Two teams looking to secure their first victory of the 2020-21 Champions League group stage at the fifth attempt will lock horns on Tuesday evening as Lokomotiv Moscow play host to Red Bull Salzburg in Group A.
This week's hosts have registered three draws and a solitary defeat so far, whereas Salzburg are rooted to the bottom of the group with only one point taken from a possible 12.
Lokomotiv have certainly impressed with their performances against two European powerhouses in Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid, and the Russian outfit are still in with a shout of pipping the latter to second place in Group A.
Bayern have already secured their path into the knockout stages as they bid to defend their crown, but second-placed Atletico are only two points clear of Lokomotiv, who have held the Spaniards to two draws in the group stage.
Marko Nikolic's men are still waiting for that elusive first victory in Group A, but a narrow 2-1 loss to Bayern Munich remains their only defeat so far and Lokomotiv's tenacious and resilient nature is sure to serve them well in Tuesday's battle with Salzburg.
With Atletico facing a behemoth of a showdown with Bayern in their penultimate group-stage match, Lokomotiv will move into second before the final matchweek if they overcome Salzburg and Atletico fall to defeat against the Champions League holders.
However, victories have been hard to come by in all competitions for the Russian side, who have won just one of their last nine domestically and in Europe, with Nikolic's side playing out a 0-0 draw with Akhmat Grozny at the weekend.
Red Bull Salzburg's Champions League campaign is not done and dusted yet either, with the Austrian outfit still mathematically able to secure second spot and an unlikely place in the last 16.
However, Jesse Marsch's men would need to produce the comeback of all comebacks to somehow salvage their European venture now, with Salzburg's only point of the group stage coming in their opening-day 2-2 draw with Lokomotiv in October.
Since that four-goal thriller, Salzburg were narrowly defeated by Atletico and have been put to the sword by Bayern twice, with Marsch's side holding the unwanted record of the most goals conceded (14) in the group stage.
A victory at the RZD Arena would see Salzburg move into the Europa League spot ahead of the final round of fixtures, and the Austrian outfit will certainly be encouraged by their weekend performance against St Polten, with Marsch's men notching up eight of the 10 goals scored in that top-flight game.
The much-coveted Dominik Szoboszlai scored a hat-trick in that 8-2 victory – with two of the 20-year-old's strikes coming from the penalty spot – while Sekou Koita also bagged a trio of goals as a second-half substitute.
Lokomotiv Moscow Champions League form: DLDD
Lokomotiv Moscow form (all competitions): LDLWDD
Red Bull Salzburg Champions League form: WWDLLL
Red Bull Salzburg form (all competitions): WLDLLW
Salzburg have become renowned for their youthful attacking talents in recent years, and one of those proteges – 21-year-old Patson Daka – could make his return from injury on Tuesday.
However, Koita will certainly be expected to lead the line following his 20-minute hat-trick against St. Polten, meaning 18-year-old Karim Adeyemi – who also found the back of the net at the weekend - will likely be named among the substitutes.
Lokomotiv Moscow possible starting lineup:
Guilherme; Zhivoglyadov, Corluka, Cerqueira, Rybus; Krychowiak, Kulikov; Zhemaletdinov, Miranchuk, Kamano; Ze Luis
Red Bull Salzburg possible starting lineup:
Stankovic; Kristensen, Wober, Ramalho, Ulmer; Junuzovic, Camara; Mwepu, Berisha, Szoboszlai; Koita
We say: Lokomotiv Moscow 1-2 Red Bull Salzburg
Neither of these two teams have gone down without a fight in the group stage, and both Lokomotiv and Salzburg are sure to be going all out to register a maiden victory in the 2020-21 Champions League with a slim possibility of a second-placed finish still on the cards. This is set to be a very close game, but we think that Salzburg's youthful attack will produce the goods and propel the visitors to a narrow win on Tuesday.