South Korea's all-conquering teams are out to maintain their blistering starts in the AFC Champions League this week, as China's Tianjin Teda look to pile more woe on struggling Melbourne Victory.
FC Seoul and 2006 champions Jeonbuk Motors are among five sides defending unbeaten records, as they bid to make it a hat-trick of Korean titles after Seongnam Ilhwa and Pohang Steelers triumphed in the past two editions.
Seoul beat Jeonbuk 3-1 on Saturday in the perfect warm-up for continental action. But both teams face testing trips to Japan, with Seoul playing Nagoya Grampus on Wednesday, while Jeonbuk are at Cerezo Ozaka on Tuesday.
Kashima Antlers return to Champions League football against Korea's Suwon Bluewings on Wednesday, after their game in the previous round was postponed due to Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami disaster.
Meanwhile Tianjin, who opened their domestic Super League campaign with a 1-0 win over Shenzhen Hongzuan at the weekend, will be hopeful of extending their perfect record when they host pointless Victory on Tuesday.
The Melbourne club are propping up the Group E after a heavy 5-1 defeat to Osaka and a 2-1 home reverse to Jeju United, and sacked long-time coach Ernie Merrick last month.
But caretaker coach Mehmet Durakovic, who has been appointed for the rest of the Champions League campaign, said Victory could bounce back quickly with a positive result in China.
"If we get a win here, it will be absolutely phenomenal for our chances to qualify in the next round, because we've got them in two weeks back home," Durakovic said.
"Having said that even a draw will put us in not a bad position. Either a draw or a win would be fantastic."
Sydney FC coach Viteslav Lavicka said his team were ready to claim their first win in Group H, despite not playing in more than a month after their March clash with quake-hit Kashima was postponed until April 13.
"We're physically and mentally ready to go," Lavicka said, according to the Sportal website.
"It's been a strange situation with the last ACL game early in March but we're ready to play and the players are looking forward to getting a good result and also a good performance."
Iran's Sepahan and Saudi giants Al Ittihad are also defending unbeaten records in groups A and C, and will take on Qatar's Al Gharafa and UAE's Al Wahda respectively.
The continental club competition has been dominated by East Asian teams in recent years with no Middle Eastern winners since Al Ittihad completed back-to-back wins in 2005.
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