The Donbass Arena in Ukraine will be the site of the Shakhtar Donetsk vs Borussia Dortmund Champions League match on Wednesday February 13. This is the first meeting in the two-legged tie in the group of 16 showdown. Shakhtar manager Mircea Lucescu said he knows the visiting German Bundesliga team will be a handful for his players and they will have to be at their best to beat them.
Dortmund has been one of the best team in the Champions League so far this season as they finished in top of Group D in the first stage of the tournament without losing a single match. That’s not a bad feat when you consider the other clubs in Group D were Holland’s Ajax, English champions Manchester City and Spanish giants Real Madrid.
Shakhtar were no pushovers either during the group stage as they managed to come in second in their group, which included reigning European champions Chelsea of England. Chelsea didn’t manage to get out of the group and will now have to compete in the Europa League. Based on the competition and how well they performed, it’s probably safe to say that Dortmund is currently the strongest club in the tournament.
They have excellent strikers in Robert Lewandowski and Mario Geotze, with Lewandowski leading the team with four goals on the tournament so far. Willian leads the attack for the Ukrainian side with four goals and two assists in the competition, but he left the team during the transfer window. This means Luiz Adriano will need to lead the team. Each team boasts some excellent players and this could end up being the best match of the day.
Dortmund has a well-balanced team that plays very attractive passing football. Once they get on a roll they’re very hard to stop. However, Shakhtar needs to concentrate on their own strengths and play their own game to be successful. If they hope to make it to the quarterfinal stage they’ll have to stick to their game plan and use their experience and skills.
Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp knows his team didn’t win the Bundesliga championship last season by luck and will be relying on his squad to just keep playing the same way they have been for the past year. The 45-year-old Klopp has done very well with Dortmund and there are rumours that several other top European teams are interested in his services, such as Chelsea.
Klopp said he loves it in Dortmund and wants to reward the city and supporters with the Champions League trophy. His club will have an advantage over the hosts since Shakhtar hasn’t been involved in a competitive game since their last Champions League contest on Dec. 6, which was a loss to Italian champions Juventus. They have played seven friendlies though and won six of them.
But while Dortmund has been tearing up the Champions League this season they were beaten 4-1 at home by Hamburg on the weekend. They’re also 15 points behind league-leading Bayern Munich. Shakhtar will sorely miss Willian, who went to Anzhi Makhachkala in Russia. The club signed Taison, from Metalist Kharkiv and he could take his spot. Also Armenian striker Mkhitaryan has been on fire with 20 goals this year in 24 overall games.
This should be an action-filled game with Dortmund likely to win a close one.
Sportsbook William Hill has the latest odds of a Shakhtar win at 6/4 with a Dortmund victory at 6/5 and a draw at 23/10.