Anderlecht vs. Zenit St. Petersburg, 2012 UEFA Champions League: Preview and TV schedule


Zenit will be looking to save their Champions League hopes with a win but they'll to do it without their leadings scorer Hulk who is out injured.

Someone might want to let these two teams know that the Champions League has started, and that they are quickly running out of time to avoid being relegated to the Europa League, or worse, out of Europe all together. If someone wants to win today, one side will have to overcome their own ugly statistic.

Zenit haven't won an away match in the UCL in their last seven attempts (two draws, five losses), while Anderlecht haven't won a UCL match at home in their last ten tries (two draws, eight losses). If anyone wants to improve their fate, they're going to need to win, something neither team has shown the ability to do lately in this situation.

There is pressure on both sides, but it's undoubtedly much heavier on Zenit. The Russian side spent a ton of money this summer to bolster their roster just for the Champions League and so far, it's not working. Things are just going to get harder with the news that Hulk, one of the big signings, will miss today's match after suffering a thigh injury against Rostov in league play. It's a massive blow for the Russians and not the kind of situation you want to be dealing with ahead of what's really a must-win game.

Anderlecht weren't expected to get out of this group and after a single point from three games, they probably won't. There's always pride of course and the outside chance that Zenit could continue to struggle and a spot in the Europa League could be in play. Of course, John van den Brom could decide that winning the Belgian League is more important and field a less than full strength side today, or at least rest a few players.

Anderlecht injuries and suspensions

Out: Olivier Deschacht (leg), Ronald Vargas (knee). In doubt: Behrang Safari (muscle).

Zenit St. Petersburg injuries and suspensions

Out: Hulk (thigh). In Doubt: None.

There's not way around it, losing Hulk is a massive blow for Zenit. He's their leading scorer and they really don't have anyone comparable available to replace him. For Anderlect, Safari should be available after leaving their match against Mechelen this weekend with a knock.

Match Date/Time: 10:45 p.m. local, 2:45 p.m. ET

Venue: Constant Vanden Stock Stadium, Brussels, Belgium

TV: DirecTV (U.S.), Sky Sports Red Button (U.K.)

Online: FOX Soccer 2 Go (U.S.), Sky Sports Interactive (U.K.)

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