FC Dynamo Kyiv and PSV Eindhoven go into the final UEFA Europa League matchday of 2013 on edge, looking to grab one of the last six golden tickets to the knockout phase.
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FC Dynamo Kyiv and PSV Eindhoven are yet to seal their passage to the round of 32, with Trabzonspor AŞ having emerged as the new stars of the UEFA Europa League going into matchday six.
In total, 18 sides enter the final set of fixtures already sure of a place in the knockout phase, but two-time European Cup Winners' Cup winners Dynamo and 1977/78 UEFA Cup winners PSV – the only team in the group stage to have lifted the European Champion Clubs' Cup – have work to do if they are to feature in the draw for the next two rounds in Nyon on 16 December from 13.00CET. (The eight third-placed sides in this season's UEFA Champions League groups will also be in the hat.)
Dynamo are taking on SK Rapid Wien for the eighth time in UEFA competition in Group G, knowing a home defeat would spell the end of their campaign, with their Austrian visitors primed to pounce. The situation is similar for PSV in Group B, where FC Chornomorets Odesa will look to unsettle Phillip Cocu's young team, mindful that a second home reverse in Eindhoven would send the Ukrainian club through to the next phase for their first time at their hosts' expense.
The stakes are not quite as high in Group J where SS Lazio entertain Trabzonspor AŞ, eager to steal both top spot and a home second leg in their round of 32 fixture. These sides drew 3-3 on matchday two, with those goals contributing to the Black Sea outfit's 13 in the section so far – the highest total of any team. In addition they have the group stage's joint-top scorer – Olcan Adın is level with Tottenham Hotspur FC's Jermain Defoe on five – and if they need any further motivation as they head to Rome, the game will be played on coach Mustafa Akçay's 55th birthday.
A personal milestone of a different kind is looming for striker Dimitris Salpingidis, whose PAOK FC side are locked in a battle with AZ Alkmaar for first position in Group L. The 32-year-old could make his 67th UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League appearance, moving him up to fourth spot – alongside Walid Badier – in the all-time rankings. Another goal, meanwhile, would take him to 24 – level with Mladen Petrić and Claudio Pizarro in seventh in the overall standings.