BATE Borisov and Zenit St. Petersburg meet in Minsk on Wednesday aware that they are already playing for their Champions League Group H lives.
A 1-1 draw in Russia two weeks ago kept these sides at the foot of Group H, with BATE four points adrift of second-placed Real Madrid and Zenit five behind.
BATE coach Viktor Goncharenko admitted he had not decided upon his starting eleven.
“We have studied the opposition very closely, but that doesn’t mean I could easily tell you the Zenit starting lineup as they may make some alterations,” he said. “I still have time to evaluate my players’ fitness, to speak with them, and to look into their eyes.
“As soon as we start to set ourselves goals, things will become much harder. We would feel extra pressure. That is why we eased into our preparations and are not thinking about the group situation.”
Goncharenko, who has pledged to stay with BATE for 2009, remains without Aleksandr Ermakovich because of a knee injury, although Aleksandr Volodko could be fit to return..
Zenit coach Dick Advocaat is not planning major changes from side that earned a point two weeks ago.
“We knew what we had to do a fortnight ago and we know what we have to do on Wednesday,” said the coach. “If we create the same number of opportunities, I will be happy.
“This will be a key game for both sides,” he said. “The losing team are probably out.”