Shaken Dortmund has tough trip to Russia

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 24, 2014 at 6:12 am •  Published: February 24, 2014

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Borussia Dortmund, last season's runner-up, has reached the knockout stages of the Champions League in two successive seasons for the first time in 16 years. Supporters hope history repeats itself as the last time this happened, in 1996-7, the club went on to win the trophy under Ottmar Hitzfeld. Dortmund travels to St Petersburg for Tuesday's match without several injured stars.

Zenit qualified for the knockout phase for only the second time, with six points, a record low tally for a Champions League group stage. Zenit drew all three home matches.

Here are five things to know about Tuesday's match:

DORTMUND'S INJURIES:

Dortmund has been trying to deal with injuries to some of its top players all season and suffered another blow over the weekend — on top of the 3-0 loss in Hamburg — when influential midfielder and Germany international Sven Bender was ruled out for 10 weeks with a groin injury.

Striker Robert Lewandowski is battling a cold, and defender Mats Hummels remains doubtful with a strain in his right foot.

Midfielder Jakub Blaszczykowski and defender Neven Subotic are out for the season and midfielder Ilkay Gundogan remains out with a back problem.

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WINTER BREAK:

Technically, Zenit is still on the winter break as the Russian league waits for the spring thaw to resume. The team has been training and playing friendlies in warmer climates. The Russian side has not played a competitive match since the 4-1 group stage loss at Austria Vienna on Dec. 11.

Former Bayern Munich player Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, who is now with Zenit, believes this gives Dortmund an edge, although he also thinks that Dortmund is not what it was last season.

"It is not the same team that reached the final last season. They were much stronger then. Their advantage is the fact they will be in the middle of the season by the time our tie takes place. Their players will be in good shape for sure," the midfielder said.

Zenit coach Luciano Spalleti has seen Brazil striker Hulk score regularly in friendlies and reliable goalkeeper Vyacheslav Malafeev is back after injury.