Real Madrid will be hoping to start their UEFA Champions League career strong when they welcome Pickhtar Donetsk to Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium.

Curtains will fall in the first round of the Champions League group stages on Wednesday, with eight matches shown. The record-winning Real Madrid will be one of 16 teams in the tournament, as they host Shakhtar Donetsk at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium in the opening game of Group Two.


Real Madrid had a somewhat wobbly start to the 2020/21 season. While Los Blancos have lost only one of their five matches so far - their last - the 13-time Champions League winners have looked their best, especially in the final third. After drawing in a tough group with Borussia Monchengladbach, Inter Milan, and Shakhtar Donetsk, they will need to find their best touch soon.




Speaking of Shakhtar, the Ukrainian champion did not make the best start to the current season either. While Luis Castro's men have yet to be defeated by six matches in the Ukrainian Premier League, they have won only three, putting them third at the table.


Real Madrid and Shakhtar Donetsk last met in the UEFA Champions League group stages in the 2015/2016 season, as the Mering won in both matches. Before the two sides' final meeting, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the showdown.


Team news and tactics

Real Madrid

Zinedine Zidane has already suffered from a number of injury concerns on his team. Ahead of Shakhtar Donetsk's visit on Wednesday, the Real Madrid coach is now hindering the fitness of Captain Sergio Ramos, as well as five other first-team players.


Ramos suffered a knockout against Cádiz at the end of last week and with El Clásico appearing later this week, Zidane chose not to risk his captain. As a result, the Real Madrid captain was excluded from the squad for the round in the match against Shakhtar.


In Ramos' absence, Eder Militao has become assured of his partner Rafael Varane in the heart of Real Madrid's defense. Meanwhile, with Alvaro Odriozola and Danny Carvajal absent, Nacho will maintain his place as a right-back for the hosts, with Ferland Mindy entering on the left flank. In goal, Thibaut Courtois is not looking.


Upfront in midfield, it may be possible to perform some rounds. Casemiro and Federico Valverde appeared on the bench against Cadiz. When Real Madrid face Shakhtar, the duo must be called up, as Toni Kroos will start next to them in a three-man unit in the middle of the park. As a result, Luka Modric will be saved from the big match this weekend.


Finally, in the attack, Zidane's big decision will be that of Karim Benzema. Zidane will likely choose to sniff his star, with Luka Jovi getting the rare opportunity to impress him. Rodrigo Joyce and Marco Asensio are expected to be widely recalled, with Vinicius Jr. and Lucas Vasquez withdrawing.


Potential line-up (4-3-3): Courtois; Nacho, Varane, Militao, Mindy; Valverde, Casemiro, Crossover; Asensio, Jovi, Rodrigo


Shakhtar Donetsk

Like his Real Madrid counterpart, Luis Castro faces a number of pressing fitness issues to deal with before his team's first Champions League encounter this season. On Wednesday, the Shakhtar Donetsk coach maybe without as many as ten first-team players.


They will certainly miss Mykola Matvienko, Sergey Krivtsov, Ismaili, Alan Patrick, Taras Stepanenko, Viktor Kovalenko, Maxim Malyshev, Tyson, Levin Konoplyanka, and Junior Moraes. Meanwhile, Captain Andrei Piatov is suspicious of a hit, but he is expected to start against Real Madrid


Pyatov will replace Shakhtar Donetsk's goal and be protected by a quadruple defense that includes Dodo and Victor Kornenko as full-backs, while Davit Khokhulava and Valery Bondar will form a central defensive partnership.


Meanwhile, with Castro favoring a 4-2-3-1 formation, the double pivot should be Maycon and Marcos Antonio, with the duo tasked with keeping things taut in the middle of the park. The creative burden falls on the shoulders of Marlos, who will be the interim attacking midfielder.


Finally, in the attack, Dentinho will lead the Shakhtar Donetsk streak against Real Madrid, playing the False Nine and looking to create space for the two broad men, who should be Manor Salomon and Tete, with Fernando and Vladislav Vakula as a backup option. On the seat.


Potential line-up (4-2-3-1): Pyatov; Dodo, Khuchulava, Bondar, Kornienko; Maicon, Marcus Antonio; Manor Salomon, Marlos, Titi; Dentino


prediction

Real Madrid 2-0 Shakhtar Donetsk

Real Madrid came to this match on the back of a surprise defeat by Cadiz at the end of last week. Ahead of the match, Zinedine Zidane will watch the looming El Clásico game later this week, and he will be keen to see his team build a much-needed opponent.

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