Friday, November 24, 2017

Does Barcelona really fear Shakhtar Donetsk?

If Spanish media reports are to be believed then Barcelona got the worse possible draw they could get by drawing Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Shakhtar have emerged as one of the new exciting forces of European football in recent years and really are a class act.

Dominant

Shakhtar Donetsk are the kings of Ukrainian football. They have taken over the mantel of top dog from traditional Ukrainian powerhouses Dynamo Kiev.

Kiev were the latest Ukrainian team to make an impact in Europe’s competition having made it to the quarter and semi-finals in the late 1990’s.

However Shakhtar Donetsk are hoping to go all the way this time around. The Miners have been building up their European experience in recent years and have already beaten Barcelona twice in the Champions League, once in 2004 and once in 2008.

Style

Shakhtar Donetsk usual playing style is that of free flowing attacking football. This style has a huge South American influence thanks to the presence of six Brazilian players in the squad. The likes of Willian, Fernandinho and Douglas Costa are all highly-rated and have a big say in how the team plays.

Attacking midfielder Willian is being linked with a move to the Premier League with Manchester United and Chelsea believed to be trailing the 22 year-old. He could be the key player for Shakhtar and if he is on form then Barca will need to be on their guard.

Although Shakhtar usually play free-flowing attacking football but there are certain pundits predicting that Shakhtar head coach Mircea Lucescu may decide to adopt a more physical approach to rough up the Spanish champions.

The Romanian is a wily operator and maybe he believes a tougher approach could upset the Spaniards rhythm. It has worked for a few other sides this season but it’s not necessarily the right approach to take.

Attack

For the neutrals it would be better for the game if Shakhtar take their usual approach. It could also be better for the Ukrainian champions, as Barcelona are at their weakest when on the back foot.

Barca love to attack and it leaves space for the opposition to counter-attack and Shakhtar have the perfect style to take advantage of Barca’s defensive failings. In many ways the sides are quite similar in the way they usually play the game. This has the potential to be a very exciting encounter.

Difficult

With a difficult second leg to come at the Donbass Arena, Barcelona will need to secure a good result in the first leg at the Nou Camp on Wednesday night. Barcelona don’t tend to change their style, regardless of the opposition and this tie will be no different.

Champions

This tie is a tough one for Barcelona but if they want to be European Champions again then these are the sort of hurdles they must overcome. I fully expect Messi and Co. to progress into the semi-finals.

They are competition favourites for a reason and that reason is they are capable of overcoming these sorts of challenges. Barcelona are lauded as one of the best teams ever and this season they have a chance to add to those calls by winning the Champions League for the second time in three years.

Are Shakhtar Donetsk the toughest team that Barca could have drew in the Champions League?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent


David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The 33-year-old has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.

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I think Barca should fear Shakhtar since this team has gain high spirit to grab a title in european league and so they are the king of football in their country. But I believe Barca will fight and play offensive style even now they are lacking of center backs. Go barca Goooo ,,, Visca Barca siempre

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