Anderlecht v Zenit background

Two former UEFA Cup winners meet in the round of 32 as Anderlecht look to keep the goals flowing at home against Mircea Lucescu's prolific Zenit.

Vladimir Bystrov (Zenit) & Behrang Safari (Anderlecht)
©Getty Images

Anderlecht have scored plenty of goals at home in this season's UEFA Europa League but they are up against another prolific side as they welcome Mircea Lucescu's Zenit in the round of 32.

Previous meetings
• The clubs are meeting for a fifth time, Zenit having had the better of their first four encounters (W3 L1).

• Luciano Spalletti's Zenit defeated Ariel Jacobs' Anderlect 3-1 home and away in the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League group stage.

Aleksandr Kerzhakov (FC Zenit St. Petersburg)
Aleksandr Kerzhakov in action against Anderlecht in 2010©Getty Images

• The teams for their Brussels encounter on 16 September 2010 – in which Aleksandr Kerzhakov scored a hat-trick for the visitors – were:
Anderlecht: Proto, Deschacht*, Biglia, Polák, Suárez, Boussoufa, Lukaku, Juhász, Bernárdez, Gillet, Rnić (Legear 46).
Zenit: Zhevnov, Bruno Alves, Lombaerts*, Lazović, Danny* (Križanac 90), Kerzhakov* (Ionov 79), Shirokov (Fayzulin 36), Zyryanov, Luković, Semak, Denisov.

• Kerzhakov scored again in the 2012/13 UEFA Champions League group stage as Spalletti's Zenit beat John van den Brom's Anderlecht 1-0 at home, but they lost by the same scoreline in Brussels.

• The teams for that game on 6 November 2012 were:
Anderlecht: Proto, Biglia, Jovanović, Nuytinck*, Kouyaté, Kljestan, Safari, Mbokani, Praet (Kanu 79), Gillet, Bruno* (Yakovenko 72).
Zenit: Malafeev, Anyukov*, Criscito*, Lombaerts* (Bruno Alves 69), Kerzhakov*, Hubočan, Shirokov, Semak (Danny* 46), Denisov, Witsel, Bystrov (Kanunnikov 77).

* registered to play for the club in this season's competition

• Anderlecht's 16 matches against Russian sides have ended W5 D3 L8 (W4 D1 L3 in Brussels – W1 D2 L5 in Russia and the Soviet Union).

• Zenit's 12 fixtures against Belgian clubs have ended W8 D1 L3 (W2 D1 L3 in Belgium). They have won all six of their home games against Belgian opponents.

Anderlecht v Zenit: Highlights from their previous meetings
Previous meetings: Anderlecht v Zenit

Form guide
• Anderlecht have scored 14 goals in their five European home matches this season (W3 L2).

• A 3-2 defeat by AZ Alkmaar on matchday six ended Zenit's 100% record in this season's group stage. They scored at least twice in all of their Group D fixtures.

• Since winning the UEFA Cup in 1983 – and losing in the 1984 final – Anderlecht have not made it beyond the last eight of the competition.

• Zenit reached the UEFA Champions League round of 16 last term.

Links and trivia
• The journey from St Petersburg to Brussels is around 1,900km.

• Anderlecht's Olivier Deschacht (36) and Diego Capel (29) celebrate birthdays on the day of the first leg against Zenit.

Olivier Deschacht (Anderlecht)
Olivier Deschacht celebrates his birthday against Zenit©AFP/Getty Images

• Zenit's Giuliano and Athletic Club forward Aritz Aduriz are the top scorers in this season's competition with six goals each. Giuliano has also laid on four assists, giving him a hand in ten goals overall.

• Zenit boast Belgian talent in the form of centre-back Nicolas Lombaerts, who started his career at Club Brugge then moved to Russia in 2007 after three years with Gent. Anderlecht's Deschacht, Youri Tielemans and Leander Dendoncker have played alongside Lombaerts for Belgium.

• Zenit's other big Belgian star, midfielder Axel Witsel, moved to Chinese side Tianjin Quanjian at the beginning of January.

• Anderlecht (1983) and Zenit (2008) are among seven former UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League winners in the round of 32, along with Tottenham Hotspur (1972, 1984), Borussia Mönchengladbach (1975 & 1979), Ajax (1992), Schalke (1997) and Shakhtar Donetsk (2009).

The coaches
• Capped once by Switzerland, René Weiler is in his first season as Anderlecht coach having spent his first two years abroad with Nürnberg in Germany from 2014–16. The one-time defender established his coaching reputation in his home country with Schaffhausen and Aarau.

• Lucescu arrived at Zenit this summer, the Romanian ending a 12-year stay with Shakhtar in which he picked up eight Ukrainian titles and the 2008/09 UEFA Cup. He previously won Turkish championships with Beşiktaş and Galatasaray.

• Lucescu is the most experienced coach in the 2016/17 competition; this will be his 222nd UEFA club competition fixture.