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Zenit face up to life without Arshavin

Published: Wednesday 18 February 2009, 4.15CET
FC Zenit St. Petersburg begin the post-Andrei Arshavin era with tonight's UEFA Cup Round of 32 first-leg visit of VfB Stuttgart as the Russian side commence the belated defence of a trophy that they won last May.
by Dmitri Rogovitski & Matthias Rötters
Zenit face up to life without Arshavin
Andrei Arshavin (right) and Aleksandr Anyukov enjoy Zenit's UEFA Cup victory ©Getty Images

Tournament statistics

ZenitStuttgart

Goals scored5
 
12
Attempts on target21
 
37
Attempts off target12
 
27
Corners24
 
26
Offsides19
 
16
Fouls committed51
 
73
Yellow cards14
 
16
Red cards1
 
0

Media Services

Standings

 
Published: Wednesday 18 February 2009, 4.15CET

Zenit face up to life without Arshavin

FC Zenit St. Petersburg begin the post-Andrei Arshavin era with tonight's UEFA Cup Round of 32 first-leg visit of VfB Stuttgart as the Russian side commence the belated defence of a trophy that they won last May.

FC Zenit St. Petersburg begin the post-Andrei Arshavin era with Wednesday's UEFA Cup Round of 32 first-leg visit of VfB Stuttgart as the Russian side start their belated trophy defence.

Departures
Zenit opened their European season in the UEFA Champions League but a third-placed group finish meant a transfer to the competition they won last May. Since the new year Zenit have sold Arshavin to Arsenal FC and loaned defender Sébastien Puygrenier to Bolton Wanderers FC, had midfielders Vladislav Radimov and Olexandr Gorshkov retire and released striker Alejandro Dominguez. As if that was not enough, central defenders Tomáš Hubočan and Nicolas Lombaerts are injured, though there are new midfield arrivals in Szabolcs Huszti and Igor Semshov.

Semshov hope
Dick Advocaat's side still have last season's UEFA Cup top scorer Pavel Pogrebnyak and can also take heart from their elimination of Stuttgart's Bundesliga rivals Bayer 04 Leverkusen and FC Bayern München in the 2007/08 quarter and semi-finals. "We are facing a well-organised team with a young, ambitious coach [Markus Babbel]," Semshov told uefa.com, "but I'm sure that we are able to win the UEFA Cup even without Arshavin."

Cautious Babbel
Stuttgart, who finished second in Group C, also have injury absentees. Defender Matthieu Delpierre and striker Timo Gebhart have ruptured ankle ligaments, Yıldıray Baştürk has a calf stain and fellow midfielder Sebastian Rudy a foot fracture. Sami Khedira is also doubtful with a thigh problem and Babbel is in cautious mood. "Zenit are the holders, so it's quite clear how hard it'll be for us to get to the next round," the coach said. "They have a very, very strong team. But, due to being the clear underdogs, we have nothing to lose and will try to take our chance and aim to reach the Round of 16."

Last updated: 18/02/09 20.40CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuropaleague/season=2009/matches/round=15286/match=304808/prematch/preview/index.html#zenit+face+life+without+arshavin

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