Kyiv/Madrid, Nov 30 (efe-epa).- Neither Shakhtar Donetsk nor Real Madrid head into Tuesday evening’s Champions League clash in the best form and neither has much room for error, especially the Ukrainian side if they are to progress to the last-16, something that for the Spanish giants is almost obligatory.
Shakhtar’s surprise 2-3 victory at the Alfredo di Stéfano Stadium in the first-leg derailed Zinedine Zidane’s plans, although Madrid went on to beat Inter Milan twice, which means they can make it out of the group stages with a win tomorrow.
A win for Madrid in Kyiv on Tuesday (Shaktar are unable to play at their home stadium due to the war in eastern Ukraine) would put their minds at ease before a final group stage game against Borussia Mönchengladbach.
But the outcome is tough to call, given the rocky track record from the Spanish LaLiga side this season so far.
A draw would also be enough for Zidane’s men on Tuesday, but then everything would depend on them winning the final game against Mönchengladbach.
A loss, however, would throw a spanner in the works — they would be level on points with Shakhtar but behind in the table given the Ukrainian team would have beaten them twice.
Zidane will be hoping he doesn’t have to entertain such a scenario, despite a plethora of injuries.
Sergio Ramos, Fede Valverde, Eden Hazard, Santi Carvajal and Álvaro Odriozola are all ruled out while Luka Jovic is in isolation after testing positive for Covid-19.
One good piece of news for the French coach is the return of Karim Benzema, although it remains to be seen whether the habitual striker will be match fit. Mariano stood in for the Frenchman and performed well, bagging a goal against Villareal.
Shakhtar Donetsk are in poor form. The Ukrainian side were hammered by Borussia Mönchengladbach 0-6 and 4-0 in their games against the group’s leaders.
Whatsmore, the team is far removed from the one that caused the upset in Madrid, which was the last time they won in this year’s Champions League.
According to their manager, Luis Castro, the players has still not properly recovered from the bout of coronavirus that left many self-isolating away from the action for weeks.
The players have all tested negative since.
Shakhtar beat Dnipro-1 in the Ukrainian league on Saturday thanks to a Tete goal in the 88th minute.
Shakhtar have four points in the group stage thanks to their win against Madrid and a draw against Inter.
Nothing more than a win will do for them on Tuesday.
The possible line-ups at the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kyiv are:
Shakhtar: Pyatov; Matviyenko, Bondar, Krivtsov, Dodo; Patrick, Stepanenko; Marlos, Solomon, Tete and; Moraes.
Real Madrid: Courtois; Lucas Vázquez, Varane, Nacho, Mendy; Casemiro, Kroos, Odegaard; Rodrygo, Mariano y Asensio.EFE-EPA