RSC Anderlecht have been performing well in recent European home games but the record of Luciano Spalletti against Belgian sides could cause concern as FC Zenit St. Petersburg visit in Group G.
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RSC Anderlecht have been performing well in recent European home fixtures but the record of visiting coach Luciano Spalletti against Belgian sides could cause concern as the Brussels side host FC Zenit St. Petersburg in Group G.
• The sides are meeting for the first time in UEFA club competition.
• Anderlecht's record in six games against Russian sides reads W2 D1 L3 (W2 D0 L1 at home). Their home matches against Russian opposition have been high-scoring affairs, featuring 4-2 and 4-0 wins as well as, most recently, a 5-1 loss to FC Lokomotiv Moskva in the 2001/02 UEFA Champions League group stage.
• Zenit's four games against Belgian opponents have ended W2 D1 L1 (W0 D1 L1 away).
• Anderlecht are unbeaten in five European games – three wins and two draws – since a 3-1 loss against Hamburger SV in last season's UEFA Europa League round of 16.
• The Brussels side's last four European home fixtures have produced three wins and a draw, and an aggregate score of 13-5 to the hosts.
• Zenit are without a win in four continental games on their travels since a 2-1 triumph at VfB Stuttgart propelled them into the 2008/09 UEFA Cup round of 16.
• Zenit have not played in the group stage of this competition since 2007/08, when they went on to win the UEFA Cup.
• A striker, largely for Diegem Sport, Ariël Jacobs worked with Belgium's youth teams, before assisting Guy Thys as national team boss from 1986 to 1989. He won the Belgian Cup with RAA Louviéroise in 2003, and took sole command at Anderlecht in November 2007, following a spell as Frank Vercauteren's assistant. He won his first league title with the club in 2009/10.
• Hired as Zenit coach in December 2009, Spalletti promptly led the club to Russian Cup success. A lower-league midfielder in his native Italy, he was lured to AS Roma after leading Udinese Calcio to a shock fourth-placed finish in 2004/05. He won two Italian Cups in Rome, but resigned in September 2009.
• Spalletti's record in six European games against Belgian sides with UC Sampdoria and Roma is a rather impressive W6 D0 L0 (W3 D0 L0 away). His sides have averaged more than three goals a game in those fixtures.
• Zenit boast Belgian talent in the form of defender Nicolas Lombaerts, who made his professional breakthrough at KAA Gent after giving up his studies to be a lawyer.