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AVB appointment comes too late to save Zenit from European exit

| 19.03.2014

Borussia Dortmund are unbeaten against Russian opposition in five encounters, and are odds-on with Coral at 1/3 to defeat Zenit Petersburg and 1/50 to make the Champions League quarter-finals, as they hold a 4-2 advantage coming into the second leg.

Andre Villas-Boas will take on the Zenit job when this meeting with last season’s beaten finalists Dortmund has concluded. He is likely to have had little to no influence on proceedings, but caretaker Sergey Semak is already staring down the barrel of exiting Europe.

Wingback Cristian Ansaldi and former Arsenal forward Andrey Arshavin missed Zenit’s last outing – a loss at CSKA Moscow.

Trying to turn a tie around without the Champions League experience of the latter (Arshavin has played over 30 games in this competition, scoring four times and making twice as many assists) is a huge ask.

Jurgen Klopp is still without key players that aided Dortmund in their run to the final last term, however.

Winger Jakub Blaszczykowski and midfielder Ilkay Gundogan have undoubtedly been big misses, but Borussia coped in St Petersburg, so there is no reason to suppose they cannot get the job done at home. Sven Bender is also missing for Dortmund.

Clean sheets are not Dortmund’s forte. Klopp has seen his side keep just one Champions League shut-out in their last 11, so take odds on a home win and both teams scoring at 7/4.

Even if there is little case for the defence, back Borussia’s prolific Poland international Robert Lewandowski to fire them through this second leg. He bagged a brace in St Petersburg and has 11 in as many European outings, so odds of 5/2 on him scoring two or more against Zenit are attractive.

Although Blaszczykowski is sidelined and Marco Reus is a doubt, Lewandowski will not want for supply. The likes of fellow Polish player Lukasz Piszczek and versatile Kevin Grosskreutz have assisted goals for him in the Champions League already this term.

If Zenit are to score in the Westfalenstadion at all, then look to joint leading marksmen Hulk and Danny, who have 13 apiece in all competitions. They supplement either Jose Salmon Rondon or Aleksandr Kerzhakov in the lone striker role.

Back attacker Hulk to make this tie interesting by netting anytime at 10/3. Portugal international Danny is slightly better value at 7/2, but lacks the European goals pedigree of the Brazil regular.

Punters that fancy a repeat scoreline of 4-2 in Dortmund’s favour here can get 40/1, which is far from being so long as to seem ridiculous.

Premier League Tips
Hertha to beat Hoffenheim
Schalke to beat Dortmund
Dusseldorf to win at Paderborn


Jamie Clark

Athletics aficionado, die-hard snooker fan and Crystal Palace supporter Jamie has written for Coral since February 2014 after spells with Soccerlens and the Press Association as a digital journalist and copywriter. A former East Midlands sports correspondent and Bwin tipster, he is a graduate of both the University of York and University of Sheffield, with a Masters in web journalism from the latter.