AZ v Zenit background

Group D winners Zenit are bidding to make it six victories from as many games at AZ, who would make sure of joining their opponents in the last 32 should they prevail instead.

AZ will reach the round of 32 if they can halt Zenit's momentum
AZ will reach the round of 32 if they can halt Zenit's momentum ©AFP/Getty Images

Having already won Group D, Zenit are looking to round off a perfect campaign away to an AZ Alkmaar side who know they can guarantee progress by picking up the three points themselves.

• Zenit, who have clinched first place, can join the list of seven teams who have won all six matches in a UEFA Europa League group stage.

• AZ have five points, one more than both Dundalk and Maccabi Tel-Aviv. The Dutch side are through if they win, if they draw and the other game is also drawn, or if they lose and the other game ends 0-0.

Previous meetings
• Zenit thrashed AZ 5-0 in Russia on matchday two – the joint heaviest European loss in the Dutch team's history.

• Ari's sending-off for the visitors helped Dick Advocaat's Zenit fight back to hold Louis van Gaal's AZ to a 1-1 draw in Russia in the clubs' only other meeting, in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup group stage.

• The teams for that match on 25 October 2007 were:
Zenit: Čontofalský, Ding-Jin, Lombaerts*, Škrtel, Anyukov*, Šírl, Tymoshchuk, Zyryanov, Domínguez (Maksimov 81), Arshavin, Fatih Tekke.
AZ: Waterman, Koenders, Jaliens, Donk, Opdam, Mendes (El Hamdaoui 59), Cziommer (Medunjanin 90+2), Agustien, Martens (Pocognoli 49), Dembélé, Ari.

*registered to play for the club in this season's group stage

• AZ's record against Russian opponents reads W2 D2 L4 (W2 D0 L1 at home); Zenit's record from six fixtures against Dutch sides is W4 D1 L1 (W1 D0 L1 in the Netherlands).

Form guide
• Zenit, Shakhtar and Schalke are the only teams who have made it to matchday six with five victories.

• AZ are without a win in their last four group stage home games (D1 L3).

• AZ have successfully negotiated five of their eight preceding UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League group stage campaigns.

• UEFA Cup winners in 2008, Zenit have now progressed in four of their five UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League group stage campaigns. In 2010/11 they won all six group matches and they remain on target to do so again.

Links and trivia
• The journey from St Petersburg to Alkmaar is around 1,750km.

• With five goals, Zenit's Giuliano has lost top spot in the scorers' charts to Aritz Aduriz, but he has laid on more assists than any other player in this season's group stage (four) and has contributed to nine goals in total – two more than Aduriz (six goals, one assist).

• Zenit's Montenegrin forward Luka Djordjević spent the 2013/14 campaign in the Netherlands, playing for Twente.

The coaches
• AZ coach John van den Brom spent the bulk of his playing career as a midfielder with Vitesse and was capped twice by the Netherlands. As a coach, he landed the Belgian title with Anderlecht in 2013, taking command in Alkmaar in 2014.

• Mircea Lucescu arrived at Zenit this summer, the Romanian ending a 12-year stay with Shakhtar in which he picked up eight Ukrainian titles and the 2008/09 UEFA Cup. He previously won Turkish championships with Beşiktaş and Galatasaray.

• Lucescu is the most experienced coach in the 2016/17 competition; this will be his 220th UEFA club competition fixture.

Chapecoense commemoration
Teams taking part in all of the matchday six UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League fixtures will observe a minute's silence to pay respect to the victims of last week's air disaster involving the Chapecoense team and accompanying delegation.

The Brazilian club lost most of their players and coaching staff in the accident, which occurred in Colombia, where Chapecoense were due to play the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final against Atlético Nacional.

"European football is united in expressing its deepest sympathy to Chapecoense, the Brazilian Football Confederation [CBF], CONMEBOL and the families of all the victims," said UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin. "This tragedy has shaken the world of football, and we would like to send our support to all of those affected by it."

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