UEFA.com works better on other browsers
For the best possible experience, we recommend using Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge.

Malafeev makes plans to upset Madrid

Goalkeeper Vyacheslav Malafeev may believe Real Madrid CF "are favourites" to win on Tuesday but he is still hopeful FC Zenit St. Petersburg can get off the mark in Group H when the Spanish champions visit Russia.

Russian international Vyacheslav Malafeev is in bullish mood for Zenit
Russian international Vyacheslav Malafeev is in bullish mood for Zenit ©Getty Images

Zenit lost 1-0 at Juventus on their competition debut a fortnight ago, and four days later succumbed 3-1 at home to PFC CSKA Moskva to leave the UEFA Cup and UEFA Super Cup winners further adrift in the race for European qualification in Russia. However, they recovered to prevail by 3-0 at FC Lokomotiv Moskva on Saturday, keeping Malafeev in good spirits. "We were not inferior to Juventus in my opinion and we were certainly better then CSKA, but in both games our opponents took their chances while we wasted ours," the 29-year-old told uefa.com. "The weekend showed that we are in good shape and we look forward to getting our first points on Tuesday."

'Quality football'
While Dick Advocaat's side lie sixth in Russia's Premier-Liga, Madrid are in ominous form, having won their last four league matches and beaten FC BATE Borisov 2-0 on Matchday 1. "Of course Real are the favourites," Malafeev said. "But we are at home and, like I said, we are in good shape." As for whether both teams will use their usual attacking strategies, the Russian international mused: "It depends on the tactics Advocaat chooses. The only thing I know is that the teams will play quality football."

Danny quality
Up front there is a huge boost for Zenit with the return of Andrei Arshavin, suspended on Matchday 1, to form a formidable three-man attack with Pavel Pogrebnyak and Danny, signed for a Russian record €30m from FC Dinamo Moskva in late August. "Danny has been in the team for just a month and I am surprised how quickly he has adapted to a new city and a new team," Malafeev said. "He is displaying a high-quality game and scoring goals."