Borussia Dortmund vs Shakhtar Donetsk: Match preview
Stadium: Signal-Iduna Park
Referee: Damir Skomina
Kick-off: 1:15 AM (IST), Wednesday, 6th of March
It’s advantage Dortmund in the second leg of their fixture against Shakhtar Donetsk, thanks to two away goals which secured them a draw in the first leg. It is a job half-done, and done well, which they now seek to finish off in front of their home fans, who haven’t had nearly as much to cheer about this season as in the past two.
Shakhtar, on the other hand, will consider themselves unlucky to have not won the home fixture, having scored a couple of remarkable goals, and will be hoping to record an outright win and progress. Going by their away form in European fixtures, it certainly seems like a possibility.
Borussia Dortmund: D W D L W
Dortmund have been going through a lean patch of sorts with only two wins in their last six games in all competitions. These include a defeat to Bayern Munich, which although narrow, would have caused a serious dent in their confidence levels, heading into this match. However, having drawn a blank just once competitively this entire season, Dortmund will be quietly confident of their chances of scoring, worrying instead about keeping the Shakhtar attack at bay. Clean sheets have been a rare commodity of late for Jurgen Klopp’s men, with only one in their last eight fixtures, and they will be hoping that the return of Subotic, and possibly Hummels, will help them do better than they did at the Donbass arena.
Shakhtar Donetsk: D W W L W
With two goals conceded in their home fixture, Shakhtar will know that their best chance at progress is with an outright win; something which they have never managed against Dortmund in three meetings. The Ukrainian side have won three of their four games since the first leg fixture, mainly keeping match fit through participation in club friendlies. In those three wins, they have scored four goals on two occasions, and three goals on the other; something which they will wish to repeat at the Signal-Iduna Park. Only one of their last five games has seen them keep a clean sheet though, meaning that their area of concern as such will also be defence.
Borussia Dortmund: Mats Hummels.
Shakhtar Donetsk: None.
The young midfielder has really grown in stature at the club, thanks to some wonderful yet consistent performances in recent years. It is he who holds the key to unlocking opposition defences with his creativity, while the likes of Kuba and Reus are more reliant on sheer power. Facing sheer power is something Shakhtar are used to and can handle, while someone like Gotze could make them pay with his ingenuity.
The Brazilian defensive midfielder has been key to Shakhtar’s progress in the Champions League this season with his clean tackling and intelligent marking off the ball. This sort of pressure is just what is required to stop Dortmund from settling into their rhythm and playing good football. Additionally, being Brazilian, Fernandinho possesses a powerful drive from long range as well, already having scored once in Europe this season, and will gladly take any opportunities to take that number higher.
Goals for both sides, with Dortmund ending up on top. The reigning German champions have won all their home games in the Champions League this season, and have a phenomenal set of fans, who are sure to spur them on. On the evidence of the first leg, Shakhtar are quite unlikely to sit back and let Dortmund have the ball either, making for an exciting contest, which may be diminished in fame by the other fixture running simultaneously, but not in quality.