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Luciano Spalletti: Zenit's best may not be enough against Dortmund

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Luciano Spalletti: Zenit's best may not be enough against Dortmund
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Luciano Spalletti: Zenit's best may not be enough against Dortmund

Luciano Spalletti says Zenit St Petersburg is "100 percent ready" to face Borussia Dortmund, but admits that may not be enough to beat the German giants.

The Russian outfit meets Jurgen Klopp's men at Stadion Petrovskij on Tuesday in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie.

With Russia on a mid-season break, Zenit, which tops its domestic league, has not played a competitive fixture since losing 4-1 to Austria Vienna on December 11 during the Champions League group stages.

Nevertheless, head coach Spalletti insists that his players are fully prepared, but recognizes that the quality of Dortmund may prove too significant.

"Dortmund are a very strong team who last year played in the Champions League final," he told reporters. "That says a lot. In the Bundesliga there is one team out in front: Bayern Munchen. Dortmund are fighting for second place in the Bundesliga, one of the strongest European leagues.

"We're going to play one of the strongest opponents that we can possibly imagine. I don't know if our 100 percent readiness is enough for us to reach Dortmund's level. But we're going to be 100 percent ready."

The Italian believes Zenit can continue to grow in stature and eventually challenge in Europe's premier competition, adding: "The Champions League commands a lot of effort and attention and can affect the preceding game or the one that follows. We are working to keep pace and, in time, grow and improve. Behind us we have a big city and a huge number of fans who care about the club.

"The Zenit management are very ambitious people. They set high goals and we strive to meet them. I've told my players that we have a rare opportunity to not just write a chapter in our history, but put the title on the cover story of Zenit."

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