The reasons for such unusual practice circumstances was quite simple: Constant Vanden Stock Stadium, which is named in honor of the club president who took Anderlecht to a new level, in the opinion of the people of Brussels, is located in one of the tough districts of the city. The stadium, which is quite similar to the stadium in Monaco on the outside, is surrounded by car washes, two beer breweries, and a number of companies which probably only the local police know anything about.
The practice was begun, as per tradition, by Alberto Bartali. The blue-white-light blues had a fast warm-up under his guidance. The goalkeepers formed a separate practice group under the watchful eye of Mikhail Biryukov.
After a series of warm-ups the field players came together in the central circle. Not to discuss the tactical particularities of Thursday’s match, but rather to play a compact two-team game without goals, forming two groups of 8. The empty place in one of the teams was filled by Vladislav Radimov, Zenit’s manager.
After that the coaches sent the players to take shots on goal, with Yury Zhevnov, Dmitry Borodin, and Andrey Zaitsev taking turns between the posts.
The day’s work ended behind closed doors; the UEFA Europa League regulations are just as severe as the Champions League ones are. Perhaps this will be an advantage this year to teams fighting to win the trophy which Zenit once won.