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Spalletti rouses Zenit for Dortmund opener

Luciano Spalletti told his FC Zenit side they can "write a chapter in our history" by ousting Borussia Dortmund, who arrive lifted by the possible return of Mats Hummels.

Dortmund train at the Stadion Petrovski
Dortmund train at the Stadion Petrovski ©Getty Images

FC Zenit have an opportunity to "write a chapter in our history" and break new ground by reaching the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals. That is what Luciano Spalletti has told his players as they prepare to take on Borussia Dortmund in the club's second incursion into the round of 16. Beaten by SL Benfica at this juncture two years ago, Zenit host a Dortmund side who could field centre-back Mats Hummels for the first time since late January.

Luciano Spalletti, Zenit coach
Yes, I have two top-quality goalkeepers. You can interpret this as a problem but I don't think so – this is good for a coach. I'm very pleased with the displays of [Yuri] Lodygin and very glad that [Vyacheslav] Malafeev is back. I can't say who will start tomorrow because we still have one training session.

[José] Rondon trained fully and, like everyone else, is ready to take part in the game. [Aleksandr] Kerzhakov didn't finish training yesterday [Sunday] due to a back problem, but our medical staff have eliminated the possibility of anything serious.

Dortmund are a very strong team who last year played in the Champions League final – that says a lot. In the Bundesliga there is one team out in front: Bayern München. Dortmund are fighting for second place in one of the strongest European leagues.

The Champions League commands a lot of effort and attention and can affect the preceding game or the one that follows. We are working to keep pace and, in time, grow and improve. Behind us we have a big city and a huge number of fans who care about the club.

The Zenit management are very ambitious people. They set high goals and we strive to meet them. I've told my players we have a rare opportunity to not just write a chapter in our history, but to put the title on the cover story of Zenit.

Weekend result
No game

• Zenit have not played a domestic fixture since 6 December when they ended 2013 level with FC Lokomotiv Moskva atop the Premier-Liga. They have played friendlies in Qatar, Israel and Turkey, rounding off preparations with a goalless draw against Belarusian champions FC BATE Borisov on 16 February. They resume their league campaign on 9 March at home to FC Tom Tomsk.

Team news
Danny and Cristian Ansaldi are out with unknown injuries picked up against BATE. Roman Shirokov is recovering from a heel problem.

Jürgen Klopp, Dortmund coach
We've watched all Zenit's games, including those at their training camp in Israel and in the group stage, particularly against Atlético Madrid and Porto. Ourselves and Zenit were in difficult groups – I would consider Atlético to be a dark horse for the Champions League. I spoke to Mats Hummels on the plane and I think he will train. Only then will we decide whether he will play.

It is not important which country has the strongest league. Maybe it's Spain, England or Germany, so second place is quite an honour. As for Russian football, it is progressing and Zenit are in the quarter-finals for the second time. [Robert] Lewandowski was rested at the weekend but will participate in training and will be ready for the game.

Weekend result
Saturday: Hamburger SV 3-0 Borussia Dortmund (Jiráček 42, Lasogga 58, Hakan Çalhanoğlu 90+1)
Weidenfeller; Piszczek, Friedrich, Sokratis, Schmelzer; Bender (Reus 46), Şahin; Aubameyang, Mkhitaryan, Grosskreutz (Hofmann 75); Lewandowski (Ducksch 67).

• Hamburg, who had lost their previous eight games in all competitions, condemned Dortmund to their joint-heaviest defeat of the season.

Team news
Marco Reus and Sven Bender (both thigh) returned to action at the weekend after respective two-week absences, but the latter may be sidelined until May by a groin injury sustained in the first half. Hummels could play following a heel problem, while Erik Durm has a thigh complaint. İlkay Gündoğan (spine), Neven Subotić (knee) and Jakob Błaszczykowski (knee) are long-term absentees.

Match fact
• This is only the second time the Russian side have made it through to the last 16. In 2011/12 they beat Benfica 3-2 at home, Roman Shirokov scoring twice, but lost 2-0 away.

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