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Zenit aim to bring Atlético down to earth

FC Zenit are looking to follow the trail blazed by Club Atlético de Madrid into the last 16 when they host Diego Simeone's Group G winners on matchday five.

Hulk has had success against Atlético in the past
Hulk has had success against Atlético in the past ©AFP/Getty Images

FC Zenit are looking to follow the trail blazed by Club Atlético de Madrid into the last 16 when they host the Group G winners on matchday five.

• Atlético have already secured their progress having won all four games so far – an achievement matched only by holders FC Bayern München – and second-placed Zenit will join them in progressing if they beat the Spanish side and FC Porto fail to pick up maximum points against FK Austria Wien in the group's other game.

Match background
• Luciano Spalletti's Zenit are unbeaten in eight home games in Europe, dating back to a 3-2 defeat by AC Milan in October last year, but are still seeking a first victory at the Stadion Petrovski in Group G after draws with Austria Wien and Porto.

• Zenit have reached the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League only once before, in 2011/12.

• Atlético's 4-0 home win over Austria Wien on matchday four established a club record of four straight victories in the European Cup. Prior to this season their best sequence was three wins, posted in their inaugural campaign in UEFA's elite club competition in 1958/59.

• Zenit's home record against Spanish opposition is W2 D4 L1. It was Atlético's neighbours Real Madrid CF who inflicted that solitary defeat, a 2-1 reverse in their debut 2008/09 UEFA Champions League group stage campaign.

• Beaten 3-1 at Atlético on matchday one, Zenit are hoping to avoid any further echoes of last season when they began the group stage with an away defeat at Málaga CF and then on matchday five drew 2-2 with the Spanish side – a result that ended their hopes of progressing.

• Atlético have won their last three away matches in Europe. Besides Group G victories at Porto and Austria Wien, they also prevailed 1-0 at FC Rubin Kazan in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 in February, Falcao scoring. However, that victory failed to overturn a 2-0 first-leg loss and eliminated Diego Simeone's defending champions. Cristian Ansaldi played in both legs for Rubin.

• Atlético have never lost on Russian soil. Prior to last season, they had drawn 3-3 draw with FC Lokomotiv Moskva in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup group stage – Raúl García is the sole survivor of that trip – and won 2-1 at FC Spartak Moskva in the 1972/73 European Cup Winners' Cup second round. The latter result confirmed elimination on away goals following a 4-3 first-leg defeat at home.

Team ties
• As an FC Internazionale Milano player, Simeone won 2-1 at Spartak 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 first 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 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 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 away defeat 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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