PSV Eindhoven will be banking on another strong challenge in the UEFA Champions League as they begin in Group G at home to PFC CSKA Moskva on Matchday 1.
Before the 2004/05 season PSV Eindhoven had chalked up eight campaigns in the UEFA Champions League without once making it past the group stage. They have since improved significantly on that record and will be banking on another strong challenge as they begin in Group G at home to PFC CSKA Moskva.
• Their former coach Guus Hiddink will be an interested bystander for this fixture. Now in charge of the Russian national team, Hiddink guided PSV to the semi-finals in 2004/05 where they were unlucky to lose out on away goals to AC Milan after a 3-3 draw on aggregate. It was their best showing in the European Champion Clubs' Cup since the 1987/88 season when they lifted the prized silverware, defeating SL Benfica 6-5 on penalties after a goalless 120 minutes.
• Two years ago they followed up the previous season's prolonged run by reaching the first knockout round and then last season they made it to the quarter-finals before losing in both legs to eventual finalists Liverpool FC – a team they had also met in the group stage - 3-0 at home and 1-0 away.
• That heavy reverse was in contrast to PSV’s results in the competition at their home stadium which before that game showed 12 wins and three draws in 17 outings, including qualifying ties.
• It is the third successive season that Ronald Koeman's club, who retained the Dutch title for the third season by the difference of just one goal from AFC Ajax, have started with a home tie. They drew 0-0 at home to Liverpool a year ago and saw off FC Schalke 04 1-0 the previous year.
• An unbroken run of eleven appearances since 1997/98 has helped PSV rack up participation in 12 editions. Nevertheless this is the first time they have taken on opposition from Russia in UEFA club competition.
• CSKA have faced two teams from the Netherlands before. In the 1996/97 UEFA Cup they were beaten 1-0 at home to Feyenoord with the second leg tied at 1-1. In the same competition in 2005/06 they drew 0-0 away with SC Heerenveen.
• Like the Eindhoven club, CSKA also took part in the inaugural UEFA Champions League – both sides finished bottom of their respective groups – but did not reappear again until 2004/05. That proved a memorable season because having finished third in their group they moved into the UEFA Cup, becoming the first Russian side to win a UEFA club competition with a 3-1 victory in Lisbon against Sporting Clube de Portugal.
• After a year's absence they were back in the UEFA Champions League last season where they again finished third in their section but were unable to repeat their UEFA Cup heroics, losing 1-0 on aggregate to Maccabi Haifa FC in the Round of 32. Their results in all three participations show a total of seven wins in 22 UEFA Champions League games with six draws. Their record shows little difference in home and away form; in Moscow the statistics are W4 D2 L5 while away they are W3 D4 L4.
• At least this time Valeri Gazzaev's side, who in the 2006 Russian season, retained the title by virtue of more wins than FC Spartak Moska after both clubs finished on 58 points, are not facing a trip to FC Porto on Matchday 1. That was their fate in both 2006 and 2004 but each time they returned satisfied having held the host team 0-0. In their last nine away games in the competition, including qualifying, they have only lost twice while they have recorded scoreless draws on four occasions.
• Fenerbahçe SK and FC Internazionale Milano are the other teams in Group G.