FC Zenit know victory at FK Austria Wien on Wednesday would take them through from Group G on what Luciano Spalletti called "a big day for Russian football".
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FC Zenit know victory at FK Austria Wien on Wednesday will take them through from UEFA Champions League Group G on what coach Luciano Spalletti calls "a big day for Russian football".
Debutants Austria are out of Europe, though boss Nenad Bjelica does not write off a first UEFA Champions League win. Zenit are focused on holding off FC Porto, a point behind in third, and Spalletti urged his players to attack.
• Zenit will progress with a win. It they do not prevail, Zenit must hope Porto do not beat Club Atlético de Madrid in Spain.
Nenad Bjelica, coach
We will field the best XI we have, but who will play – that's a question. We have 20 very good players to choose from and everyone has the chance to play.
We are now into our game rhythm and playing midweek games regularly. The team is more relaxed after a couple of difficult weeks, but we have to look ahead too. We have a vital league game at Salzburg at the weekend. However, we are motivated for every match, and against Zenit it's a Champions League match which is motivation in itself. Zenit have a good team with superb individuals, but, like us, they are struggling in their league so they have their own problems too. We definitely have a chance to take something from this game.
Zenit are very good on the counterattack. They have power up front. We have to remain rock-solid at the back. We cannot give them space on the break. On the other hand, we want to score some goals.
Saturday: Austria Wien 2-2 FC Admira Wacker Mödling (Kienast 11, Ramsebner 33; Schicker 42 75)
Lindner; Koch, Ramsebner, Ortlechner, Suttner; Holland, Mader; Royer (Leovac 77), Kienast (Stanković 57), Murg; Hosiner (Okotie 78).
• Thomas Murg was sent off just before the hour as Austria, 2-0 up inside 33 minutes, were held by the bottom side.
Defender Lukas Rotpuller and midfielder Bernhard Luxbacher have both been ruled out through illness, while Alexander Gorgon and Alexander Grünwald (both knee) remain long-term absentees, but Bejilca said: "This is not a problem. We have to adapt. We have our best players fit and ready to perform."
Luciano Spalletti, coach
Tomorrow is a big day for Russian football and for Zenit. The game is very important for us, but at the same time we should not take Mr Bjelica's words the wrong way. I am sure Austria will take this match very seriously and, like all teams, will want to win in front of their home crowd. I think he meant, the game itself will not change anything for Austria in the group. The match will not be easy, Austria will give their best, it is a Champions League game after all.
Atlético sit top of the group and they deserve it. They have worked hard in the past two years and it is starting to pay off for them. They had a really good start, got important wins. We stopped their run in St Petersburg but we must not forget that, unlike them, we have had many draws on our way and that is why we are in a situation like this. But we still have everything in our hands. We must focus on our own match.
We will have to give our best to succeed tomorrow. Austria have put in some solid performances defensively, but I expect them to attack tomorrow, because of the nature of the game. Our task is to respond to it, we must play offensive football, attack. Austria will have no fear to attack, they have nothing to lose.
Friday: Zenit 2-1 FC Ural Sverdlovsk Oblast (Hulk 12, Lombaerts 75; Gogniyev 55)
Lodygin; Smolnikov (Kerzhakov 60), Hubočan, Lombaerts, Criscito; Witsel, Zyryanov (Fayzulin 77), Shirokov, Bystrov (Ansaldi 53); Arshavin, Hulk.
• Zenit ended a sequence of seven games without a victory in all competitions – their worst run since an eight-match winless streak between 20 September 1999 and 25 March 2000.
Vyacheslav Malafeev, Aleksandar Luković, Danny and Aleksandr Bukharov have not travelled to Austria.
• Austria are looking to provide their home fans with belated cheer after three losses in a row at the Ernst-Happel-Stadion in European competition – against GNK Dinamo Zagreb in the play-offs as well as Porto and Atlético in Group G. A fourth defeat against Zenit would extend what is already a club record run.