Borussia Moenchengladbach only need a point against hosts Real Madrid on Wednesday to book their Champions League knockout spot but coach Marco Rose warned that such calculations count for nothing against the under-pressure Spaniards.
Real, the 13-time European champions, are going through a rough patch, having dropped to fourth in La Liga, six points off the top.
They are also in third place in Group B and need a win to secure their knockout spot. A draw would require Shakhtar Donetsk to lose against Inter Milan.
“Such teams (like Real) function best under pressure,” Rose said prior to the team’s departure on Tuesday. “We also saw that against Inter Milan.”
Gladbach could have made sure of qualification last week but instead lost to Inter, desperate for a win, 3-2 at home.
“It will be a tough Real Madrid, that much is clear,” Rose said, with defenders, Ramy Bensebaini and Toky Jantschke ruled out injured and Nico Elvedi still in doubt.
Gladbach will advance with a draw and will top the group with a win. Even defeat to Real could see them through if Shakhtar earn a point against Inter.
In a tense group finale all four teams can still qualify on the final matchday, with Gladbach on eight points, Real and Shakhtar on seven and Inter a further two behind.
“Playing for a draw is never a wise decision,” Rose said. “We know what to expect and that we will need to defend really hard and with passion.
“But we also know that with our quality we will get our chances to be successful. We will try to use those. We will need a good, outstanding performance and I am confident my team can do it.”