Manchester City will have to proceed with caution after making the 2,800-mile round-trip to face Ukrainian champions Dynamo Kiev in their last-16 first leg match in the UEFA Champions League.
Whilst the Citizens managed to avoid the more obviously challenging draws of teams like Paris Saint-Germain or Roma, their hosts on Wednesday are still likely to be a tricky opponent who can cause problems.
Dynamo knocked City out of the Europa League five years ago and, although the Premier League side are a far different prospect to face nowadays, they will be wary of the team that beat Everton 6-4 on aggregate in the same competition last season.
Ukraine international Andriy Yarmolenko is undeniably their star player, but the forward is not the only one that City should look out for. Midfielder Miguel Veloso is a highly-experienced Portugal international, whilst Austrian centre-back Aleksandar Dragovic has been linked to Chelsea and Manchester United in recent seasons.
But City know they will have to succeed in difficult games like this if they want to achieve their ambition of winning the Champions League, and a positive result in the Ukrainian capital will boost their chances of going through to the quarter-finals.
While they will definitely miss the mercurial Kevin De Bruyne through injury, Manuel Pellegrini will be able to call upon the experience of Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany, David Silva and top scorer Sergio Aguero, who were all rested for the 5-1 thrashing at the hands of Chelsea in the FA Cup last Sunday.
Manchester City’s congested fixture list means that their squad is a little bare at present; De Bruyne, Fabian Delph and Samir Nasri are all out of the game in Ukraine, whilst Wilfried Bony and Bacary Sagna are unlikely to play the full 90 minutes.
After heavily rotating his side for the FA Cup game against Chelsea, Pellegrini is likely to make heavy changes from the side that were beaten at Stamford Bridge.
Dynamo Kiev, on the other hand, have not had a competitive game since their group stage win over Maccabi Tel Aviv in December, and have been playing friendlies to keep match fitness up over the winter break.
During the January window they loaned out two players to the Bundesliga, as Younes Belhanda and Artem Kravets joined Schalke and Stuttgart respectively until the end of the German season, whilst former QPR, Tottenham and Portsmouth midfielder Niko Kranjcar was released.
Group Position: Dynamo Kiev – 2nd (Group G – 11 pts); Man. City – 1st (Group D – 12 pts)
Previous Meeting: Man City 1-0 Dynamo Kiev (March 17, 2011)
Form: Dynamo Kiev – WWWWWW; Man City – WWWLLL
Key Men: Dynamo Kiev – Andriy Yarmolenko; Man City – Vincent Kompany
Shoot Says: Dynamo Kiev 1-1 Manchester City