Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America ClassifiedsGame Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Dortmund heads to Russia for first test of knockout round
by Ridge Mahoney, February 24th, 2014 6:41PM

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 Ansaldi and 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 Baszczykowski are 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
U.S. Abroad: Torres absent from Copa Libertadores final    
After starting both legs of the semifinals, Jose Torres did not play for Mexico's Tigres in ...
MLS honors Rothenberg with legacy award    
MLS founder Alan Rothenberg was named the first recipient of an award that will bear his ...
What They're Saying: Prince Ali    
"[Michel] Platini is not good for FIFA, Football's fans and players deserve better. FIFA is engulfed ...
MLS All-Star Game Takeaways: Kaka carries All-Stars    
Brazilian star Kaka says he grew up and loved watching U.S. all-star games. He finally got ...
ICYMI MLS: Penedo leaves Galaxy, Barnetta goes to Philly    
It looks like Donovan Ricketts could be on his way back to L.A. in the aftermath ...
Video Pick: Lloyd golazo ups goal streak to seven games    
If there is one lesson NWSL opponents should have learned from the Women's World Cup, it's ...
What They're Saying: Abby Wambach    
"I haven't made a decision about the Olympics next summer and I would have to make ...
USL Roundup: Board of Governors meets in Denver    
For the third straight year, the USL has held its annual midseason Board of Governors meeting ...
How does MLS All-Stars vs. Liga MX All-Stars sound?    
With Wednesday's AT&T MLS All-Star Game set to pit the MLS All-Stars against Tottenham at Dick's ...
TV Report: Gold Cup reaches more than 6.8 million viewers    
The Gold Cup final between Mexico and Jamaica was watched by 6 million viewers on Univision, ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives