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Russian champions Zenit St. Petersburg face the German side Bayern Munich
Russian champions Zenit St. Petersburg face the German side Bayern Munich at home on Thursday evening in the second leg of a UEFA Cup semi final that could see them reach the final of a major European competition for the first time in their history.

The first leg in Germany a week ago saw Zenit, financed by Russian energy giant Gazprom, pick up a valuable away goal in a 1-1 draw.

However, their star player and captain, Andrey Arshavin, picked up a yellow card during the game that will see him miss today's match. Zenit also have also suffered critical losses to their defensive line with Radek Sirl and Fernando Ricksen also suspended and Nicolas Lombaerts and Kim Dong Jin injured.

The side's Dutch trainer, Dick Advocaat, dismissed the losses, however, saying "There is no sense talking about the players who are not here. We must speak about the players who will play. The key thing is that we go out feeling we can do something."

A 0-0 draw would be enough for Zenit to progress, but the club's captain, Ukrainian international Anatoliy Tymoschuk said that the side would not be playing for a goalless draw. "We will have no thoughts about a goalless draw. A side that goes out thinking about a draw cannot achieve a positive result."

Bayern are strengthened by the return of their Italian star Luca Toni, who missed the first leg.

"We need to pay attention not just to Toni, but to the whole Bayern side. They have a lot of star players and we need to contain them all, otherwise we'll be in trouble," said Advocaat.

Zenit are looking to become the second Russian side to lift the UEFA Cup in the last four seasons following CSKA Moscow's 2005 victory. If they make it to the final they will face either Scottish side rangers of the Italians Fiorentina, who played out a 0-0 draw in Glasgow in the first leg of their semi-final encounter. The final is to be played in Manchester on May 14.

Today's match comes on Russia's May 1 national holiday and a sell out is assured. Kick off is at 8.30 p.m. local time (4.40 GMT). The game will be shown live on Russia's Sport channel.


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