CSKA Moscow host Inter Milan in a Champions League encounter on Tuesday that could make or break their season and decide the future of their embattled coach Valery Gazzayev.
Gazzayev's job is on the line after a largely disappointing domestic campaign for the reigning champions.
CSKA are in danger of finishing the season outside of the top two for the first time in six years as they trail in fourth place, eight points behind joint leaders, city rivals Spartak and Zenit St Petersburg, with just three games remaining.
The 2005 UEFA Cup winners have also struggled in Europe this season, picking up just a point from their first two games and defeat on Tuesday will see their hopes of reaching the knockout round from a tough Group G all but disappear.
"This is a game that we must show our true character and not crumble under pressure," Gazzayev said.
CSKA hope to have their Br azilian playmaker Daniel Carvalho at full fitness after he missed nearly a year with a serious knee injury, but their first-choice goalkeeper Igor Akinfeyev is still sidelined after he tore ligaments in his left knee in early April.
Serie A leaders Inter Milan, who beat Reggina 1-0 on Saturday, welcome back defender Ivan Cordoba from his Champions League suspension but are still stretched at the back for their trip to Moscow.
Along with striker Julio Cruz, Cordoba has completed his suspension for last season's mass brawl against Valencia but defenders Maicon and Nicolas Burdisso have one and four matches left of their bans for the same incident.
Centre back Cristian Chivu is also suspended following his red card in the 2-0 win over PSV Eindhoven in the last group game while striker David Suazo is also banned after he was dismissed after the final whistle against the Dutch champions.
Defender Marco Materazzi is still working his way back to fitness following a thigh injury but Patrick Vieira has been included in Roberto Mancini's squad after making his comeback from a hamstring strain against Reggina.
Goalkeeper Julio Cesar was rested at Reggina but is set to come back in for Francesco Toldo.
Adriano, who scored Saturday's only goal, cannot play in Moscow as he was omitted from Mancini's initial Champions League squad last month.
Inter lost their opening Champions League game 1-0 at Fenerbahce with their defensive problems contributing to the defeat.
CSKA Moscow: 1-Veniamin Mandrykin, 24-Vasily Berezutsky, 4-Sergei Ignashevich, 6-Alexei Berezutsky, 7-Daniel Carvalho, 25-Elvir Rahimic, 17-Milos Krasic, 20-Dudu, 18-Yuri Zhirkov, 9-Vagner Love, 10-Jo.
Inter Milan: 12-Julio Cesar, 4-Javier Zanetti, 2-Ivan Cordoba, 25- Walter Samuel, 6-Maxwell, 5-Dejan Stankovic, 14-Patrick Vieira, 19 Esteban Cambiasso, 7- Luis Figo, 8-Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 9-Julio Cruz.