PSV can end long Dutch wait in Champions League
EINDHOVEN: PSV Eindhoven will advance to the knockout stage of the Champions League if they finish their Group B campaign with home success over CSKA Moscow on Tuesday. More than that, they can end a long spell of disappointing returns for Dutch football.
Victory will put the 1988 European champions through to the knockout phase for the first time since the 2006-07 season, when Liverpool eliminated them at the quarter-final stage. No club from the Netherlands has been to the knockout phase since.
Coach Phillip Cocu played for PSV that year and said on Sunday he would be using the experience gained then in his coaching preparations for the visit of Russian side to the Philips Stadium.
"What you learned as a player, you certainly take into your coaching. That experience will help in the planning of how we approach this game, how we deal with the pressure and in figuring out what scenarios we might face," Cocu told reporters.
His first priority will be to ensure his side shrug off some inconsistent domestic form. PSV needed a last-gasp winner on Saturday to overcome Vitesse Arnhem and are four points off the pace in defending their Dutch league crown
But he can point to success in PSV's two previous home matches in Group B over Manchester United and VfL Wolfsburg.
Their fate is in their own hands even though they start match day six in third place in the group, two points behind Wolfsburg and one behind United.
A draw could even be enough to advance as long as Wolfsburg beat United but defeat could see PSV finish last, ruling them out of further European competition this season.
CSKA Moscow's Champions League hopes are over but if they win, they will qualify for the Europa League.
CSKA, though, have been in a slump, suffering three defeats in their last four domestic games, with their last win coming at the end of October.
"Our run of poor form is continuing, I would say we are in a crisis," CSKA coach Leonid Slutskiy admitted.
The Russians will be without a number of key players for the trip to the Netherlands, with Vasili Berezutski, Georgi Shchennikov and Roman Eremenko staying in Moscow.
Goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev will be looking to break an unwanted milestone. The 29-year-old has conceded in his last 36 matches in the Champions League stretching back nine years.