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Zenit Return from Winter Break in Glasgow
14 February 2018, 16:29
Zenit Return from Winter Break in Glasgow

The 2017/18 UEFA Europa League resumes on Thursday night with the first of the knockout stages.  There are some great matches to look forward to with one of the best taking place in Glasgow, as Celtic welcome Zenit St Petersburg to Celtic Park.

Celtic began the season in the Champions League and progressed through the qualifying stages to reach the lucrative group stage of the competition.  However, having been drawn with Paris Saint Germain and Bayern Munich, they were never going to finish in the top two.  They did finish above Anderlecht to seal a place in the Europa League.

Zenit started their Europa League campaign in the third qualifying round and defeated Bnei Yehuda of Israel 2-1 on aggregate.  The playoff round produces another 2-1 aggregate victory, this time over Dutch club Utrecht.

The Russians were drawn in Group L of the Europa League along with Real Sociedad, Rosenborg and Vardar.  Zenit qualified impressively at the top of the group, winning five and drawing one of their six matches.

Celtic come into this match having defeated Partick Thistle 3-2 at home in the Scottish FA Cup on Saturday.  This was the perfect response having lost 1-0 at St Johnstone in the Scottish Premier League the week before, which was only their second league defeat this season.

Celtic are undefeated in their last eight home matches, winning seven and drawing one, which was the local derby against Rangers. They have lost just three matches at home this season but they have all been in European competition.  The latest defeat came against Anderlecht in the Champions League.

Zenit have been on a winter break, so they have been playing friendly matches in a bid to keep fit ahead of this Europa League game.  The Russian season does not recommence until the 3rd March.

The Russians have done well in their friendly matches, winning five and drawing one but nothing will prepare them for what lies ahead at Celtic Park, where the home fans create a tremendous atmosphere on European nights.

Away from home in Europe this season Zenit have won three, drawn one and lost one. They were particularly impressive in the group stages and picked up a good win at Real Sociedad in their final away match of the group, defeating the La Liga club 3-1 at the Anoeta.

Looking ahead to the team news and Celtic have several players on the treatment table including Leigh Griffiths, Craig Gordon, Dedryck Boyata and Jonny Hayes.  Tomas Rogic was on the bench at the weekend and may come back into the team and loanee, Charly Musonda, has been added to the squad.

Zenit have had the winter months to get their injured players back to full fitness but still have doubts over Igor Smolnikov, Denis Terentjev and Alexander Anyukov.

Celtic’s home form in Europe has been poor this season and Zenit will see this as the perfect opportunity to record a vital win in the away leg as they return to competitive action.  Celtic may find the back of the net but Zenit should come away with the win.

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Home team - Away team Forebet
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Kairat Almaty
Sigma Olomouc

16/08/2018 15:00
X
flag_14  EL
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FK Ufa

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X
flag_14  EL
AEK Larnaka
Sturm Graz

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1
flag_14  EL
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Olimpija Ljubljana

16/08/2018 17:00
2

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Home team - Away team Forebet
flag_14  EL
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