Spartak Moscow will be looking to end an abject run of eight successive Champions League defeats when they host Sporting on Wednesday.
Spartak opened their Group B campaign with a 4-0 defeat at Bayern Munich but coach Vladimir Fedotov says his players have fully recovered from that setback. Domestically, at least, that appears to be true.
“Judging by our latest results and the quality of our play, we have put any psychological crisis behind us,” said Fedotov. “I don’t think this match is key with regard to the battle for second or third place. At this stage, every game is important and each point can turn golden in the end.”
Spartak have a doubt in winger Nikita Bazhenov, who has a lower back injury, but they welcome back midfielder Maxym Kalinichenko after suspension.
Sporting, looking to end a sequence of five straight away defeats in the tournament, will have been boosted by their opening day victory over Inter.
Coach Paolo Bento said: “The opening win over Inter was important for us and obviously a victory in Moscow will take us closer to qualifying from Group B. But we have a very strong opponent, who after an opening defeat will want to win very badly in front of their home crowd.”
The fixture is the first-ever in the Champions League to be played on an artificial pitch.
“I don’t think the surface matters too much when players are fit and working 100 per cent,” conceded Bento. “I had a walk on the pitch before the press conference and it seems of very good quality.”
Wojciech Kowalewski; Martin Jiránek, Geder, Martin Stranzl, Clemente Rodríguez; Vladimir Bystrov, Mozart, Yegor Titov, Denis Boyarintsev; Fernando Cavenaghi, Roman Pavlyuchenko. ?
Ricardo; Abel, Anderson Polga, Tonel, Marco Caneira; Miguel Veloso, João Moutinho, Leandro Romagnoli, Nani; Alecsandro, Liedson.