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Striker Danny Koevermans believes PSV Eindhoven could be hitting form at just the right time as they face PFC CSKA Moskva in UEFA Champions League Group G on Tuesday.
PSV's 4-1 win at SC Excelsior on Saturday was their first under new coach Jan Wouters and ended a run of three games without victory, including the 2-1 loss at SC Heerenveen on 3 November which inaugurated Wouters' regime. "The victory was important to end the negative spiral," said Koevermans, whose side are one point off the Eredivisie summit.
The weekend win also continued a positive trend for Koevermans: the 29-year-old scoring his seventh league goal in only his tenth appearance since joining from AZ Alkmaar. PSV will be hoping that the forward – who also celebrated his first start for the Netherlands with the only goal of their recent UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifying success against Luxembourg – can carry on firing.
The Dutch title-holders need a win to maintain their UEFA Champions League challenge. And with second-placed Fenerbahçe SK four points above his team, and boasting a better head-to-head record from the two clubs' Group G meetings, Koevermans concedes that third position and UEFA Cup qualification might be a more feasible ambition. "We have to be realistic," he said. "At the moment we would be happy to finish third in the group. That in itself will be hard enough to achieve."
CSKA captain Sergei Ignashevich concurs. The Russian side can no longer make the knockout stage, but a UEFA Cup ticket remains a possibility. "PSV still have a chance of getting through the group, which shows how strong they are," said Ignashevich, whose team trail PSV by three points. "I know the pitch at the Lokomotiv Stadium is far from ideal, so physical strength, determination and character will be key. The individual quality of the players is not as important."
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