Episode IV is upon us! Matchday 4 of the UEFA Champions League sees the Bulls travel to Zenit St. Petersburg. The reverse fixture at home ended in a 2-1 win courtesy of goals from Konrad Laimer and Marcel Sabitzer. Julian Nagelsmann's men will be looking to build on this result and take a big step towards qualification for the knockout rounds.
We put Zenit back under the microscope in our UCL opponent analysis.
Their season so far:
Zenit are three points clear at the top of the Russian Premier League after 15 games, 10 of which they have won. They have scored 30 goals and conceded eight, meaning they boast both the best offensive and defensive record in the league.
Two of Zenit's forwards stand out in particular. First is the experienced striker Artem Dzyuba. The 31-year-old is both the top goalscorer and provider in the team. He's already had a hand in 21 goals so far this season (10 goals, 11 assits). His young strike partner Sardar Azmoun can be just as deadly. The 24-year-old has netted eight times so far this season and set up six.
The reverse fixture:
The Bulls put on a tremendous second-half display in a sold-out Red Bull Arena and climbed to the top of Group G with a 2-1 win, having been 1-0 down at half time.
Konrad Laimer was responsible for the first near miss in the first minute as he rattled the Zenit crossbar. Despite RBL dominating the opening exchanges, it was the side from Russia that opened the scoring. Yaroslav Rakitskiy found the back of the net from 25 yards out. Nagelsmann's team failed to take the rest of their first half chances and went into the break a goal down.
Laimer soon levelled the scoring in the second half after linking up nicely with Marcel Sabitzer, who then fired Leipzig into the lead with a stunning strike that earned him a 'UEFA Champions League Goal of the Week' award. Although the Bulls went on to create more chances, it finished 2-1.
RBL Reverse fixture stats
Zenit stats by comparison
Europa League 2017/18:
The two sides have met before during the 2017/18 season. After winning 2-1 at home and drawing 1-1 away, the Bulls progressed to the quarter finals of the UEFA Europa League.
Zenit St. Petersburg have been champions of Russia six times, including last season, and have won the cup four times. They have also won the Russian Supercup on three occasions.
They lifted the UEFA Cup in the 2007/08 season and the UEFA Supercup the season after.
There are currently a couple of famous faces in their squad, such as Branislav Ivanovic and Malcolm. Hulk, Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, Axel Witsel, Claudio Marchisio, Andrey Arshavin, Pavel Pogrebnyak and Martin Skrtel are all former Zenit players.
Sergey Semak (43) has been in charge of Zenit since May 2018 and won the league in his first season. As a player, he had stints at CSKA Moscow, PSG, Rubin Kazan and Zenit, where he retired from playing in 2013.
He became assistant manager at the club in July 2013 and stayed in the job until December 2016. Between 2014 and 2016 he was also assistant coach of the Russia national team. His first head job as head coach came in December 2016, when he took over at FK Ufa.
Sergey Semak's side won 20 games last season, drew four and lost six. They bagged 57 goals, the most in the league, and their 64 points secured them the championship.
- Sebastián Driussi - 11 goals
- Serdar Azmoun - 9 goals
- Artem Dzyuba - 8 goals
- Artem Dzyuba - 12 assists
- Sebastián Driussi - 8 assists
Futbolny Klub "Senit" Saint Peterburg
25th May 1925
- Club colours:
Blue & white
- Most appearances:
Vyacheslav Malafeev (414 games)
- All-time top scorer:
Aleksandr Kerzhakov (149 goals)
Pitch: 120 × 80 metres