Udinese Calcio will look to dethrone the UEFA Cup holders over two legs in the UEFA Cup Round of 16, with FC Zenit St. Petersburg still searching for their first win against Italian opposition in Europe.
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Udinese Calcio will look to dethrone the UEFA Cup holders in the UEFA Cup Round of 16, with FC Zenit St. Petersburg still looking for their first win against Italian opposition in Europe.
• The two sides are meeting for the first time in UEFA club competition.
• Udinese are playing in their second game against a Russian side, having had their first taste of Premier-Liga opposition in the group stage of this season's UEFA Cup, winning 2-1 at FC Spartak Moskva. They have never played a Russian club in Italy.
• Zenit's record against Italian sides reads P4 W0 D2 L2, having drawn and lost in their previous games in Italy. They drew 2-2 at Bologna FC in the 1999/00 UEFA Cup first round, having lost 3-0 at home, and this season met Juventus in UEFA Champions League Group H, losing 1-0 in Turin and drawing 0-0 at home.
• Udinese coach Pasquale Marino's only game against Russian opponents was the aforementioned 2-1 win against Spartak in Moscow.
• Zenit boss Dick Advocaat has a little more experience of Italian sides. In addition to his games against Juventus with his current club, he was in charge for two two-legged ties against Parma FC as Rangers FC manager. His overall record against Italian sides in UEFA competition reads P6 W1 D2 L3.
• All three of Advocaat's games as a club coach in Italy have ended in defeat: 3-1 and 1-0 against Parma and 1-0 against Juve.
• Advocaat was also the Netherlands coach when his side lost 3-2 at home against Italy in a 1992 friendly game, Gianluca Vialli scoring the winner in Eindhoven after Dennis Bergkamp had struck twice to give the Oranje an early 2-0 lead.
• Udinese have lost just once in six games since the start of the 2008/09 UEFA Cup group stage, going down 2-0 at NEC Nijmegen in their final Group D fixture.
• They are unbeaten in their last three home games since losing 2-0 at home to BV Borussia Dortmund in the second leg of their UEFA Cup first-round tie, though they would celebrate at the end of the contest, as they went on to beat the German side 4-3 on penalties at the Stadio Friuli to earn a group-stage berth.
• Zenit have lost just one of their last six European fixtures.
• The 2007 Russian champions have been unpredictable on their continental travels this season, winning twice and losing twice in four away ties.
• Zenit are one of four sides left in the UEFA Cup who qualified for 2008/09 European competition as domestic league champions, the others being Galatasaray AŞ (Turkey), Aalborg BK (Denmark) and FC Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine).
• Zenit are also one of four clubs still in the competition to have won the UEFA Cup along with AFC Ajax (1991/92), PFC CSKA Moskva (2004/05) and Galatasaray (1999/00).
• Advocaat is the only coach left in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup who has led a side to success in the competition before. Galatasaray boss Bülent Korkmaz won the UEFA Cup with the Turkish club in 1999/00, but as a player.
• Fabio Quagliarella is Udinese's top European scorer this season with four goals. Danny is Zenit's top marksman with two.
• Udinese finished seventh in Serie A last season to enter the UEFA Cup first round. They won UEFA Cup Group D and then beat KKS Lech Poznań in the Round of 32, drawing 2-2 in Poland and winning 2-1 at home.
• Zenit finished third in UEFA Champions League Group H to qualify for the UEFA Cup Round of 32. They beat VfB Stuttgart 2-1 home and away to earn their last-16 place.
• Alexis Sánchez is available again for Udinese after serving a one-match ban, but team-mates Maurizio Domizzi and Emanuele Belardi are within a booking of missing the second leg. Zenit's Danny and Aleksandr Anyukov are in the same situation, while Radek Šírl and Anatoliy Tymoshchuk return following suspensions.
• The draw for both the quarter-finals and semi-finals takes place in Nyon on 20 March, exactly two months before the final at the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium in Istanbul on 20 May.