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By ESPN Staff

Shovkovskiy eyes knockout stage

Dynamo Kiev captain Olexandr Shovkovskiy is confident of securing the point required to reach the Europa League knockout stages at the expense of Thursday's opponents Rapid Vienna.

Rapid head to the Ukrainian capital trailing the second-placed hosts by a point, knowing they can only make it to the round of 32 with victory at the Olympic Stadium.

That is a result Shovkovskiy cannot comprehend ahead of a match in which the experienced goalkeeper looks set to return after injury.

It would be a timely boost for Kiev and boss Oleg Blokhin, with the position of the former Ukraine national team manager coming under scrutiny with Shakhtar Donetsk running away with the domestic title.

"The team are all preparing with maximum attitude," Shovkovskiy told reporters ahead of the Group G encounter. "We're getting ready to go out on the football field and get a positive result.

"I go into every game with the utmost concentration and motivation, as if that game for me is the most important thing.

"Each player carries a certain energy and going to the football field you must meet the requirements set by the management and coaching staff.

"I go to play on the football field not because Blokhin is head coach, but because he trusts me and I want to prove that his trust is well placed."

A repeat of the 2-2 draw the teams fought out in Austria earlier in the season would secure Dinamo's safe passage out of the group.

Rapid manager Zoran Barisic is well aware his side are underdogs but promised they will be ready to pounce on any mistake.

"Dinamo are the big favourites," Barisic said. "We are outsiders, we can go impartially into the match and without pressure. We can only win.

"We have a young, unblemished team at this level. This could mean that we are can cause a surprise in the game."

ends

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