FC Shakhtar Donetsk 0-0 FC Bayern München The German side endured a frustrating night in Lviv, playing out the last 25 minutes with ten men after Xabi Alonso's red card.
Article top media content
• Shakhtar hold Bayern to a goalless first-leg draw in Lviv
• Xabi Alonso sent off on his 100th UEFA Champions League appearance
• Shakhtar's first game for ten weeks since their matchday six draw with Porto
• The second leg is on 11 March at the Fußball Arena München
FC Shakhtar Donetsk made an impressive start to 2015 as they held FC Bayern München 0-0 in the first leg of their round of 16 tie.
The German side went into the encounter riding the crest of a wave after recording their biggest Bundesliga win since 1984 on Saturday. Yet once Shakhtar had blown off the cobwebs accumulated over their long winter break Bayern were increasingly frustrated, culminating in them playing with ten men as Xabi Alonso was sent off 65 minutes into his 100th UEFA Champions League match.
It was Shakhtar's first outing in ten weeks and early on it showed. Bayern hit the cold ground running and threatened to overrun them – never mind 'sweeper-keeper', there were times in the first half when Manuel Neuer was an auxiliary midfielder. The visitors could have been ahead inside two minutes, Bastian Schweinsteiger flashing wide after being found in inexplicable space by Arjen Robben's lofted pass.
Robben was a thorn in Shakhtar's left side, picking, probing and always involved in the mesmerising one-touch passing in and around the box. But the incisiveness was not quite there, with final passes just that bit too weighty however much the elastic Thomas Müller stretched. The Pitmen dug deep and, as the game became fractious, they slowly but surely began chipping away.
Even the most tentative incursion upfield was greeted with cries of 'Ukrayina' though there was genuine cause for excitement when Darijo Srna won possession and fed Alex Teixeira. Alonso was forced to take a yellow card for his team, an intervention his colleagues would rue. After half-time Bayern's attacking threat was nullified, too, as Shakhtar adopted a higher defensive line.
An hour came and went – by the same stage on Saturday the German side were 6-0 up against Hamburger SV. Alonso's second yellow card, in similar circumstances to his first, made that eventual 8-0 victory a distant memory. Shakhtar had fatigue to deal with, so the numerical advantage served more to even things up than anything. There was little equal about the battle between defence and attack, though, and the teams will resume as they were in three weeks' time.