Following a short hiatus, Champions League football is back for Juventus. Massimiliano Allegri’s Bianconeri will travel to the Gazprom Arena to lock horns with FC Zenit on Wednesday evening. A win for Juventus will almost ensure their berth in the knock-out phase of the Champions League this season.
On the other hand, Sergei Semak’s Zenit will be playing their trades to remain in the race for the top two spots in Group H. A third-place finish in the group would mean demotion to the UEFA Europa League. They will be hoping to avoid that, considering that Champions League football generates more glamour and revenue.
Having played two games so far, Juventus have started with a 100% record following triumphs over Malmo and Chelsea. Zenit’s only victory, meanwile, came against the Swedish champions on Matchday 2 — Malmo succumbed to a 4-0 defeat at the hands of the Zenitchiki.
On paper, Juventus are a much superior footballing side. And although the Russian club has recorded a poor run of form of late, losing each of their last two games in the Russian Premier League, they nonetheless represent a tricky test for the Bianconeri. On their night and in front of a raucous home crowd, Zenit can be as ferocious as the ravenous lion trying to showcase its dominant attitude to the other creatures of the jungle.
3 Zenit players who could steal the show from Juventus
Ahead of another crucial UEFA Champions League fixture, Juventini would be interested in knowing the most reputed, reliable players from the home side. Here, we will discuss the three key players for FC Zenit. Let us take a look at what Juventus could expect on Wednesday evening.
[Please note that this is a slideshow, which means you will have to press on the “next” button visible down the first page or at the top-right of the page to access the next slide.]
3. Artem Dzyuba
Artyom Sergeyevich Dzyuba, 33, hails from Moscow, Russia. 6ft 5in, Dzyuba is one of the most experienced and fierce producers in front of the goal in the Russian premier division. On the international circuit, he is a gem and celebrated goalscorer for Russia.
Emerging through the ranks of Spartak Moscow, Dzyuba left the club to join Zenit — one of the biggest clubs in the region — in 2015. And since then, he has played 224 games and scored a ton of goals (as per the stats from Transfermarkt) for the Zenitchiki.
Two-time top goalscorer of the Russian Premier League in the 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons, Artem Dzyuba is one of the key Zenit players Juventus need to be wary of on Wednesday evening. Despite growing old(er) and losing another yard of pace he never had anyway, Dzyuba remains firm and possesses the shrewdness needed to deceit the Juventus rearguard.
Furthermore, it is his muscular physicality that could pose a couple of dilemmas for the Bianconeri defence during set-piece situations.
As per FBref.com, Dzyuba tops the tally of leading goalscorers for FC Zenit, having garnered five goals and three assists from 13 appearances in all competitions. At this speed, he may not be the favourite to win the title of the leading goalscorer in the Russian Premier League this season. Nonetheless, the veteran remains a promising sharp-shooter, and Juve might get a taste of that on Wednesday.