UCL Match Preview: Real Madrid vs Shakhtar Donetsk Predictions, Team News & H2H

Real Madrid vs Shakhtar Donetsk predictions

Real Madrid vs Shakhtar Donetsk predictions and match preview for Wednesday’s game in the UEFA Champions League. Read on for the head-to-head, team news, betting tips and predicted lineups.

  • DATE: Wednesday 21st October 2020
  • KICK-OFF: 18:55 (local time)
  • VENUE: Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano
  • COMPETITION: UEFA Champions League (Group Stage)

Real Madrid vs Shakhtar Donetsk Preview

Real Madrid vs Shakhtar Donetsk predictions
Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano via Brgesto, CC BY-SA 3.0

The Champions League anthem will ring out at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stéfano for the first time as Spanish champions Real Madrid host Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk in the earlier kick-off on Wednesday.

Contrary to the domestic season, Madrid had a poor campaign in Europe last time out being eliminated in the round of 16 by Manchester City and have now failed to go past the first knockout round in two successive seasons after having at least reached the semi-finals the previous eight times. Shakhtar finished third in their Champions League group for the second straight season but had their best European campaign in recent years with a semi-final appearance in the Europa League, although culminating in a 5-0 rout by Inter.

Real Madrid will kick start their 51st European venture on the back of a 1-0 home loss to Cádiz on Saturday, a result which ended Los Blancos’ 20 match unbeaten home run in LaLiga. It was a substandard performance by Zidane’s men who looked clueless and defensively fragile on plenty of occasions, and so the defeat could have easily been heavier had the newly promoted side finished off all their chances.

Zizou, keeping in mind the jam-packed calendar that awaits Los Blancos, rested some key men following a tiring international break but felt the need to bring on four faces off the bench for the second half after a terrible first 45 by Madrid standards. The comeback, however, couldn’t be inspired and Cádiz held on for a historic win while Zidane received much backlash from fans and media alike. The Frenchman admitted there were no excuses for the loss and the team is already looking forward to the two big matches awaiting them this week – the Champions League opener and the Clásico.

Shakhtar Donetsk are beginning their 15th overall and fourth successive Champions League group stage season with their best performance still being the quarter finals in 2011. It has not been the best of starts to the Miners’ domestic season picking up 12 points from six games, their worst start in 11 years, but they did thrash FC Lviv 5-1 in their previous fixture on Saturday.

A COVID outbreak recently hit the Shakhtar squad sidelining many main starters including Pyatov, Stepanenko and Moraes. It meant that manager Luís Castro had to rely on the U-21s and there were as many as seven 20-year-olds in the Shakhtar line-up at the weekend. They were still terrific though, firing four times in the first 20 minutes, two of them by Viktor Kovalenko who, unfortunately for Castro, was taken off after 25 minutes due to a knock and will miss the trip to Madrid.

Shakhtar have kept only one clean sheet in their six domestic matches while also failing to win any away game. With practically no pre-season, tight scheduling and the positive cases, Luís Castro has declared that the team is “experiencing a crisis”.

Head to Head

  • The sides last met in the UEFA Champions League in 2015/16, also in the group stage.
  • Real Madrid won 4-0 at home and 4-3 in Ukraine.

Team News

Los Blancos’ have a sizeable injury list which includes Eden Hazard, Dani Carvajal, Álvaro Odriozola, Martin Ødegaard and Mariano. Captain Sergio Ramos was taken off at half time on Saturday following a minor knock on the knee and will probably be rested for this game to retain full fitness ahead of the Clásico.

All of Shakhtar’s previously positive players were found negative in the most recent tests on Monday but it is still unclear if they will return to action in the midweek. Although three players are ruled out due to long term injuries – Yevhen Konoplyanka, Maksym Malyshev and Ismaily.

Predicted Real Madrid  Starting Lineup:

Courtois – Nacho, Varane, Militão, Mendy – Valverde, Casemiro, Kroos – Rodrygo, Benzema, Vinícius (4-3-3)

Predicted Shakhtar Starting Lineup:

Trubin – Dodô, Bondar, Khocholava, Korniyenko – Maycon, Antônio – Marlos, Solomon, Tetê – Dentinho (4-2-3-1)

Real Madrid vs Shakhtar Donetsk Predictions

Score Prediction: Real Madrid 2-0 Shakhtar Donetsk

Zidane’s lads aren’t in their best of form early in the season but will still be heavy favorites against their unsteady Ukrainian opponents. Miners’ coach Luís Castro has said they will push to get a result with or without the returning players but odds are still definitely stacked against them in this battle versus the European stalwarts. You should probably not expect a big margin victory from this Madrid side but they should be edging out this one rather comfortably.

UEFA Champions League Betting Tips (18+)

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Read our latest Champions League & Europa League match previews.

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About Akhil Rawat 41 Articles
Based in New Delhi, Akhil follows LaLiga and Spanish football religiously. Currently a novice in the world of football writing, he fancies expressing his passion for the league through words.