Masandawana’s Premier Soccer League (PSL) title aspirations were dealt a blow by Bidvest Wits on Monday.
The Tshwane giants know that victory is essential against the Rustenburg-based outfit if they are to remain within the arm's length of the Students.
Going into the clash, Sundowns’ coach Pitso Mosimane may choose to rotate his starting XI as fatigue appears to be seeping into the squad.
The match in Tshwane will be Sundowns’ second game in the space of three days, and Mosimane may have one eye on Sunday’s crunch encounter against Orlando Pirates.
Meanwhile, Sundowns will be without fullback Fares Hachi. The Algerian wingback, who came on as a second half substitute against Wits, was given his marching orders after picking up two yellow cards in quick succession, much to the disappointment of his coach.
Nonetheless, the clash will not be a one-way traffic, especially because Dikwena still hold top eight ambitions, and a positive result on Thursday will also go a long way in securing their safety in the top flight.
Recent results have not been too kind to Stars, who are winless in their last five league encounters and go into the clash on the back of a disappointing 2-0 loss to Ajax Cape Town.
Despite Stars’ poor run of form, Cavin Johnson is refusing to press the panic buttons, but he knows that they will have to treat their remaining games as cup finals, starting with Thursday's encounter away to the defending champions.
“We have got to pick up our socks and make sure that when we go to Sundowns we fight as hard as we can to come away with a point,” Johnson told the club’s website.
“We got to be cautious and try get away with a point because they are in the running to win the league again,” Johnson concluded.
Sundowns will look to avoid another slip up against Stars, but the African champions will take solace from the reverse fixture between the two sides.
When the two sides met in February, it took a late Khama Billiat strike to separate the two teams.
With so much at stake, the match is destined to be a tightly contested encounter and certainly one of the matches that could blow the title race wide open.