Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Dortmund heads to Russia for first test of knockout round
by Ridge Mahoney, February 24th, 2014 6:41PM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

MOST READ
TAGS:  uefa champions league

MOST COMMENTED

[UCL PREVIEW: Zenit St. Petersburg vs. Borussia Dortmund] This is not the manner by which many observers figured a beaten finalist in last year’s Champions League final would progress to this year’s knockout stage.

Only by scoring in the 87th minute of its group finale against Marseille did Borussia Dortmund squeeze into the round of 16, in which it plays at Zenit St. Petersburg Tuesday (live on Fox Sports 1, noon ET) in the first leg. Yet it still topped Group F ahead of Arsenal and Napoli and thus gets the second leg at home.

Though it lost, 3-0, to Hamburg in Bundesliga play Saturday, Borussia is back into a normal routine after the German winter break. Zenit is in the midst of a much longer break: it has not played a competitive game since finishing group play against Austria Vienna and has toured Qatar, Israel and Turkey to prepare for the Champions League series as well as the resumption of league action March 9.

“We've watched all Zenit's games,” Borussia Dortmund head coach Jurgen Klopp said, “including those at their training camp in Israel and in the group stage, particularly against Atletico Madrid and Porto. Ourselves and Zenit were in difficult groups -- I would consider Atletico to be a dark horse for the Champions League.”

Russian international Aleksandr Kerzhakov and Brazilian striker Hulk lead the Zenit attack. Each scored two goals in group play. Andrei Arshavin, a central figure in Russia’s impressive showing at Euro 2008 that earned him a contract with Arsenal, played in all six group matches without scoring. Zenit compiled just six points to advance out of group play; it last reached this stage two years ago and was eliminated by Benfica.

Zenit will be shorthanded for the first leg -- Roman Shirokov, Cristian Ansaldiand Danny will not play – but it does have Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, a member of the Bayern Munich squad who beat Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League final and faced it on three other occasions in league and cup play. After helping Zenit win the 2008 UEFA Cup he played four seasons for Bayern and returned to Russia last summer. His next Champions League appearance will be his 50th.

Tymoshchuk doesn’t take much stock in Borussia’s Bundesliga defeat. “That happens when a team is preparing for the Champions League,” he said. “In the Bundesliga everything is clear, Bayern can be called champions. Dortmund are also focused on the Champions League, so I would not be surprised if they specifically left something to spare before meeting us.”

He played down the effects of a long layoff from competitive play. “We worked so hard in training that we did not have time to shave,” said Tymoshchuk, who did indeed sport a beard at the team’s training session Monday. “Two training sessions a day. We are very well prepared, the sessions were well organized and the team worked on high-performance tasks set by the coaching staff. So we are ready for tomorrow's match.”

Centerback Mats Hummel has been battling heel and ankle injuries the past three months and may be available for Dortmund, but defender Neven Subotic and midfielder Jakub Baszczykowskiare out for the season with knee injuries. Midfielder Sven Bender suffered a groin injury against Hamburg and will miss at least two months, though Marco Reus can step into that spot.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has struck six goals in his last seven games to take some of the scoring burden off Robert Lewandowski, who led the team with four goals in its six group matches and is tied for the Bundesliga lead in scoring with 14. Aubameyang, who hails from Gabon, is right behind him with 13.

Says Zenit head coach Luciano Spalletti, “Dortmund are a very strong team who last year played in the Champions League final -- that says a lot. The Champions League commands a lot of effort and attention and can affect the preceding game or the one that follows. We are working to keep pace and, in time, grow and improve. Behind us we have a big city and a huge number of fans who care about the club.”


No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
What They're Saying: Sunil Gulati    
"Our base-line [for average attendance] was 30,000; 35,000 would've been great, and 40,000 beyond our wildest ...
What They're Saying: Investment banker Keith Harris    
"It was a shock result. There are four players that we can reflect on and the ...
What They're Saying: Megan Rapinoe    
"Gay bars are so important for me and my community. That could have been me. That ...
What They're Saying: Gudmundur Benediktsson    
"It's been quite strange and actually hectic because the phone hasn't stopped ringing. But I'm really ...
MLS: Top fives in Fan XI voting remain steady    
The MLS All-Star Game will be played July 28 in San Jose and every few days ...
MLS Countdown: Rivals wrap up season series early    
The MLS campaign has yet to reach its midpoint yet already teams are facing each other ...
USA-Colombia: Lots at stake in third-place game    
The USA must quickly get back in the saddle after its disastrous semifinal against Argentina when ...
U.S. women: Crunch time to get down to 18    
U.S. women's national team coach Jill Ellis has recalled injured stars Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe, ...
Video Pick: 90 seconds of Messi Magic    
The folks at Fox Soccer created a 90-second montage of Lionel Messi's best touches in Argentina's ...
NASL: Kranjcar leaves Cosmos for Rangers    
Croatian midfielder Niko Kranjcar, who played seven NASL spring season games after joining the New York ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives