FC Zenit St. Petersburg will hope to show lightning can strike twice when they visit FC Bayern München for the first leg of their UEFA Cup semi-final
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FC Zenit St. Petersburg will hope to show lightning can strike twice when they visit FC Bayern München for the first leg of their UEFA Cup semi-final.
• The Russian champions had never beaten German opposition until last month when they ripped up that statistic with a stunning 4-1 success away to Bayer 04 Leverkusen in the first leg of their quarter-final.
• If that performance offers grounds for confidence, Zenit will know a tougher test awaits them against the Bundesliga leaders – and tournament favourites – in what is a first European semi-final for Dick Advocaat’s charges.
• Zenit are the only side left in the UEFA Cup never to have won a European trophy. The closest they had previously come since making their continental bow as Zenit Leningrad in the 1981/82 UEFA Cup, was when they reached the quarter-finals of this competition in 2005/06 – losing to eventual winners Sevilla FC 5-2 on aggregate.
• Bayern, by contrast, are playing in their fourth UEFA Cup semi-final. Beaten by Bundesliga rivals Eintracht Frankfurt in the 1979/80 edition, they lost out to SSC Napoli in the 1988/89 semis before defeating FC Barcelona en route to lifting the trophy in 1995/96.
• Goalkeeper Oliver Kahn is the only member of the 1995/96 UEFA Cup-winning squad still active at Bayern, who were led by current Greece coach Otto Rehhagel during that campaign. Jürgen Klinsmann, Lothar Matthäus, Jean-Pierre Papin and Mehmet Scholl were among the other stars of that team.
• Bayern's Luca Toni struck twice in extra time against Getafe CF in the quarter-finals to take them through and raise his tally to ten goals in this campaign. Zenit's Pavel Pogrebnyak has eight goals and is second behind Toni in the tournament scoring chart.
• Toni will sit out this first leg after picking up yellow cards in both quarter-final matches against Getafe to earn his second suspension of this season's UEFA Cup.
• Bayern's Philipp Lahm, Lukas Podolski and Mark van Bommel are within a booking of a suspension.
• Zenit players Aleksandr Anyukov, Andrei Arshavin, Ivica Križanac, Pogrebnyak, Fernando Ricksen and Radek Širl are also one caution away from a ban. Anyukov is unlikely to play against Bayern, however, after breaking a toe.
• Bayern have played 12 games against Russian opposition, winning six, drawing five and losing just one.
• At home, their record is W3 D2 L1. That sole defeat was a 1-0 reverse against FC Lokomotiv Moskva in the first leg of a 1995/96 UEFA Cup first-round tie. Undeterred, they won the return 5-0, with Klinsmann – who takes over as Bayern coach in the summer – scoring twice.
• Bayern's last two home matches against Russian visitors ended in four-goal victories. They beat FC Spartak Moskva 5-1 in the 2001/02 UEFA Champions League first group stage, then overcame the same side 4-0 in the 2006/07 group stage.
• Bayern’s six previous games in Russia have all been in Moscow – against Lokomotiv, FC Torpedo Moskva and FC Spartak Moskva. They have claimed three wins and three draws in the Russian capital.
• Zenit have played against German opponents on eight occasions and their record reads W1 D2 L5. They have fared better in away matches, curiously. On German soil, they have won one, drawn two and lost one; at home they have drawn one and lost three.
• They have played three games against Bundesliga teams already this term, and can take heart from their tremendous effort against Leverkusen in the quarter-finals.
• Having drawn 2-2 at home to 1. FC Nürnberg in the group stage, Zenit won 4-1 at Leverkusen on 3 April through goals from Arshavin, Pogrebnyak, Anyukov and Igor Denisov. A 1-0 second-leg loss failed to deny them a semi-final meeting with Bayern.
• Zenit may also gain encouragement from Bayern’s mixed home form so far in the competition. Ottmar Hitzfeld’s men have registered three wins, two draws and one defeat in Munich, while Zenit’s record on the road is two wins, one draw and three defeats.
• Bayern and Zenit have never met before but Bayern coach Hitzfeld and his Zenit counterpart Advocaat will be renewing acquaintances at the Fußball Arena München.
• The pair lined up in opposite dugouts when Hitzfeld’s Bayern faced Advocaat’s Rangers FC in the 1999/2000 UEFA Champions League group stage. Bayern drew 1-1 at Ibrox in the first encounter, with Michael Tarnat cancelling out Jörg Albertz's opener. The German side then triumphed 1-0 at home, Thomas Strunz scoring from the penalty spot. Kahn played for Bayern in that second match but not the first.
• Advocaat spent six months coaching Bundesliga club VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach in the 2004/05 season before resigning. Bayern forward Jan Schlaudraff was one of the Dutchman’s charges during that campaign.
• Bayern midfielder Van Bommel played under Advocaat with the Netherlands between 2002 and 2004. However, he missed out on a place at the finals of UEFA EURO 2004™ through injury.
• Now 60, Advocaat was a midfielder for ADO Den Haag, VVV Venlo, Roda JC, Sparta Rotterdam and FC Utrecht before moving into coaching and working as assistant to legendary Netherlands coach Rinus Michels.
• Advocaat has been in charge of the Netherlands twice, and has won domestic league titles in three countries: with PSV Eindhoven in the Netherlands, Rangers in Scotland and now Zenit in Russia.
• At 59, Bayern coach Hitzfeld was a decent striker with FC Basel 1893, VfB Stuttgart, FC Lugano and FC Luzern. However, he proved to be an even better coach, winning eight league championships in total with Grasshopper-Club, BV Borussia Dortmund and Bayern, and the UEFA Champions League with both of his German clubs.
• This season will be the last of his second spell at Bayern, as he will take up a new role as coach of Switzerland after UEFA EURO 2008™.
• Bayern's Daniel Van Buyten and Zenit's Nicolas Lombaerts are international team-mates in the Belgium defence. The 30-year-old Van Buyten has won 43 caps while 23-year-old Lombaerts has four to date.
• Bayern opened their campaign by defeating CF Os Belenenses in the first round and then topped Group F with a record of W2 D2 L0. They subsequently reached the semi-finals by overcoming Aberdeen FC, RSC Anderlecht and Getafe and, with 32 goals scored and 14 conceded, are by far the highest-scoring side left in the competition.
• Zenit have had the longest journey to the last four of all the semi-finalists, having entered the competition in the second qualifying round. After ousting FC ViOn Zlaté Moravce and R. Standard de Liège, Zenit came third in Group A (W1 D2 L1), then beat Villarreal CF, Olympique de Marseille and Leverkusen to advance to this stage.
• The second leg will be played at the Petrovsky Stadium on 1 May, with the overall winner being the nominal home team in the UEFA Cup final at the City of Manchester Stadium on 14 May.