Saracens will be determined to close the gap on Toulouse during the back-to-back December matches but they will be without a host of frontline players. England internationals Joel Tomkins, Mako Vunipola, Will Fraser and Brad Barritt will all miss the encounter in Parma.
Fraser is the latest to join the growing casualty list with a knee injury and director of rugby Mark McCall admits it is a major blow.
"He'll be a huge loss," said McCall. "He played magnificently for the club last year, he had an operation at the end of last season and was just coming back to his best."
They will, however, have Charlie Hodgson back at their disposal. The former England fly-half missed Rounds 1 and 2 of the Heineken Cup due to an Achilles injury, but he returned to action last month and has been in sublime form while Owen Farrell has been on international duty.
Zebre have lost all eight matches in European competition to date and have conceded more than 50 points on both occasions they previously faced English opposition. But the Italians have closed the gap considerably this season and claimed a famous league win against Cardiff Blues in September.
They prepared for the clash with a hard-fought 19-11 defeat to Ulster but will be battle-hardened for the visit of Saracens.