In 2008, Zenit made its debut in the Champions League and, following the results of the group round, went to defend the UEFA Cup, taking the absolutely expected third place in the quartet with Real, Juventus and BATE.
In winter, Zenit lost its think tank: Andrei Arshavin left to conquer Europe at Arsenal. 16 million euros came in handy: Igor Semshov, Szabolch Husti and Fernando Meira joined the team. And the two newcomers played a crucial role in the confrontation with Stuttgart, the first rival in the Eurospring.
Already in the 2nd minute, Khusti opened the scoring in the match at the frosty Petrovsky. Mario Gomez quickly responded with his accurate shot, but Anatoly Tymoshchuk scored the winning goal in stoppage time to the first half – 2:1.
Before the return game, Stuttgart was considered the clear favorite. Still with such a composition – Jens Lehmann, Thomas Hitzlsperger, Sami Khedira, Gomez, Kakau. In addition, Tymoshchuk missed the match on February 26, 2009 due to disqualification.
But where is it! At the end of the first half of the game, Semshov closed Danny’s flank pass in touch. And when the hosts equalized in the 80th minute and were preparing for the final assault, the Portuguese calmly gave an assist to Viktor Fayzulin.
Zenit scored two victories against one of the strongest clubs in the Bundesliga, which will finish in third place in the German championship and go to the Champions League next European season.
At the next stage, Dick Advocaat’s team will lose shamefully to Udinese. And Shakhtar Donetsk will eventually win the last UEFA Cup.
Yes, in 2009 it seemed absolutely normal to win both matches against Stuttgart and be sad because of the relegation from a strong Serie A team. How quickly everything changed.
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