Borussia Dortmund will be keen to put behind their disappointing form in the Bundesliga. Reuters
Zenit St. Petersburg will target a big scalp in Borussia Dortmund when the two sides meet in the last 16 first leg of the Champions League in Russia on Tuesday.
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Last season's runners-up Dortmund have struggled in the Bundesliga this season, and suffered their heaviest away defeat in four years - a 3-0 loss - against Hamburg at the weekend. With the league title well out of their grasp - they sit third, 20 points behind leaders Bayern Munich - Jurgen Klopp will put all his energy on going one better in this season's Champions League.
"We have often shown the right reaction in the Champions League in the past after losing league games," Klopp said.
Dortmund came out of the group of death as winners, beating Arsenal and Napoli to first place on a better head-to-head record. Zenit had a much easier group, and finished second behind Atletico Madrid.
Manager Luciano Spalletti, though, believes his side are capable of creating a massive upset and booking their place in the quarterfinals of the Champions League for the first time.
"Dortmund are a very strong team who last year played in the Champions League final -- that says a lot," Spalletti said. "In the Bundesliga there is one team out in front -- Bayern Munich. Dortmund are fighting for second place in one of the strongest European leagues.
"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.
"The Zenit management are very ambitious people. They set high goals and we strive to meet them. I've told my players we have a rare opportunity to not just write a chapter in our history, but to put the title on the cover story of Zenit."
Team news: Zenit St. Petersburg: Danny and Christian Ansaldi are ruled out for the Russians, who will play with a section of the stadium closed as punishment for racist behaviour from their fans. Roman Shirokov is also unlikely to feature, but Salomon Rondon and Aleksandr Kerzhakov are expected to be fit after coming through knocks in training.
"Rondon trained fully and, like everyone else, is ready to take part in the game," Spalletti added on Monday. "Kerzhakov didn't finish training yesterday [Sunday] due to a back problem, but our medical staff have eliminated the possibility of anything serious."
Borussia Dortmund: Defender Mats Hummels could make a timely return from injury, but Sven Bender could be ruled out for a while after suffering a groin injury on his return from a two-week absence against Hamburg. Erik Durm is a doubt, but Marco Reus, though is expected to feature. Neven Subotic, Jakob Blaszczykowski and Ilkay Gundogan remain sidelined.
Key men: Zenit St. Petersburg: The Russian side have been on a winter break so it will be difficult for the players to get started right from the off. However, in Andrey Arshavin, Axel Witsel and Hulk, they have three readymade game-changers.
Borussia Dortmund: Reus' return will boost Dortmund no-end, while Robert Lewandowski will look to punish the Zenit backline.
Expected lineups: Zenit St. Petersburg: Lodygin; Anyukov, Lombaerts, Hubocan, Criscito; Zyryanov, Witsel, Fayzulin; Hulk, Rondon, Arshavin.
Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller; Piszczek, Hummels, Schmelzer; Kehl, Sahin; Aubameyang, Mkhitaryan, Reus; Lewandowski.
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