Zenit – RB Leipzig: when only hope can save

Zenit – RB Leipzig: when only hope can save

Already tonight at 19:00 CET Saint-Petersburg Zenit will try to recoup after 2:1 away in the match against the German RB Leipzig.

Zenit and Leipzig are similar to each other if not to say more. Both teams’ sponsors are eminent transnational companies, Gazprom and Red Bull. The difference is that the Austrian manufacturer of energy drinks managed to realize the project correctly in nine years and the club has already won silver medals of the German Bundesliga. Zenit can also boast such championship results and even more. The men from Saint-Petersburg even won the UEFA Cup, however so much resources were spent on that, the Austrians would be terrified from the extravagance of the Russian industrial giant.

This season, the Blue-White Sky-Blues were led by a man, who knows these colors very well. Roberto Mancini came to the team, having dictated the terms of work in the club and the management happily provided him with everything his Italian soul desired. The habit to encourage Italian managers is not alien to Russia.

Manchester City former manager has spent 85 million Euros on the summer transfer window and purchased five footballers with Argentine passport. It was expected, that after two missed seasons in the Champions League in a row, Mancini will manage to build the offensive force and at least get a domestic championship with the Russian Cup. About his goals in the Europa League, the manager mentioned even in the day of his appointment to the post of the head coach:

“Zenit’s primary goal for the upcoming season is a successful performance in the Europa League. The team has the goal of reaching as far as it can get”.

Doubtfully, by these words “as far as it can get” the Italian meant the round of 16. His main goal in the club, which sounder like “…win, win and win again”, may even remind the style of the famous quote by Vladimir Lenin, but Mancini fails to realize it even in the championship.

After three goalless draws in a row in the RFPL, the Saint-Petersburg club has descended to the fifth position in tournament table. The Blue-White Sky-Blues are falling behind the Moscow Lokomotiv by ten points eight rounds before the end of the championship and the chances for the title are fading away.

If the championship chances are at least grounded mathematically, then the victory in the cup is not in question at all. Zenit left the tournament at the round of 32, losing to less-known neighbors of Dinamo Saint-Petersburg.

Roberto Mancini managed to disappoint fans and the management in the person of Sergei Fursenko in March already, who is still intending to wait for the results until the end of the manager’s contract with the club. The Italian continues to do his own thing and demands new transfers, thinking that this is the panacea from the devastating results of the team. After the first match against Leipzig he claimed:

“ It is hard for me to explain it in detail. It’s just that two central midfielders and four offensive players weren’t present on the pitch. We only have Paredes at the position of the defensive midfielder. I am talking about him as a player of a required role. We wanted to get another footballer with such way of thinking. But we didn’t. Only Paredes is left. And now, when he is absent, it is difficult for us as we simply do not have other players like him”.

How long will the club’s president Sergey Fursenko tolerate the team’s failed results? Will there be any fundamental decisions in the case of an unsuccessful second match with Leipzig? It is not clear. However, it became known on Wednesday, that Mancini’s dismissal by the end of the current season will cost the club 9 million Euros. The fans of the team from Neva banks should only hope, that their favorites will pass the coherent German side and fight for the second position in the championship. As apart from hope, no one can save the image of the Saint-Petersburg club.