PSV Eindhoven will be relying on their impressive home form when they attempt to qualify from UEFA Champions League Group E on Tuesday. Opponents Fenerbahçe SK also have plenty to play for, as a victory will take them into the UEFA Cup at their Dutch hosts' expense.
Dropped to third
PSV led the section going into Matchday 5, only for a 3-0 loss at FC Schalke 04 to relegate them below the German side into third, with AC Milan taking pole position following a 4-0 success in Turkey. Still, with PSV only trailing the top two by a point, a third straight home UEFA Champions League victory will be enough for last season's semi-finalists to reach the knockout stages.
"As a team we just want to go as far as possible in the Champions League," said PSV coach Guus Hiddink, a man who knows about going all the way in this competition having guided the Eindhoven club to European glory in 1988. "We will definitely be doing everything we can to proceed into the last 16 for the second year running. That's our top priority."
The Philips stadium has been something of a fortress for PSV. Saturday's 3-0 home triumph against NAC Breda added to a run of ten wins in as many home games in all competitions. Ominously for Fenerbahçe, no visiting player has scored at PSV this term - the only time they have conceded was Alex's own goal in a 2-1 victory against SBV Vitesse in August.
Farfán on fire
The main threat to Fenerbahçe looks likely to come from Jefferson Farfán, the in-form Peruvian forward who struck a magnificent goal against NAC to take his season's total to ten - already bettering his haul for 2004/05. Farfán also registered the only goal against Milan on Matchday 4.
Experienced defender Michael Reiziger may miss out because of an ankle problem, with his likely replacement being Dutch international Theo Lucius. Both midfield prodigy Ibrahim Afellay and defender André Ooijer should shake off niggling injuries and be available for selection.
Beasley misses out
However, the Fenerbahçe game comes too soon for American forward DaMarcus Beasley. "He is only about 80 per cent fit," said Hiddink. "Since he is recovering from a hamstring injury, we have to be careful he doesn't come back too quickly and aggravate the situation, even though this is a very important match." Brazilian striker Robert may deputise.
Fenerbahçe coach Christoph Daum was upbeat about his team's prospects, even though they have lost both previous away outings in Group E. "We played very well in Milan and, if we had been a little less enthusiastic at the end, may have taken all three points," said the German. "And against Schalke, even with nine men, we made them nervous. If we can play like we did in the San Siro and make PSV nervous, we can win."
Fenerbahçe have played four matches on Dutch soil in UEFA competition, losing every time and conceding 12 goals - six of them at this venue in 1978. However, having already dispatched PSV with ease this season, 3-0 on Matchday 2, the Turkish league leaders have every right to believe they can become the first visiting side to savour success in Eindhoven this term - a feat which would ensure European football in the new year.
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