Zenit v Fenerbahçe background

Zenit will once again need to rely on their home form as Fenerbahçe travel to Russia with a 1-0 advantage.

Fenerbahçe's Islam Slimani (right) after scoring the only goal of the first leg
Fenerbahçe's Islam Slimani (right) after scoring the only goal of the first leg ©Getty Images

Russian Premier League leaders Zenit will need to maintain their perfect home run in Europe this season if they are to reach the round of 16 following a 1-0 first-leg defeat against a Fenerbahçe side still to concede in Istanbul in this UEFA Europa League campaign but less secure on their travels.

• Zenit sealed their round of 32 berth with a match to spare, nine of the 11 points that enabled them to top Group C being registered at home.

• Fenerbahçe's autumn struggles in the Turkish Süper Lig were counterbalanced by the extension of their UEFA Europa League journey into the spring, although they finished with eight points, the lowest total of any of the 24 qualified teams and six points behind section winners Dinamo Zagreb.

Highlights: Fenerbahçe 1-0 Zenit
Highlights: Fenerbahçe 1-0 Zenit

Previous meetings
• An instinctive 21st-minute strike from Islam Slimani proved the difference between the sides in the first leg at the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium, although Zenit's Róbert Mak had a penalty brilliantly saved by Harun Tekin just before the interval.

• Until the first leg of this tie Zenit had played just one UEFA fixture against a Turkish club, a 1-1 draw in Istanbul against Beşiktaş in their final fixture of the 2005/06 UEFA Cup group stage that clinched their place in the knockout phase.

• Fenerbahçe have yet to win in four visits to Russia (D2 L2). This is the third UEFA Europa League round of 32 in a row that they have been drawn against Russian opposition; they defeated Lokomotov Moskva 3-1 on aggregate in 2015/16 (2-0 home, 1-1 away) but went out to Krasnodar 12 months later (0-1 away, 1-1 home).

Form guide
Zenit
• Fifth in the 2017/18 Russian Premier League, Zenit's 12th successive European campaign began in the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round, where they staged an astonishing second-leg comeback against Dinamo Minsk in St Petersburg, winning 8-1 after extra time in response to a shock 4-0 first-leg defeat in Belarus. Their play-off victory over Molde was also a tight call, a 3-1 home win preceding a 2-1 loss in Norway.

• Zenit's third successive appearance in the UEFA Europa League group stage, and fourth in all, maintained their perfect record of qualifying for the knockout phase as section winners – a feat achieved for the first time in 2010/11. They defeated Slavia Praha, Bordeaux and København in St Petersburg, all by one-goal margins, and drew 1-1 in both Denmark and France, ceding their unbeaten record only on matchday six when, already through, they lost 2-0 at second-placed Slavia.

Watch Zenit's second-leg comeback against Celtic last season
Watch Zenit's second-leg comeback against Celtic last season

• This is the Russian side's sixth appearance in the round of 32. They have won four of their five previous ties, the only blot coming against Anderlecht two years ago (0-2 away, 3-1 home). Their victories have been against Young Boys in 2010/11 (1-2 away, 3-1 home), Liverpool in 2012/13 (2-0 home, 1-3 away), PSV Eindhoven in 2014/15 (1-0 away, 3-0 home) and Celtic in 2017/18 (0-1 away, 3-0 home). They have won all five fixtures in St Petersburg, always by at least two goals.

• Zenit have never lost at home in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final, winning 20 of their 22 matches in St Petersburg. Furthermore, they have a 100% success rate at home in Europe this term with five wins out of five.

• Zenit have lost the away first leg in UEFA competition 18 times, recovering at home to win the tie on seven occasions, including twice in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 and also this season in spectacular style against Dinamo Minsk. When they have lost the first leg on the road by a 1-0 scoreline, they have gone through three times out of four, most recently in last season's round of 32 against Celtic with unanswered goals in St Petersburg from Branislav Ivanović, Daler Kuzyaev and Aleksandr Kokorin.

Fenerbahçe
• Fenerbahçe finished runners-up in the Turkish league and cup last season, Galatasaray edging them out in the Süper Lig and unheralded Akhisar shocking them with a 3-2 cup final win. They opened their 2018/19 European campaign with a UEFA Champions League third qualifying round defeat by Benfica (0-1 away, 1-1 home), which sent them directly into the UEFA Europa League group stage.

#UEL round of 32 flashback
#UEL round of 32 flashback

• The Istanbul club's fifth group appearance ended like the previous four, with progress into the knockout phase, although they had to recover from an opening 4-1 defeat away to Dinamo Zagreb. A pair of 2-0 wins at home to Spartak Trnava and Anderlecht ultimately proved decisive during a Group D campaign in which Dutch coach Phillip Cocu was sacked after four months in charge.

• Fenerbahçe's most successful UEFA Europa League adventure was in 2012/13, when they reached the semi-finals. They defeated BATE Borisov (0-0 away, 1-0 home) in that round of 32; in 2009/10 they were knocked out at this stage by LOSC Lille (1-2 away, 1-1 home). Their round of 32 record away from Istanbul is therefore D2 L2.

• The Turkish side are without a victory in five European away fixtures, losing four of those and drawing the other, on matchday three at Anderlecht (2-2). They have only ever won once away from home in a springtime UEFA fixture – 1-0 at Viktoria Plzeň in the first leg of the 2012/13 UEFA Europa League round of 16.

• Fenerbahçe have won the home first leg in UEFA competition 25 times and have gone on to win 16 of those ties. However, when the advantage has been 1-0, they have been eliminated four times out of five, their only success coming against Anderlecht in the 2007/08 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round when they won the return leg 2-0 in Brussels. They have twice been knocked out of the UEFA Europa League after winning the first leg 1-0 in Istanbul – by Benfica in the 2012/13 semi-finals (1-3 away) and Braga in the 2015/16 round of 16 (1-4 away).

UEFA Europa League squad changes
Zenit
In: Yaroslav Rakits'kyy, Sardar Azmoun, Wilmar Barrios
Out: Leandro Paredes, Maksim Bachinski, Yuri Lodygin, Dmitri Kirillov, Nikita Kakkoev, Mikhail Kizeev, Miha Mevlja, Dmitri Pletnev, Ivan Tarasov

Fenerbahçe
In: Sadık Çiftpınar, Victor Moses, Tolgay Arslan
Out: Barış Alıcı, Aatif Chahechouhe, Diego Reyes, Yiğithan Güveli

Five of the best round of 32 goals
Five of the best round of 32 goals

Links and trivia
• Luís Neto played for Fenerbahçe on loan from Zenit last season, making 13 league appearances.

• Martin Škrtel represented Zenit between 2004 and 2007, scoring three goals in 74 league appearances. He won the league in 2007.

• Škrtel and Mak both play for Slovakia.

• Fenerbahçe's French midfielder Mathieu Valbuena has also played in Russia, making 29 league appearances and scoring six goals for Dinamo Moskva between 2014 and 2015, where his team-mates included current Zenit trio Yuri Zhirkov, Aleksandr Kokorin and Christian Noboa.

• Fenerbahçe's Roman Neustädter is a Russia team-mate of several Zenit players. He scored against Turkey in a 2-0 home win in the UEFA Nations League last autumn, as did Zenit's Artem Dzyuba in Russia's earlier 2-1 away victory in Trabzon.

• Slimani scored the goal that helped Algeria clinch a 1-1 draw against Russia and progress to the 2014 FIFA World Cup round of 16 at their opponents' expense. Oleg Shatov and Kokorin featured for Russia.

• Claudio Marchisio (Zenit) and Mauricio Isla (Fenerbahçe) played together at Juventus from 2012–14.

• Two of Fenerbahçe's January signings played in this season's UEFA Europa League group stage for other clubs, Victor Moses and Tolgay Arslan each making two appearances for Chelsea and Beşiktaş respectively. Zenit's new arrival, Yaroslav Rakits'kyy, also appeared four times for Shakhtar Donetsk during the autumn in the UEFA Champions League.

• Zenit's six goals in the group stage was the lowest number recorded by any of the 12 section winners. The only team to qualify with fewer goals were their Group C rivals Slavia Praha, who scored four.

• Zenit's run of 22 home fixtures in the UEFA Europa League proper without defeat is a competition record.

Penalty shoot-outs
• Zenit have yet to feature in a UEFA penalty shoot-out.

• Fenerbahçe's record in one UEFA shoot-out is W1 L0:
3-2 v Sevilla, 2007/08 UEFA Champions League round of 16

The coaches
• Sergei Semak took over as Zenit's head coach in May 2018 after an impressive 18-month tenure at FC Ufa that led to the club's first ever European qualification. The former Russia international midfielder had previously worked as an assistant coach at Zenit after ending his playing career there. His peak years on the field came at CSKA Moskva, where he skippered the club to Russian league and cup triumphs, though he left for Paris Saint-Germain midway through the 2004/05 season in which the Moscow club won the UEFA Cup.

• One of Turkey's most experienced and charismatic coaches, Ersun Yanal was reappointed by Fenerbahçe on 14 December 2018 – three days before his 57th birthday – to replace interim coach Erwin Koeman. His first spell, in 2013/14, proved highly successful as he led them to the Süper Lig title before departing unexpectedly the following summer and resurfacing at Trabzonspor. His lengthy career history as a coach includes a stint in charge of the Turkish national team from April 2004 to June 2005.

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