Real Madrid face Ukrainian giants Shakhtar Donetsk in their 4th matchday in the UEFA Champions League. Real currently stand 2nd in their group with Sheriff Tiraspol leading the pack.
Meanwhile, Shakhtar have failed to repeat their star performances which they produced last season in the Champions League having failed to score a single goal in their last 3 UCL matchdays. However, Los Blancos come to this game having scored 5 goals in their last meeting against their Ukrainian counterpart.
Let us take a look at some of the insights before the game
- The previous five games between Real Madrid and Shakhtar Donetsk have seen a total of 23 goals scored, at an average of 4.6 goals per game. Los Blancos have scored at least four goals in all their three victories against the Ukrainian side in the competition. (4-0 and 4-3 in 2015-16, 5-0 this season).
- In their 5-0 defeat last time out, Shakhtar faced a total of 10 shots on target by Spanish giants.
- Ahead of Match Day 4, Shakhtar remain just one of the three teams who are yet to score a goal in the UEFA Champions League this season (alongwith Dynamo Kyiv and Malmo FF). Real Madrid has lost three of their last eight home games in the group stage of the UCL including their recent one against Sheriff.
We look at what Ancelotti had to say in the pre-match pressers:
On the team: “We are fine and happy. The team know’s what tomorrow’s game means. We played against Shakhtar two weeks ago and our goal is to develop a strategy to win.
The Shakhtar coach has clear ideas. The clubs he coached also have a clear identity. He is still young and has a big future ahead of him and I think he will be successful”
On injuries to the squad: “The problem with injuries is because of a problem with the match schedule. We have to deal with it.”
On Jovic: “He’s fine and happy to be here. I try to give him all the confidence I can because I love him as a striker. In front of him is the best striker in the world, Benzema. His time will surely come. He could have played against Elche but he had a small issue in his knee.”
On Hazard: “Hazard is training well. At the moment, a lot of players are not playing, but you have to believe that the opportunity will come. Mariano did not play a minute and when his turn came, he played well. This is what Hazard must do.”
On Bale: “His situation is clear, he had a serious injury and is about to return. He can return before the Rayo Vallecano game.
We are happy that Bale has been called up to his national team. If Bale plays with his national team, it will be a good thing for us because he will get game time and will get back to form”
On Asensio and Rodrygo: “Wingers are important players, each of our players has different qualities. If we have a player like Vinicius, we should not have a winger that presses a lot. With Asensio, he helps to expand spaces and push towards goal.
Rodrygo and Asensio have different qualities, Rodrygo is more like a winger. Asensio has been and will be important. I ask Asensio to enjoy his qualities. He has great shots, and although he doesn’t participate a lot, he always contributes and is an important player.
Rodrygo is out for the game tomorrow. I think he will be back after the international break.”
Above all, Real Madrid and Ancelotti know that the three golden points from the game versus Shakhtar are a must to secure their R16 qualification and keep Inter Milan (at 4 points) at bay who are also expected to come away with the win against Sheriff Tiraspol.