Shakhtar Donetsk welcome Real Madrid to Ukraine for a potentially pivotal Group B game with three points separating the sides.
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Shakhtar Donetsk sprang a major surprise at Real Madrid on Matchday 1 and will look to repeat the trick in what is a potentially pivotal Group B game in Ukraine.
• Shakhtar kicked off the 2020/21 UEFA Champions League with a famous victory in Spain, establishing a 3-0 half-time lead thanks to Tetê, a Raphaël Varane own goal and Manor Solomon and holding on despite second-half strikes from Luka Modrić and Vinícius Júnior.
• The Donetsk club have taken only one point from their three subsequent fixtures, however, and sit third in the standings, two points ahead of Internazionale but three behind Madrid, with Borussia Mönchengladbach a point further ahead; an away win in Kyiv would therefore secure Madrid's place in the last 16.
• The sides' only fixtures before Matchday 1 came in the 2015/16 group stage, Madrid winning 4-0 at home and 4-3 away. Karim Benzema opened the scoring at the Santiago Bernabéu, with Modrić and Dani Carvajal both on target in Lviv; Madrid's other five goals across the two games all came from Cristiano Ronaldo, Dentinho scoring one of Shakhtar's goals.
• Madrid finished first in the section on 16 points, with Shakhtar third having picked up just three. Zinédine Zidane's side went on to claim the club's 11th European Cup that season.
• The Pitmen have not scored since that win in Madrid, being held 0-0 at home by Inter in their second fixture before a 6-0 defeat against Mönchengladbach that was their record home loss in UEFA club competition. They went down 4-0 in Germany last time out, ending their six-match unbeaten away run in Europe (W3 D3).
• Shakhtar qualified as winners of the Ukrainian league, claiming the title for the 13th time – and fourth in a row – in 2019/20.
• UEFA Champions League quarter-finalists in 2010/11, Shakhtar are in the group stage for the 15th time and have progressed no further on ten of the previous 14 occasions, including the last two.
• Shakhtar finished third in their section in 2019/20, a 3-0 Matchday 6 defeat at home to Atalanta sending them into the UEFA Europa League. The Donetsk outfit picked up six points in last season's group stage to finish behind Manchester City and the Italian club.
• Luís Castro's side went on to beat Benfica (2-1 h, 3-3 a) and Wolfsburg (2-1 a, 3-0 h) over two legs in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 and 16 respectively before defeating Basel 4-1 in a one-off quarter-final in Gelsenkirchen, but Inter proved too strong in their semi-final, running out 5-0 winners.
• Despite their opening victory in Madrid, Shakhtar have won only three of their last 17 UEFA Champions League matches (D7 L7).
• A 2-1 victory against Benfica in last season's UEFA Europa League round of 32 first leg ended Shakhtar's seven-game winless run in home European fixtures (D4 L3), and is one of only two wins in their last 11 home matches (D5 L4), though they won four in a row prior to that sequence – all in the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League.
• The Donetsk club's home record in last season's UEFA Champions League group stage was D1 L2, with those two losses, against Manchester City and Atalanta, both by a 0-3 scoreline. This season's results have extended their winless home run in the competition to eight matches (D4 L4), since a 2-1 victory against Roma in the 2017/18 round of 16 first leg – a tie they went on to lose on away goals.
• The win in Madrid was only Shakhtar's sixth in their 26 meetings with Spanish clubs (D6 L14), and their fourth away win in their last eight visits.
• Shakhtar have won only two of their 12 home games against Liga visitors (D4 L6), most recently going down 2-0 after extra time against Celta Vigo in the 2016/17 UEFA Europa League round of 32 second leg (1-2 aggregate) to make it three defeats in their last four home matches against Spanish sides (D1).
• Madrid took only one point from their first two Group B games; they looked set for a fourth consecutive European defeat for the first time in their history when they trailed 2-0 at Mönchengladbach in their second fixture, but late goals from Benzema (87) and Casemiro (90+3) came to their rescue. Zidane's side then recorded their first win with a 3-2 defeat of Inter in Madrid before a 2-0 victory in Milan.
• Spanish champions for a record-extending 34th time in 2019/20, this is Madrid's 25th UEFA Champions League campaign – a joint record along with Barcelona. They have qualified for the knockout rounds in all of their 25 seasons, also a competition best.
• This is the 13-time champions' 51st European Cup campaign, more than any other side.
• Madrid have finished second in their group three times in the last four seasons.
• In 2019/20, Zidane's side were runners-up in their section behind eventual finalists Paris Saint-Germain, finishing on 11 points, five fewer than Paris. Their campaign came to an end in the round of 16 as they lost 2-1 home and away to Manchester City.
• Having reached the semi-finals or better for eight successive seasons between 2010/11 and 2017/18, Madrid have therefore lost in the last 16 in each of the last two campaigns, bowing out against Ajax in 2018/19.
• Matchday 4 was only Madrid's third win in their last eight UEFA Champions League matches (D2 L3). They have lost six of their last 15 (W6 D3).
• The Spanish side have won 17 of their last 28 European away matches, losing six.
• Benzema's goal on Matchday 2 means he has matched Lionel Messi's record of scoring in 16 successive UEFA Champions League campaigns.
• Madrid have won only two of their seven away games against Ukrainian clubs (D4 L1), the most recent trip that 2015 victory at Shakhtar.
• The Spanish side have scored 17 goals in their last five games against Ukrainian clubs, and have found the net at least twice in eight of their last nine games against teams from the country.
Links and trivia
• Yevhen Konoplyanka was a Sevilla player between 2015 and 2016, making six appearances in the club's 2015/16 UEFA Europa League triumph in his sole full season, although he was an unused substitute in the final win against Liverpool. He came on in defeats by Barcelona in both the Copa del Rey final (0-2) and the UEFA Super Cup (4-5), scoring the late equaliser that took the latter into extra time.
• Konoplyanka also scored a penalty in Sevilla's 3-2 extra-time defeat by Madrid in the 2016 UEFA Super Cup. He had played 90 minutes of the Andalusian club's 3-2 home Liga win against Madrid on 8 November 2015.
• Madrid's Ukrainian goalkeeper Andriy Lunin has played for Metalist Kharkiv youth (2012–15), Dnipro (2015–17) and Zorya (2017/18) in his homeland. He faced Shakhtar seven times with Dnipro and Zorya, recording one win and six defeats and conceding 16 goals.
• Sergio Ramos scored twice past Andriy Pyatov in Spain's 4-0 UEFA Nations League victory against Ukraine on 6 September.
• Pyatov has also been beaten by Benzema (France 3-0 Ukraine, 2014 FIFA World Cup play-offs) and Modrić (Croatia 2-2 Ukraine, 2010 World Cup qualifying).
• Have played together:
Oleksii Shevchenko & Andriy Lunin (Zorya 2017/18)
Marquinhos Cipriano, Vitão, Tetê & Rodrygo (Brazil Under-20s)
Marquinhos Cipriano, Vitão & Vinícius Júnior (Brazil U20s)
Alan Patrick & Casemiro (Brazil U20s)
Dodô & Éder Militão (Brazil U17s)
• International team-mates:
Andriy Pyatov, Serhiy Kryvtsov, Taras Stepanenko, Viktor Kovalenko, Marlos, Mykola Matviyenko, Yevhen Konoplyanka, Serhiy Bolbat, Júnior Moraes, Valeriy Bondar & Andriy Lunin (Ukraine)
Taison & Marcelo, Casemiro (Brazil)
• On 25 August Shakhtar lost 3-1 to Dynamo Kyiv in the 2020 Ukrainian Super Cup. It was their only loss in all competitions (W4 D5) until they were overwhelmed by Mönchengladbach on Matchday 4.
• On 8 November Shakhtar won 3-0 against Dynamo to close the gap between them and the Kyiv side to just one point at the top of the Ukrainian Premier League, although a 1-1 draw at home to Olexandriya on 21 November, a match in which Shakhtar played almost an hour with ten men following Júnior Moraes' 31st-minute red card, meant the gap went back up to three points.
• Shakhtar maintained that distance to Dynamo with a 1-0 win at Dnipro on Saturday, Tetê scoring a late winner.
• Serhiy Kryvtsov, whose last appearance had come on 27 September due to injury and illness, returned to action in Ukraine's 2-0 friendly loss to Poland on 11 November.
• Valeriy Bondar made his international debut for Ukraine as a second-half substitute in that friendly against Poland.
• Andriy Pyatov, Mykola Matviyenko, Marlos and Taras Stepanenko started Ukraine's 3-1 loss to Germany in the UEFA Nations League on 14 November; Júnior Moraes came on as a substitute. Ukraine's subsequent fixture in Switzerland was cancelled.
• Davit Khocholava was a late substitute for Georgia, who lost 1-0 to North Macedonia in the UEFA EURO 2020 play-offs final on 12 November; he then started the UEFA Nations League fixtures against Armenia (1-2) and Estonia (0-0).
• Manor Solomon started both of Israel's UEFA Nations League games in November, against the Czech Republic (0-1) and Scotland (1-0), scoring the winner against the latter with his first international goal.
• Yevhen Konoplyanka (adductor) has been out since 23 September.
• Taison made his 100th appearance in UEFA club competition on Matchday
3; he missed Shakhtar's loss at Mönchengladbach due to a muscle injury but returned as a substitute at the weekend.
• Khocholava suffered an injury on international duty and has missed Shakhtar's last three games.
• Dentinho returned as a first-half substitute in that Olexandriya draw, his first appearance since suffering a hamstring on Matchday 2 against Inter, but has not played since after suffering a relapse.
• Viktor Korniienko has been sidelined since 8 November having suffered an ankle injury in that 3-0 defeat of Dynamo.
• In June, Ismaily tore a cruciate ligament; he has been included in Shakhtar's UEFA Champions League squad and is expected to return to action in December.
• Madrid have won four of their last ten games in all competitions (D2 L4); they were beaten 2-1 at home by Alavés on Saturday. That was Madrid's third defeat in their last five home games in all competitions (W2), as many as in their previous 31 matches (W22 D6).
• A 1-0 loss against Cádiz on 17 October was Madrid's first Liga defeat at home since a 2-0 reverse against Betis on 19 May 2019; Cádiz thus ended Madrid's 20-match unbeaten home league run (W16 D4).
• Madrid had suffered their second league defeat of the season on 8 November, going down 4-1 at Valencia – a game in which they conceded three penalties for the first time in the Liga.
• Sergio Ramos broke Gianluigi Buffon's European all-time men's caps record in Spain's 1-1 draw with Switzerland in the UEFA Nations League on 14 November, making his 177th international appearance. However, he missed two penalties in the game, having scored his previous 25 for club and country.
• Ramos also started the 6-0 win against Germany, also in the UEFA Nations League, three days later that booked Spain's place in the Finals, but had to be substituted shortly before half-time due to a hamstring injury and has not played since.
• A Luka Jović goal was not enough to prevent Serbia losing on penalties to Scotland after a 1-1 draw in the final of their UEFA EURO 2020 play-off in Belgrade on 12 November. Jović scored twice more six days later as Serbia concluded their UEFA Nations League campaign with a 5-0 home win against Russia.
• Nacho (out since 24 October, thigh injury) and Dani Carvajal (2 October, knee) returned to play 90 minutes in a 1-1 draw at Villarreal on 21 November, although the latter missed the weekend defeat by Alavés with a hamstring problem.
• Álvaro Odriozola picked up a calf injury in training before the October international break and has not played since.
• Federico Valverde suffered a leg injury at Valencia and has not played since.
• Jović has been sidelined by illness while Karim Benzema has an adductor problem.
• Eden Hazard had to be replaced during the first half against Alavés due to injury.