Chiefs boss Dave Rennie has admitted his side would "need a miracle" to reach the playoffs if they lose to the Highlanders on Friday.
With their provincial rivals occupying fifth spot on the overall Super Rugby leaderboard, three points better off than the Chiefs, Rennie views the Dunedin derby as a must-win encounter.
'We're in a must-win situation,'' Rennie told Stuff.co.nz.
''It's pretty much knockout footy for us already because, if you lose this game, you need a miracle so it's a big weekend and everyone's well aware of that."
Rennie lauded the Highlanders' free-running style, that which has sent them rocketing to the top end of the table out of the blue.
''They're pretty innovative, they've got a lot of pretty slick set-pieces that challenge a lot of teams, they're lethal off turnover pill and counter-attack so we need to be pretty strong in those areas," added Rennie.
''In regard to our kick-chase, we need to be accurate and keep pill and ultimately we need to be aware of those strengths that they've got because they do play some pretty attractive footy.
''We need to be a little bit slicker than we have been in the last couple of weeks [before the break] in regard to finishing off opportunities."