Due to Shakhtar Donetsk’s weekend Ukrainian Premier League match against Lviv being postponed, they haven’t played since losing 2-1 to Real Madrid last week, a damaging result for their hopes of progressing from UEFA Champions League (UCL) Group F (W1, D1, L1). That was their first loss in a competitive game since November 2021, but at least they’ll be fresh and ready to respond.
Denied the opportunity to do so in Ukraine following the ongoing Russian invasion, they’ll welcome the reigning UCL champions in nearby Poland instead. Ominously though, the only team to beat them in a UCL match in which they were the designated home side since November 2020 was Madrid, who thrashed them 5-0 in Kyiv last term (W2, D4 otherwise).
At the eighth time of asking, Madrid kept their first domestic clean sheet at the weekend (W7, D1) when beating Getafe 1-0 to go temporarily top of La Liga, something manager Carlo Ancelotti said was “very important” given how they built last season’s success on their defence. Meanwhile, their 2-1 H2H win last week was their first UCL game since April 2021 to feature a goalless second half!
Los Blancos won’t mind another dull second period if they start well, and they’ll be taking nothing for granted having been beaten 2-0 by Shakhtar – albeit in Kyiv – in January 2020. They were also held to a 3-3 draw in 2016 by Legia Warsaw at this very venue so Ancelotti will be ensuring his side focus on the job in hand rather than looking ahead to this weekend’s clash with Barcelona.