Tuesday, March 28, 2017

UEFA Champions League preview: Borussia Dortmund v Shakhtar Donetsk

SoccerNews in Bundesliga 4 Mar 2013

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Borussia Dortmund enter the second leg of their UEFA Champions League round-of-16 tie against Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday as favourites.

Borussia Dortmund enter the second leg of their UEFA Champions League round-of-16 tie against Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday as favourites.

The reigning Bundesliga champions claimed a 2-2 draw in Ukraine in the first leg thanks to a late Mats Hummels equaliser and the away goals could be crucial in determining who goes through to the quarter-finals of Europe’s premier club competition.

Also in Dortmund’s favour is their sensational home form in the Champions League.

Juergen Klopp’s side were one of only four sides to notch a perfect home record in the group stage, with the statistic even more impressive when you consider the wins came against Real Madrid, Manchester City and Ajax.

Dortmund have not reached the last eight of the competition since the 1997-98 season and Klopp knows his team still have plenty of work to do.

“We were the best team in Donetsk, but despite that it finished 2-2, to be the better team again is a real challenge for us,” Klopp said.

“We still have too much to do. We are a bit too far away to be wishing for a particular opponent in the next round.”

Polish forward Robert Lewandowski has been in excellent form for Dortmund in the Champions League, scoring four goals, and he has also been firing domestically, netting 16 times in 21 appearances.

Dortmund sit second in the Bundesliga, 17 points behind runaway leaders Bayern Munich.

Shakhtar are enjoying plenty of success in their league, with 18 wins from 19 matches seeing them 13 points clear on top of the table.

Armenian attacker Henrikh Mkhitaryan has 18 goals in as many appearances in Ukraine’s top-flight while Brazilian Alex Teixeira has also been a threat going forward.

Shakhtar impressed in the group stages of the Champions League, edging reigning champions Chelsea out for second spot in Group E behind Juventus.

With an array of Brazilians – Luiz Adriano, Ilsinho and Douglas Costa just to name a few – and experienced defenders Darijo Srna of Croatia and Romanian Razvan Rat, Shakhtar have the manpower to pull off an upset.

Rat knows it will be tough, however, particularly with the onus on his team to be the aggressors.

“It will be very difficult for us in Dortmund, because we will be under a lot of pressure,” said Shakhtar Romania defender.

“They have got great fans and they will also be confident after getting a good result in the first leg. A 0-0 draw would suit them, so we need to attack and take risks, but, at the same time, we must make sure that we do not concede.”

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