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By Jules Marshall
With their opponents having successfully retained their Norwegian title at the weekend, PSV Eindhoven are expecting to find Rosenborg BK in determined mood as they travel to the Netherlands for Tuesday's UEFA Champions League Group E game.
Plenty has changed since PSV won 2-1 at the Lerkendal on Matchday 3 to move to the top of the Group E table with six points. Rosenborg coach Ola By Rise has announced his decision to step down, the club have clinched a world-record 13th successive Norwegian title, and now they are seeking to make strides in Europe.
PSV coach Guus Hiddink was well aware that, despite having won in Trondheim, PSV would still need to be at their best to get a similar result at the Philips stadium. "Just because we won in Norway that does not mean that we will be able to freewheel tomorrow," said Hiddink.
A goalless draw at FC Utrecht at the weekend did not threaten PSV's place at the top of the Eredivisie, but Hiddink was well aware that it would take plenty more concentration to ensure that his side made it to the final 16 of the Champions League.
A win against Rosenborg would push them a step closer to the knockout rounds but, as Hiddink was at pains to remind his team, nothing is certain yet. "Statistically, we would have a good chance of going further, but remember:
PSV got ten points in last season's Champions League and still failed to progress to the knockout stage."
Korean Ji-Sung Park will be suspended for the game after being dismissed in Norway for two yellow cards, but on the plus side, Brazilian defender Alex and captain Mark van Bommel are both likely to return from injury. "They are both players with a lot of character and we will need this tomorrow," said Hiddink.
By Rise praise
By Rise is already convinced that PSV have character enough. He was glowing in his praise for the Dutch team, saying: "PSV look good, and beat us at home in a game that had 1-1 written all over it. That makes it hard for us to go through. However, if we win - and we have to win tomorrow - we might still make it."
Having gained just one point from their last 14 away games, that does not look likely, and should they lose their third game of the campaign on Tuesday, Rosenborg would have little chance of reaching the last 16, and would be scrapping for a place in the UEFA Cup.
A third-placed finish would be little comfort for the 43-year-old By Rise, who has agreed to step down from his post after the final game of his side's group stage campaign. The club have yet to announce a replacement for the man who played a record 457 matches for Rosenborg.
His side had been accused of lacking spirit and cohesion as they battled Vålerenga IF for the Norwegian title, but they proved their worth at the weekend, winning 4-1 thanks to a Frode Johnsen hat-trick which helped them snatch the crown from their rivals on goal difference.
However, the celebrations were a little muted after Vidar Riseth left the field with an achilles tendon problem. He will definitely miss Tuesday's game, along with Christer Basma and Ørjan Berg, both of whom are unlikely to play again this season.
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