Gamba Osaka face an uphill battle when they travel Nanjing to face a potent Jiangsu FC side in the AFC Champions League on Tuesday.
The hosts already find themselves five points clear at the top of Group G after three consecutive victories at the start off their 2017 Champions League campaign.
One of those wins came away from home against Gamba, and the job certainly won’t be any easier for the J1 League outfit on Chinese soil.
Jiangsu have been so dominant in their group that they could seal their qualification spot into the next round with two games to spare should they come out on top on Tuesday.
Gamba can perhaps take heart from the fact that, while Jiangsu have been flawless on the continent, the same can not be said for their progress in the Chinese Super League. With just one point from the opening four games of the season, they find themselves dead last on the table.
Their Japanese opponents will be hoping to seize on some vulnerability or chink in the armour, even if it has hardly been apparent in the Champions League to date.
Indeed, Jiangsu have only lost one of their last 10 games in the continental competition, a stellar return by any measure.
In contrast, Gamba have been pretty solid in the J1 League, lying fourth after six games, but have struggled to translate that form into Champions League points, winning only one of their last 11 ties.
They will also have to try and bounce back from a 1-0 defeat to Sanfrecce Hiroshima on Friday.
They shouldn’t lack any motivation as there is certainly a lot still to play for. While Jiangsu appear to have first place in the group all but sewn up, the second qualification spot is still very much up for grabs.
Gamba trail second-placed Jeju United by just one point with three games left to play.