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Nicolas Lombaerts: Bruges will support Zenit

The Zenit fullback and former player of the Belgian club Ghent explained why the Europa League showdown with Anderlecht will give Zenit more fans.

– Anderlecht is a strong team which won the Belgian Championship last year, and performed well in the Europa League. Only Hamburg could knock them out at the 1/8 final. Before that Anderlecht defeated Athletic Bilbao by a score of 5:1. In a word, they know how to play football, especially at home. Moreover, it’s the most titled club in Belgium, based in the Belgian capital of Brussels. After Partizan knocked the team out of the Champions League, a lot of Anderlecht fans said they aren’t going to buy tickets to watch the team play in the Europa League. But I’m sure that the stadiums will fill for our matches, and that Zenit will have a hard time. In fact, when I was a Ghent player, we never once won at Anderlecht’s stadium, although we were able to beat them several times at home. Objectively, Anderlecht is the strongest team in Belgium. I would point out their midfielder, Mbark Boussoufa, and one of the most talented young forwards in Europe today, Romelu Lukaku, who they call the next Didier Drogba. He’s only 17 years old, but he looks a lot older. Just in general Anderlecht has a very young team, so Zenit has the upper hand in experience. I can be honest, playing away in Belgium is a very big deal for me. I want to get my first victory in Brussels. After all, I was born in Bruges, and the rivalry between these clubs and cities is just as tough as the rivalry between Zenit and Spartak. So all the Bruges fans will be cheering for me and Zenit in these matches. But we have to win at home too. I think the Belgians will take a defensive style against us, unlike in the Belgian League, where, like I said, they have no competition. It’s possible that they’ll even play with 5 defenders at Petrovsky. But I think they’ll prefer a 4-3-3 at home.