Buoyant times for Lokomotiv, who having clinched the Russian title for the first time last week, enter unchartered territory with a place in the second phase of the Champions League.
Borussia Dortmund are the visitors to chilly Mooscow in a game that both sides must win if they harbour realsitic aspiriations of reaching the knock-out phase. Milan and Real Madrid are the other teams in the group and the best chance of either Dortmund or Lokomotiv making progress is if they get off to a flier.
Lokomotiv coach Yuri Syomin is already looking ahead to next month’s encounter with Real Madrid.
‘I am not too worried about theÿBorussia gameÿeven though they have to be taken seriously,” Semin said. “But the game at Real on 11 December will be incredibly hard for us.”
“Everyone says we should be dead tired after a long and hard season and after playing so many games in a short time, so they think we’re just going to fall flat on our faces,” he added.
Lokomotiv are still missing international midfielder Marat Izmailov, who is out for the rest of the year.
Dortmund meanwhile are in something of a slump. Four defeats in their last five games has seen them drop to fourth in the Bundesliga, a run that has prompted coach Mattias Sammer too remind his players of their responsibilities.
“We need to prove ourselves in the Bundesliga and the Champions League is a nice additional snack. Our problem has been our lack of concentration and not our lack of class. Lately, I have seen only contentment in the players. That has to change,” Sammer added.
Foor Dortmund, Brazilian defender Evanilson is doubtful with a pulled stomach muscle. Christoph Metzelderhas a thigh injury but should start as should defender Stefan Reuter who has a knee injury.
: 1-Sergei Ovchinnikov; 2-Gennady Nizhegorodov, 4-Jakob Lekgetho, 5-Sergei Ignashevich, 14-Oleg Pashinin, 16-Vadim Yevseyev, 17-Dmitry Sennikov, 8-Vladimir Maminov, 9-James Obiorah, 10-Dmitry Loskov, 11-Julio Cesar.
Borussia Dortmund: 1-Jens Lehmann; 21-Christoph Metzelder, 4-Christian Woerns, 17-Dede; 8-Torsten Frings, 7-Stefan Reuter, 5-Sebastian Kehl, 10-Tomas Rosicky; 12-Ewerthon, 9-Jan Koller, 22-Marcio Amoroso.