However, after two matches, Les Corbeaux (The Ravens) still find themselves without a win or a goal and are under pressure to sew up a victory. However, the Congo DR team will face an uphill battle this weekend as they travel to face Smouha, who are the sole Egyptian representatives remaining in the showpiece event of African club football.
Their opponents have very much been blowing hot and cold – losing all four matches on the road, but picking up maximum points at home in Alexandria. Smouha currently lie second in the group with three points, one point behind Al Hilal, but one ahead of Mazembe on two. Moroccan club Moghreb Tetouan, who welcome the table topping Sudanese club, are fourth with one point.
“Although we have not yet won a game, the competition remains wide open,” said Côte d'Ivoire striker Roger Assale, who left the team briefly to play for his country's U-23 side in a qualifier for next year's Olympic Football Tournament last weekend. "We still have two home games and it is in our hands. With a strike force like ours, we should score. We have to throw more into attack, continue working hard and remain united."
The match in Alexandria will see former Al Ahly coach Mohamed Youssef in charge of Smouha for the first time. The former defender, who is the club's fifth coach this season, coached Al Ahly to success in the competition in 2013. He took over from interim manager Mimi Abdelrazak, who was in charge for the first two Champions League matches.
Tetouan disappointingly gave up a two-goal half-time lead against Smouha in their opening match, before holding Mazembe to a draw. They have been struggling to find the back of the net without top striker Mouhcine Iajour, who still leads the scorer charts in the competition with six goals before joining Qatar SC a few weeks ago.
Two further Champions League-winning coaches go head-to-head in Algeria in the Group B match between defending champions Entente Setif and Sudanese visitors Al Merreikh. The home side are led by Kheireddine Madoui, who last year became the youngest coach to win the competition, while Diego Garzitto is in charge of Merreikh. The Italian-born French national coached Mazembe in 2009 when the Congo DR side won their third title. He has been in charge of numerous clubs on the continent, as well as the national teams of Togo and Ethiopia.
Surprisingly, the defending champions Setif have a negative home record in the group phase, having won just one of seven matches, drawn four and lost two. They will draw some hope for an improvement of their statistics from the fact that they are facing a team whose away record is as bad as Setif's home form. Merreikh have yet to win on the road and have just one draw to show from their four away matches in the group phase. Garzitto is hoping that his team can turn things around in Setif. "Merreikh have been making early exits from the Champions League for far too long. We achieved our first goal this year by reaching the group stage after a few scares and our next ambition is a semi-finals place," the 65-year-old said.
Both Setif and Merreikh have three points from their two games and sit three behind USM Algier, who are the only club in the group stage with two wins. USM are expected to added another three points at home against compatriots El Eulma. The second division team have lost both their matches, but came agonisingly close to snatching a draw against Setif in their last game before falling to a late goal.
Miloud Hamdi, who is coaching USM on an interim basis after Otto Pfister was dismissed a few weeks ago, has nonetheless warned his players that they need to be vigilant against El Eulma. “We should not cut corners. We are not yet guaranteed a place in the semi-finals.”