AFC Champions League matchday preview

Wednesday's fixtures:

Gamba Osaka v FC Seoul
Guangzhou Evergrande v Seongnam FC
Al Ain v Al Ahli (UAE)
Al Ahli (KSA) v Naft Tehran

Gamba Osaka (3) v FC Seoul (1)

Gamba Osaka are in pole position to book their spot in the quarter-finals as they prepare to welcome FC Seoul to the Osaka Expo '70 Stadium in Suita after claiming a 3-1 victory in the first leg of the tie.

The J-League outfit have been beaten just once in their last 19 matches in all competitions and look a formidable force. In addition, Kenta Hasegawa's men have the advantage of being well rested, having not had a fixture this past weekend.

In contrast, FC Seoul are well and truly up against it. Not only do they need a win, but they need to win big. The Group H runners-up were thrown a lifeline when Yun Ju-tae found the back of the net in stoppage time in the first leg, but with more than three goals required, coach Choi Yong-soo is in for a tough night.

Guangzhou Evergrande (1) v Seongnam FC (2)

Fabio Cannavaro's struggling Guangzhou Evergrande side need will once again be without striker Elkeson and defender Kim Young-gwon when they look to overturn a first leg deficit against Seongnam on Wednesday.

The Chinese outfit has hit a rocky patch at the wrong time, and are going in search of their first victory in five matches. To make matters worse for Cannavaro, he will not only be without the injured duo of Elkeson and Kim, but also defender Li Xuepeng who was sent off in the first leg.

Seongnam have two injury concerns ahead of the fixture, with striker Hwang Ui-jo, who scored in the first leg, and defender Kim Tae-youn struggling to shake off injuries.

Kim Hak-bum's side had the benefit of rest over the weekend, and are looking to make it three wins in a row in all competitions.

Al Ain (0) v Al Ahli (UAE) (0)

A goalless draw in the first leg of this tie means that both Al Ain and Al Ahli will feel that they are in with a good chance of progressing to the quarter-finals.

Al Ain are boosted by the return of captain Helal Saeed and winger Miroslav Stoch for Wednesday's crunch clash, but enter the fixture on the back of a disappointing 1-0 defeat to Al Nasr in the President's Cup on Saturday. However, they're still likely to be on a high after securing the league title the previous week. 

Al Ahli were also involved in President's Cup action over the weekend, beating Dubai 5-3 after extra time. 

Coach Cosmin Olaroiu will have been frustrated to see his side fail to emerge from the first leg without a win after dominating for large periods, and has stressed the need to take all opportunities that present themselves. 

Olaroiu will once again be without the services of suspended goalkeeper Majed Naser.

Al Ahli (KSA) (0) v Naft Tehran (1)

Naft Tehran head to Saudi Arabia knowing that a draw will be enough to secure the AFC Champions League debutants a spot in the quarter-finals. 

The men from Iran claimed a crucial 1-0 victory in the first leg, but will be frustrated not to have scored more goals in a game that they dominated.

Last week's defeat ended Al Ahli's unbeaten run in the competition, and they are now without a win in four matches in all competition. Coach Christian Gross did not hold back in his assessment of his side's poor performance in the first leg, and the Dane knows that a similar performance will end their continental adventure.