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Valencia face formidable rivals in high-flying Zenit

Valencia need to dent the perfect record of already-qualified Group H leaders Zenit if they are to take a step closer towards the last 16 when the teams meet on matchday five.

Hulk has been a crucial figure for Zenit
Hulk has been a crucial figure for Zenit ©AFP/Getty Images

Valencia CF will look to follow FC Zenit into the UEFA Champions League round of 16 when the Group H rivals meet on matchday five.

• Zenit earned qualification with a 2-0 victory at Olympique Lyonnais last time out and can now secure first place with a draw against Valencia. The visitors, for their part, will be seeking a win that would secure their own progress provided KAA Gent fail to beat Lyon.

Match background

• Zenit are the only team with a 100% winning record in this season's group stage having made their best-ever start to a UEFA Champions League campaign with four victories.  

• They ended a nine-game winless streak against Liga teams when they won 3-2 at Valencia on matchday one.

• Zenit have drawn six of their nine previous home matches against Spanish clubs – including the last three (W2 D6 L1).

• José Rondón and Hulk scored when they drew 2-2 with Sevilla FC in the quarter-finals of last season’s UEFA Europa League (aggregate 3-4).

• Their last home success against Spanish opposition was against Villarreal CF (1-0) in the round of 32 of their triumphant 2007/08 UEFA Cup campaign. Aleksandr Anyukov, Viktor Fayzulin and Vyacheslav Malafeev played in that match.

• Real Madrid CF are the only Spanish club to have won at Zenit, prevailing 2-1 in the 2008/09 group stage. Danny scored the Zenit goal.

• Valencia are looking to reach the round of 16 for the first time since the club's last participation in the UEFA Champions League in 2012/13.

• The Liga club have won six of their last ten away games in UEFA competition. This season, however, they have lost two of their three away games played so far – at AS Monaco FC (1-2) in the play-offs and at Gent (0-1) on matchday four.

• Valencia emerged victorious on their last three trips to Russia, most recently when beating FC Kuban Krasnodar 2-0 in the 2013/14 UEFA Europa League group stage. Paco Alcácer and Sofiane Feghouli were the scorers.

• Valencia have only conceded one goal in five previous matches in Russia – in a 1-0 loss to FC Shinnik Yaroslavl in the 1998 UEFA Intertoto Cup.

Coach and player links
• Home coach André Villas-Boas and his Valencia counterpart Nuno Espírito Santo were colleagues at FC Porto under José Mourinho from 2002–04. Nuno was reserve goalkeeper while Villas-Boas was Mourinho's assistant coach.

• Nuno later played alongside Danny for FC Dinamo Moskva (2005–2006) and was in the same Porto squad as Hulk (2008–10).

• Villas-Boas's first UEFA Champions League away game as a coach was a trip to the Mestalla with Chelsea FC for a 1-1 draw in September 2011. He later oversaw a 3-0 matchday six home victory over Valencia which took Chelsea into the knockout stage.

• Villas-Boas's Porto side won two-legged ties against both Sevilla and Villarreal during their triumphant 2010/11 UEFA Europa League campaign.

• Aymen Abdennour scored Monaco's first goal in the 2-0 home win over Zenit that confirmed the Russian side's UEFA Champions League exit on matchday six last season.

• Sofiane Feghouli faced Fayzulin, Aleksandr Kerzakhov and Oleg Shatov at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, when his Algeria side eliminated Russia with a 1-1 draw in their final group fixture.

• Players who have played together:
Álvaro Negredo, Dani Parejo & Javi García (Real Madrid Castilla 2006–07)
André Gomes, Rodrigo Moreno, Enzo Pérez & Ezequiel Garay, Axel Witsel (SL
Rodrigo & Javi García (Benfica 2011–12)
João Cancelo & Garay (Benfica 2013–14)
Lucas Orbán, Pérez, Pablo Piatti & Garay (Argentina)
André Gomes & Danny (Portugal)
Parejo & García (Spain Under-21)

Match facts

• Aleksandr Anyukov and Javi García are serving one-match bans. 

• Zenit's 13-game unbeaten run in all competitions ended when they lost 2-0 at FC Lokomotiv Moskva on 8 November.

• Ezequiel Garay and Javi García scored their first goals of the season in the 3-0 home victory over FC Ural Sverdlovsk Oblast on Saturday.

• Artur Yusupov made his debut for Russia in their 3-1 friendly loss to Croatia on 17 November.

• Shkodran Mustafi, Enzo Pérez and André Gomes will incur a suspension with their next bookings.

• Valencia recorded their biggest win of the season on 7 November when they prevailed 5-1 at RC Celta de Vigo, Paco Alcácer and Parejo each scoring twice.

• Diego Alves (knee), Álvaro Negredo (appendicitis) and Rodrigo (knee) are all out.

• Mathew Ryan (out since 30 August, knee) was an unused substitute during the 1-1 home draw with UD Las Palmas on Saturday having also sat on the bench for Australia against Krygyzstan and Bangladesh during the international break.