Next Tuesday, 15th of September 2015, the all-powerful Real Madrid will entertain the Ukrainian giants Shakhtar Donetsk at the emblematic Santiago Bernabéu in the opening day of the UEFA Champions League group stage.
Cristiano Ronaldo put an abrupt end to his personal goal drought by scoring no more, no less, than five goals to Espanyol last Saturday. Real Madrid didn’t experience any major difficulty in overcoming Los Periquitos at Estadi Cornella-El Prat and ended up by winning the match 6-0, thus securing their first three points of the season outside Santiago Bernabéu. In the absence of the Colombian wonderboy James Rodriguez, Cristiano Ronaldo took the reins of the team and led them to a flawless win, turning himself into Real Madrid’s all-time top goalscorer to top things off.
Real Madrid scored 11 goals in their last two La Liga matches and have not yet conceded a single goal in the three league matches they’ve already taken part in. Step by step, Rafa Benitez is building his own Real Madrid and is also sweeping away that initial criticism that baffled him after the bland performance at El Molinon.
Next Tuesday’s match will probably not be a very easy for Los Blancos. Real Madrid and Shakhtar Donetsk have never played against each other in their history and for that reason, the upcoming match at Bernabéu will be a particularly special one for both sides.
As for Shakhtar Donetsk, after losing the Ukrainian League title last season, the Miners were forced to participate in the playoff stage of the UEFA Champions League and experienced major difficulties to overcome SK Rapid Wien in the last playoff matches. Shakhtar granted a narrow 1-0 win from their travel to Wien but the Austrian team rallied their troops for the second leg match and almost caused the Ukrainian team a major upset. The frantic clash ended in a 2-2 draw, but in the dying moments of the match, the former Chelsea’s forward Philipp Prosenik sent a ball to the woodwork in what might have been the final blow to Shakhtar’s adventure at the Champions League this season.
Shakhtar Donetsk are currently second in the Pari-Match League (Ukrainian top tier) behind their rivals of Dynamo Kyiv, who remain undefeated after seven matches.
Stats: W-3 L-0 D-2
Recent Form - WWDWD
Stats: W-3 L-1 D-1
Recent Form - WWLWD
Real Madrid (4-2-3-1) – Navas - Carvajal - Pepe - Sergio Ramos - Marcelo - Kroos - Modric - Bale - Isco - Ronaldo - Benzema
Shakhtar Donetsk (4-2-3-1) - Pyatov - Srna - Rakitsky - Kucher - Azevedo - Stepanenko - Fred - Marlos - Teixeira - Taison - Gladkiy
Injury List / Suspended Players
Real Madrid - James Rodriguez (inj) - Danilo (inj)
Shakhtar Donetsk - None
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