After finishing third last season and consequently failing to qualify for the Champions League, Zenit St. Petersburg has taken its participation in #Europa League serious. The hosts are aware that success in Europa League can lead to an automatic qualification to Champions League the way it did to Manchester United last season.

Roberto Mancini's side heads into this match after a stunning home defeat at the hands of minnows, Arsenal Tula at the weekend in the Russian Premier League. The loss to Arsenal Tula was the first defeat that the five times Russian champion has tasted in the domestic league. However, the progress of the team in European competition is impressive after recording two wins out of two games.

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Rosenborg BK travels to Russia knowing well that loss to the hosts can seriously jeopardize the chances of Norwegian champions' progress into the next stage of the competition. Rosenborg BK is currently placed third in Europa League Group L standings after overwhelmingly suffering a massive 4-0 to Real Sociedad in the opening fixtures of the tournament. The Norwegian team beat FK Vardar Skopje 3-1 to earn the first maximum points in the group.

Talking points

Zenit St. Petersburg tops the Russian league with 28 points after 13 league games with Mancini's side scoring more goals and conceding fewer goals than any other Russian team. The Lions of Russia has kept its performance in Europe at 100% after recording two wins scoring eight goals while only conceding a goal in the process.

The 25 times Norwegian champions lead the Eliteserien League with a massive 54 points after twenty-five matches in the 16-team league table.

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Molde is the second team in the Norwegian top division but trails Rosenborg BK by a massive ten points.

Team news

After going two league games without victories, the Russian club heads to another European assignment where they have been impressive. Mancini is expected to stick to the squad that has so far delivered in the continental duties. Andrey Lunev will keep his position between the sticks while a quartet of Branislav Ivanovic, Miha Mevlja, Igor Smolkinov and Domenico Criscito will man the defense. Artem Dzyuba who replaced Oleg Shatov in the weekend defeat is likely to start in the midfield alongside Mattias Kranevitter, Aleksandr Yerokhin, and Daler Kuzyaev. Aleksandr Kokorin and Sebastian Driussi will lead the hunt for goals for the hosts.

After a 0-3 victory at the weekend over Tromsoe, Kaare Ingebritsen will undoubtedly maintain the squad that only took less than sixty minutes to score three goals. Andre Hansen will wear gloves for the visitors while Tore Reginiussen, Vegar Eggen Hedenstad, Birger Meling and Jacob Rasmussen will be shielding the goal area.

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Anders Trondsen will feature in midfield together with Marius Lundemo and Mike Jensen while the trio of Paal Andre Helland, Samwel Adegbenro, and former Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner will lead the attack.

Prediction

The hosts are the overwhelming favorite given that they've been regular a participant in the Champions League who only slipped to the lower European league. However, it'll be foolhardy to dismiss the visitors who have a team with an attacking prowess and experience. There will be more than three goals in the tie with no side keeping a clean sheet. Artem Dzyuba, Aleksandr Kokorin, and Nicklas Bendtner are the probable goalscorers of the night.

Prediction: Zenit St. Petersburg 3-1 Rosenborg BK #Leaders Of Russia