It is 33 degrees, the pitch is poor and there is a three-hour time difference.
But Aberdeen manager Stephen Glass is not interested in hearing any excuses as he bids to set-up huge Conference League tie at Pittodrie next week.
The Dons arrived in Azerbaijan late on Tuesday to prepare for their vital match against Qarabag at Tofiq Bahramov Stadium in Baku on Thursday (5pm).
The first leg promises to be a challenging one on several fronts, but Glass is confident his side can overcome them all.
He said: “The one thing this group doesn’t do is look for excuses. On Sunday, we didn’t do enough to win the game but we didn’t look for excuses.
“The pitch might not be great here but we’ve got a group who can win the match.
“It’s 33 degrees, so it’s warm. We landed last night at what would be the tail end of the game and it wasn’t too warm. It is humid, but once the sun goes down it helps.
“It’s going to be hotter than we’re used to, but they are also playing in the heat so that will dictate the pace of the game at times.
“In terms of the pitch we’re training at kick-off time so we’ll get a feel for the pitch and the temperature, so we’ll be as well prepared as we can be.
“It’s the same stadium and pitch from a week ago, so I don’t see there being much difference. I don’t know if it is one of those pitches which starts flat then has divots all over the place as you play, but it looks that way.
“But it is the same for both teams. If it is purely physical, we’ll be ready for it and, if we can play, we’ll play. We have a group capable of mixing it.”
Qarabag have a strong European pedigree
Qarabag boast a pedigree of having competed in the Champions League and Europa League group stages in recent years, but Glass is unsure how big a challenge they will pose his side.
The hosts started their domestic season with a 1-1 draw at Zira on Sunday and the Aberdeen manager says it has been difficult to make a proper assessment of their qualities.
He said: “It’s hard to say, because anytime you watch them they’re either playing teams you’ve not seen before or they’re in their own leagues.
“It’s difficult to quantify the level they’re playing at, but what I would say is they have a group of players that includes at least ten Azerbaijan internationals.
“You’re playing against a group of good experienced players who know how to win games. They wouldn’t be in this play-off if they didn’t know how to do that.
“We feel it’s a game we can win having watched them. I know they’ll feel the same, but it’s not a game we go into thinking we could be in big trouble here as long as we play well.
“If we control the game and dictate it where we can and still be a threat, I think we’ve got a chance of making progress.”
Whatever happens in Baku, Aberdeen’s hopes of reaching the group stages of European football for the first time in 14 years will rest on events at Pittodrie next week.
Glass is focused on ensuring the task facing his side in front of their own fans is not a forlorn one.
He said: “The number one priority is to make sure the game is still alive when we come back to Aberdeen.
“The game is going to play out how it plays out. You don’t know the opponent truly until you start feeling it. We think we’ve got a group of players who can go there and win.
“That statement makes it sound as though if we’re beat we’re okay. We’re going to try to win the game. Whether that’s late in the game we go and try win it, or go all out early on.
“We’ll get a feel for the players in training and see how tactically we approach it and see how the players are feeling and looking after the travelling as well.
“The tie must be alive when we come back to Aberdeen and that’s in our favour.
“That might be winning the game, nicking a draw, a very narrow defeat. We’ll see. But if it’s alive when we go back to Aberdeen, we believe we’ve got a group who are capable of winning.
“We also believe we can win both games, but they’ll think the same for sure.”
Financial and competitive incentives at stake for Aberdeen
The manager hopes that will in turn lead to him being able to strengthen his squad further, but the challenge of competing against clubs in European club competition until at least Christmas is his overriding motivation.
Glass said: “I didn’t want to talk about it before the other games because we weren’t at this play-off stage. But I think the enormity of the game was there.
“Group stages until Christmas means a lot to the club and the fans. But the players want to play in those games as well, so there’s a hunger to get to that stage.
“We need to look after business on Thursday night to make sure come next Thursday we’ve got an opportunity in Aberdeen to make it a reality.
“It would mean a hell of a lot to get into the group stages. It is difficult and there’s a reason it’s not happened for 14 years or so.
“We’re aware of that, but we do believe we’ve got a group who can do it.”