ZENIT (Sporting Alert) — Javi Garcia, Axel Witsel, Hulk and Danny all start today for Zenit St. Petersburg in their Champions League Group C clash with Bayer Leverkusen.
Hulk and Danny will lineup in the attack for Zenit, while Garcia and Witsel are both starting in the midfield.
Starting as well for André Villas-Boas’ side are Ezequiel Garay and Domenico Criscito, who play in the backline.
Villas-Boas is hoping his team can go out and take control of the game, as he braces for a tough battle.
“As with the previous match, we have to keep in mind all of Leverkusen’s strengths,” the manager said. “In the first half [in Germany] we played well.
“Leverkusen exerted strong pressure and had more possession. We need to be more aggressive, to control the game.”
Former Arsenal forward Andrey Arshavin is on the bench for the Russian side.
The likes of Lars Bender, Julian Brandt, Heung-Min Son and Stefan Kiessling are starters for Leverkusen, which seeks to move even further ahead at the top of Group C.
The German club leads the group with six-points, but manager Roger Schmidt isn’t expecting an easy game.
“We know Zenit are a great team,” he said. “We also know Zenit are under pressure and that they need to win this game after losing in Germany.
“That will have an impact on this match.”
FC Zenit: Lodygin, Anyukov, Criscito, Lombaerts, Garay, Shatov, Javi Garcia, Witsel, Danny, Hulk, Kerzhakov.
Bayer Leverkusen: Leno, Spahić, Jedvaj, Ömer Toprak, Donati, Donati, Hakan Çalhanoğlu, Bellarabi, Son Heung-Min, Kiessling, Brandt.