Barcelona v Lokomotiv Moscow
coach, Yuri Semin is aware that defeat tonight will virtually end their Chmmpions League cammpaign.
Semin is without Dmitri Loskov, his captain and playmaker, who is suspended. Vladimir Maminov is expected to take Loskov’s role, with Yuri Drozdov coming in as the defensive midfield player.
Azerbaijani international Narvik Sirkhaev is also out after limping off against Brugge last week, while Marat Izmailov faces a late fitness test but is rated extremely doubtful, meaning Vuvicevic is likely to play.
Barcelona, who lead the group with maximum points after wins against Brugge and Galatsaray, will be looking to seal qualification with a win tonight.
Coach Louis Van Gaal has stuck to the same starting eleven for the opening two wins but may be tempted to make changes tonight with Gerard Lopez and Gabri Garcia possible starters. Barce will definitely be without Argentinian forward JuanÿRiquelme who is in Buenos Aires following the birth of his child. Dani and Overmars are both out injured. Gabri may well be draftedin for Braziilian Motta.
Given the respective form of the two sides it is difficult to see beyond a victory for the visitors.
Lokomotiv: Ovchinnikov, Nizhegorodov, Lekcetho, Ignashevitch, Pachinine, Evseev, Izmailov or Vuvicevic, Maninov, Buznikin, Julio Cesar, Pimenov
Barcelona: Valdes, Puyol, De Boer, Navarro, Mendieta, Xavi, Cocu, Gabri, Saviola, Luis Enrique, Kluivert
Galatasaray v Club Brugge
Brugge have earned just one point from their first two games and lie two behind Turkish opponents but a victory tonight would change the complexion of the group.
Such a result seems unlikely, even taking into account Galatasaray’s defeat at home to Barcelona last week.
Galatasaray coach Fatih Terim willl have to do without Berkant Goktan and loan signing Mehmet Polat through injury while Mexican defender Sergio Almaguer is doubtful.
Meanwhile Brugge coach Trond Sollied looks set to make changes in what is likely to be the pivotal fixture in the group. Slovakian defender Marek Spil r is out for several weeks forcing Sollied to abandon his usual 4-3-3 formation and add an extra defender. Timmy Simons may be the man to drop back from midfield, with Alin Stoica coming into the side.
Perennnial Champions League campaigners look a good bet to take all three points tonight and although Brugge will be more than happy to emerge with a point, such an outcome looks unlikely.
Probable teams: To be announced