Real Madrid boast a perfect record from their previous two meetings with Shakhtar Donetsk, and the Spanish giants hope to make it three for three in their UEFA Champions League curtain-raiser on Wednesday.
The visit of Shakhtar promises to be Real Madrid's most straightforward pool fixture on paper, with Inter Milan and Borussia Monchengladbach tougher-looking components in a difficult Group B lineup.
Los Blancos will host their Ukrainian counterparts at the Estadio Alfredo di Stefano—their temporary home venue—though they’ll hope to fare far better than Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Cadiz in the same setting. Anthony Lozano scored the only goal of the game for the newly promoted outfit, offering Shakhtar some clue in how to get the better of Zinedine Zidane’s side, via Goal:
What TV Channel is Real Madrid-Shakhtar Donetsk on?
Tune into Real Madrid’s opening Champions League fixture of the season via TUDN at 12:55 p.m. ET. You can live stream Champions League matches on fuboTV.
As if the result wasn’t enough cause for heartbreak, Real were disappointed to see captain Sergio Ramos leave the field at half-time with a knee injury. Mario Cortegana of AS wrote Zidane may consider resting his defensive talisman for Wednesday’s matchup, with one eye fixed on the first Clasico of the season at Barcelona on Saturday.
Eden Hazard is still contending with an ankle injury and will miss out for the home side, while Ferland Mendy could deputise at right-back with Dani Carvajal and Alvaro Odriozola out injured.
While Real reel from their first defeat of the 2020-21 season, Luis Castro’s visitors remain unbeaten after six domestic matches (three wins, three draws). They collected a 5-1 victory over Lviv on Saturday and have scored at least two in each of their league games thus far.
However, it’s worth noting the Miners have dropped points in each of their away fixtures, suggesting some fragility in their ability to maintain standards on the road.
Shakhtar were recently weakened after returning a number of coronavirus tests earlier in October, but the club confirmed on Monday that all players and staff had returned negative tests:
Junior Moraes and Mykola Matvienko were among the players who previously tested positive, but it’s hoped the pair will be ready to return to the fold by Wednesday. Maksym Malyshev, Ismaily and Serhii Kryvtsov remain injured, while Yevhen Konoplyanka is a doubt.
How to Watch Real Madrid vs. Shakhtar Donetsk
When: Wednesday, October 21
Where: Estadio Alfredo di Stefano, Madrid, Spain
Time: 12:55 p.m. ET
Live Stream: fuboTV (watch for free)
Real Madrid anchor Casemiro bemoaned his team’s lack of attitude following the surprise defeat to Cadiz, telling Movistar (via Marca):
“It's a difficult moment. We have to look at our mistakes and what we did well. But, in the first half, the attitude cannot be like that.
“We dropped three points against an organized team, who knew what they had to do.
“We have to forget about it because the Champions League is here and there's a long way to go [in La Liga].”
The Group B campaign is only just beginning, but Real will be desperate to get back to winning ways on home soil, especially when more dropped points puts them at a disadvantage in a tight pool.