Zenit St Petersburg are set to start favourites when they welcome Malaga to Russia for their latest Champions League fixture on Wednesday evening. The Russian side could do with a positive result to boost their ailing qualification chances in Group C, while Malaga are likely to rest a few players with their place in the last-sixteen already assured.
Malaga need just one point from their final two matches to be sure of finishing top of the group, although things are less clear cut for Zenit who would be out of the competition if they fail to win and the group's other match, Anderlecht v Milan, ends in a draw. If Anderlecht or Milan win their match then Zenit need at least a point on Wednesday to give themselves a chance of qualifying going into the final round of matches.
They can ill-afford to rely on other results though and they are 4/5 odds on to win with William Hill this week, while Malaga are 7/2 and the draw is 5/2. Despite their contrasting fortunes in the Champions League so far, Zenit look worthy favourites against a Malaga side that have failed to win any of their last four in all competitions. The La Liga outfit have suffered a real dip in form and manager Manuel Pellegrini could rest star names like Joaquin and Javier Saviola.
Malaga's slip in form has seen them drop to fifth in La Liga but they will still prove a tough nut to crack as they have lost only one of their seven European away games, conceding just four in the process, while they have only conceded five in 14 European outings overall.
Zenit have the firepower to cause the Spaniards problems though and Hulk is set to return from injury, with Hills going 5/1 that he scores first. It is the in-form Aleksandr Kerzhakov who starts favourite in that particular market though as the Russian has scored 14 goals for club and country this season and he is 9/2 to score first, while William Hill offer a tempting 5/2 for Kerzhakov to score in a Zenit win.
The Russian side, who are currently third in their domestic league, have tended to strike late in games as there have been three goals after the 88th minute, including two in the 90th minute, in their last four outings and a match goal between the 86th minute and full-time in this Zenit v Malaga fixture is a 12/5 punt.
Goals could be at a premium in the game though when you consider Malaga's fine record and the fact Zenit have kept four clean sheets in their last seven. Backing against both teams to score could be worth a look at 10/11, although it is Zenit who could hold the edge against an under-strength Malaga here. They are on a fine run of form, winning six of their last seven, and they have won 11 of their 15 European home games.
Zenit v Malaga Form
Check the season's statistics for both Zenit and Malaga, plus the odds ahead of Wednesday's match.
Zenit v Malaga Tips
Tip #1: Aleksandr Kerzhakov to score and Zenit win @ 5/2 with WilliamHill.
Tip #2: Match goal between the 86th minute and full-time @ 12/5 with WilliamHill.
Tip #3: Both teams not to score @ 10/11 with WilliamHill.
Correct Score Odds
6/1 Zenit 1-0
15/2 Zenit 2-0
15/2 Zenit 2-1
10/1 Draw 0-0
13/2 Draw 1-1
16/1 Draw 2-2
11/1 Malaga 1-0
22/1 Malaga 2-0
14/1 Malaga 2-1
First Goalscorer Odds
9/2 Aleksandr Kerzhakov
6/1 No Goalscorer
7/1 Aleksandr Bukharov
15/2 Luka Djordjevic
15/2 Roman Shirokov
15/2 Javier Saviola
15/2 Roque Santa Cruz
15/2 Vladimir Bystrov
8/1 Sergei Semak
Odds supplied by WilliamHill.com, who offer live betting in-running for all Champions League matches.
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