Real Madrid will want to make it three consecutive victories in Group F when they host Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday night in the Champions League.
Los Blancos have won their first two European matches, defeating Celtic and RB Leipzig, to sit on top of the table with six points, while Shakhtar is second with four points from their first two games.
Preview of the game
Real Madrid won the European Cup for the 14th time in their history when they defeated Liverpool in the final last season, and the Spanish champions are once again among the frontrunners for the trophy this season, with the squad already in a great position to reach the competition’s last-16 stage.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side launched their Group F campaign with a 3-0 triumph over Celtic on September 6 before securing a 2-0 win over RB Leipzig last time out, and a total of six points has put them top of the group, two points clear of second-placed Shakhtar ahead of the meeting.
Real Madrid’s nine-game winning streak at the start of the 2022-23 season ended on Sunday when they were beaten to a 1-1 draw by Osasuna in La Liga, dropping them to second in the league behind Barcelona.
The Whites will play Shakhtar twice in the Champions League, as well as RB Leipzig, in addition to Getafe, Barcelona, Elche, Sevilla, and Girona in Spain’s first division, with the season set to end in November for the 2022 World Cup.
Real Madrid will be favorites to win Group F for the third time in a row on Wednesday, although they lost both home and away to Shakhtar in the 2020-21 edition, with the Ukrainian giants winning 3-2 at the Bernabeu on matchday one.
Shakhtar may have defeated Los Blancos twice in the 2020-21 Champions League, but they also fell to them twice in the group stage last season, including a 2-1 setback at the Bernabeu.
Last season, the Ukrainian champions ended bottom of their Champions League group, although they did make it to the knockout phase in 2017-18, losing to Roma in the round of 16, and in 2010-11, they reached the quarter-finals before being ousted by Barcelona.
Shakhtar has made a strong start to their Group F campaign, winning 4-1 away to RB Leipzig on September 6 before drawing 1-1 with Celtic in their following game, and a total of four points has placed them second ahead of their double-header with Real Madrid.
Igor Jovicevic’s team will enter this match on the back of a 6-1 league win against Metalist Kharkiv on Saturday, which has moved them to the top of their domestic table with 13 points.
Mykhaylo Mudryk, who has impressed in the Champions League this season, scoring twice and providing two assists in two appearances, has two goals and six assists in six appearances this season, and several top-level sides, including Arsenal and Liverpool, are said to be interested in his signature.
Real Madrid’s Champions League standings:
Real Madrid’s current form (in all competitions):
Form of Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League:
Shakhtar Donetsk (all competitions) form:
Real Madrid has been buoyed by the return of Lucas Vazquez from a groin injury, while Luka Modric has returned to the team after missing the game against Osasuna due to a hip injury.
Despite his return to health, Modric might start on the bench, with Federico Valverde perhaps going back into midfield to enable Rodrygo to play with Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior in the attack.
Thibaut Courtois is sidelined with a back injury that caused him to miss the weekend’s game, thus Andriy Lunin will likely start in goal once again.
Eder Militao is expected to replace Antonio Rudiger in the center of the defense, while Eduardo Camavinga is healthy after missing Monday’s training session.
Dani Ceballos, on the other hand, is ruled out due to a hamstring injury.
Shakhtar’s Viktor Kornienko is a long-term absence owing to a major knee injury, but the visitors are generally in fine form.
The team that took the field for the opening whistle in the league last time out will see a few alterations, with Lucas Taylor and Marian Shved likely to return.
Danylo Sikan scored three goals against Metalist and is slated to start at center-forward for the Ukrainian giants, while Mudryk is expected to play off the left.
Real Madrid 3-1 Shakhtar Donetsk
Real Madrid’s possible starting lineup:
Lunin; Carvajal, Militao, Alaba, Mendy; Valverde, Tchouameni, Kroos; Rodrygo, Benzema, Vinicius
Shakhtar Donetsk’s possible starting lineup:
Trubin; Taylor, Bondar, Matviyenko, Konoplya; Shved, Bondarenko, Stepanenko, Sudakov, Mudryk; Sikan