Gregorio Manzano's men maintained the seven-point gap between first and second with a 2-1 victory over Guizhou Renhe on Monday, but this weekend's meeting at Shandong Luneng represents their one game in hand over the leaders.
Shandong have slipped to seventh in recent weeks after picking up just one win from their last eight league fixtures.
However, that solitary victory was a thumping 4-0 win over Shanghai Shenxin, so Guoan will be well aware of their hosts' attacking capabilities on home soil.
Guoan have won four of their last five in the league, and picked up a 3-1 win at Shandong last term, before suffering a 3-0 defeat in the return fixture.
While Guoan are seven points off top spot, they hold exactly the same margin over the third-placed Shanghai SIPG, who host Dalian Aerbin this weekend.
And Shanghai SIPG should be more than confident of picking up a third successive win.
Aerbin have been among the poorest performers in the division of late, losing their last two home matches to take their winless streak in the league to six.
Guangzhou R and F will be aiming to bounce back from a shock 4-0 defeat to lowly Henan Jianye last time out as they host Changchun Yatai.
The bottom-placed Harbin Yiteng have failed to kick on from their 2-0 win over Shandong at the end of last month, picking up just two points from their next four fixtures.
They are at home to Hangzhou on Monday, while fellow relegation candidates Liaoning Whowin - winless in nine - are at Tianjin Teda a day earlier.
In the weekend's remaining fixtures, Guizhou Renhe play host to Henan Jianye and Shanghai Shenxin visit Jiangsu Sainty.
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