|A||Real Sociedad||Shakhtar Donetsk|
FC Zenit will want to avoid an unwanted case of deja vu when they kick off their UEFA Champions League Group G campaign against Club Atlético de Madrid in Spain.
• Luciano Spalletti's men visit Atlético exactly a year ago to the day since they went down 3-0 at Málaga CF, a result they never fully recovered from as they ended up finishing third in their group behind the Spanish side and AC Milan.
• Like Zenit, Atlético are in the group stage for the fourth time and have their own demons to exorcise having exited the UEFA Europa League last season after a home defeat against Russian opponents FC Rubin Kazan in the round of 32.
• Atlético have a formidable recent home record in Europe. They have won 12 of their last 13 fixtures at the Vicente Calderón in UEFA competition, the exception being their 2-0 reverse against Rubin in February. It was a result which rendered their subsequent 1-0 second-leg win in Russia insufficient and knocked Diego Simeone's UEFA Europa League holders out of the competition. Cristian Ansaldi played in both legs for Rubin.
• Rubin's visit was Atlético's first home fixture against a Russian side since a 4-3 loss to FC Spartak Moskva in the 1972/73 European Cup Winners' Cup second round. Just like last year, Atlético won the second leg but it was not enough, the 2-1 win eliminating them on away goals.
• Zenit's five trips to Spain have all ended in defeat, starting with a 2-1 loss at RC Celta de Vigo in the 2000 UEFA Intertoto Cup.
• Zenit's only previous trip to the Spanish capital came in their inaugural UEFA Champions League group stage campaign in 2008/09 when they went down 3-0 at Real Madrid CF.
• Zenit have already won twice on the road in this season's competition – beating Denmark's FC Nordsjælland 1-0 and Portugal's FC Paços de Ferreira 4-1 in the qualifying rounds – but did not fare so well on their European travels in 2012/13, losing four games out of five. Their one victory came at Milan (1-0) in the UEFA Champions League group stage last December.
• As an FC Internazionale Milano player, Simeone won 2-1 at FC Spartak Moskva in the 1997/98 UEFA Cup semi-finals. He faced the same opponents in the 1998/99 UEFA Champions League group stage, playing in a 2-1 home victory and scoring in a 1-1 draw in Moscow.
• Playing for SS Lazio, Simeone kicked off the 2000/01 UEFA Champions League group stage with a 3-0 win at an FC Shakhtar Donetsk side including Anatoliy Tymoshchuk.
• As coach of AS Roma, Spalletti recorded 2-1 home and away wins against Real Madrid in the 2007/08 UEFA Champions League round of 16. In the previous season's group stage his Roma team lost 2-1 at Valencia CF but won the return 1-0.
• Cristian Rodríguez is an old team-mate of Hulk at FC Porto and was on the bench when Porto lost 3-1 at Zenit in the 2011/12 UEFA Champions League group stage.
• Hulk helped Porto eliminate Atlético in the 2008/09 UEFA Champions League round of 16, then scored in a 3-0 win at Atlético in the next season's group stage. In the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League, his Porto team got past Sevilla FC and Villarreal CF en route to lifting the trophy.
• In Spain's opening UEFA EURO 2008 group game, David Villa hit a hat-trick against a Russia side that included Aleksandr Anyukov, Roman Shirokov, Konstantin Zyryanov and Vladimir Bystrov. Andrey Arshavin was also involved as Spain beat Russia again in the semi-finals, when Villa picked up an injury that ruled him out of the final.
• Shirokov was sent off in Spain when Zenit lost 2-1 at Villarreal in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup quarter-finals.
• Aleksandr Kerzhakov scored three times against Sevilla in the 2005/06 UEFA Cup. He hit both goals when Zenit beat the eventual winners 2-1 at home in the group stage, then was on target again in a 4-1 defeat in Spain when the clubs were reunited in the quarter-finals. Kerzhakov later joined Sevilla and scored eight goals in 26 Liga appearances between 2006 and 2008, winning the UEFA Cup, Copa del Rey and Spanish Super Cup.
• Axel Witsel's R. Standard de Liège earned a 1-0 home success against Sevilla in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup group stage.
• Witsel and Nicolas Lombaerts are Belgium colleagues of Thibaut Courtois and Toby Alderweireld, while Danny and Tiago Mendes are Portugal team-mates.
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