 1 with FC Metz – where he was a team-mate of Roy Contout – and suffered a 2-1 home defeat by Auxerre. Sergei Semak also had a spell in France with Paris Saint-Germain FC between 2005 and 2006, making his final appearance in a 1-0 Coupe de France defeat of Auxerre on 1 February 2006.
• Valter Birsa was in the Slovenia side that defeated Russia on away goals in a play-off for a place at the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. On the losing side were Zenit's Anyukov, Bystrov, Denisov, Kerzhakov, Semak and Konstantin Zyryanov – with Kerzhakov sent off in the second leg in Maribor.
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