The champions of Ukraine and Germany meet at the Donbass Arena, hoping to pick up where they left off in the group stage.
FC Shakhtar Donetsk are in the right shape for their round of 16 visit of Borussia Dortmund despite not having played competitively since the UEFA Champions League group stage, according to Mircea Lucescu. “We have tried to reach the same level as Dortmund,” said the Shakhtar coach, who took his squad to training camps in Spain and the United Arab Emirates during the Ukrainian winter break. “Wednesday’s game will show how well we have prepared.”
Though his Dortmund team suffered a heavy defeat in Germany’s Bundesliga at the weekend, visiting coach Jürgen Klopp is confident his players will prevail if they perform to their potential, saying: “If we show our best football, everything will be alright.”
Mircea Lucescu, coach
We have got used to playing European games in February against teams who are in better shape than us because they have been playing competitive games in the winter while we haven’t. We plan our preparations to compensate for that.
Of course, you cannot compare friendly games in the United Arab Emirates and Spain with Bundesliga matches, but we have tried to reach the same fitness level as Dortmund. Wednesday’s game will show how well we have managed.
Dortmund won the last two German titles and comfortably finished top of their UEFA Champions League group in the autumn. That means they have at least two top-class players in every position, and let’s not forget how important motivation and attitude really are on this stage.
We have played well against German clubs in the past. We won away against Stuttgart and Schalke in the UEFA Cup and defeated Werder Bremen in the  Istanbul final, but Dortmund are not a typical German side. Their style takes a lot from Spanish football, because they like to control possession.
Winter break – next fixture: Shakhtar v FC Volyn Lutsk (2 March)
Ilsinho misses out with a meniscus injury while Tomáš Hübschman is doubtful because of chickenpox. Lucescu said: “He is better now, but the ten days he spent apart from the team have had their effect.”
Jürgen Klopp, coach
Mircea Lucescu is an excellent coach. He has done a great job at Shakhtar and has taught his side to play attractive football. Willian has left Donetsk but that does not mean Shakhtar have become weaker. We have watched the matches they played during their winter break and I can say they have high-quality players. You can hardly point out an area where Shakhtar have a weakness.
Tomorrow we will see an interesting and intense game, because both teams will need to give their best performance or even surpass that level. And, of course, we will do our best – we came here to provide uncomfortable opposition.
Defeat against Hamburg [4-1 on Saturday] did not cause us any harm. Our goals are high in the Champions League. This is a first round of 16 tie for all of us and I do not need to motivate the players in any special way because there are no weak opponents among the 16 sides in the knockout stage. If we show our best football, everything will be alright.
Saturday: Dortmund 1-4 Hamburger SV (Lewandowski 17; Rudņevs 18 62, Son 26 89)
Weidenfeller; Piszczek (Gündoğan 66), Felipe Santana, Hummels, Sven Bender; Kehl (Schieber 65), Şahin, Błaszczykowski, Götze, Reus; Lewandowski.
• Robert Lewandowski scored for a fifth successive Bundesliga match but was sent off 14 minutes later, as second-placed Dortmund suffered their worst league defeat since crashing 4-1 at VfB Stuttgart in January 2010.
Klopp’s preparations have been hit by injury and illness. Midfielder İlkay Gündoğan (thigh, toe) has remained in Dortmund with Patrick Owomoyela (bruised bone) and Kevin Grosskreutz (flu). Marcel Schmelzer has travelled despite illness and faces a late fitness test, while centre-back Neven Subotić is available after shrugging off a calf problem.
• This is Shakhtar’s first meeting with German opposition since they overcame Werder Bremen 2-1 after extra time in the 2009 UEFA Cup final. Eight of Shakhtar’s starting XI that night remain at the club – Andriy Pyatov, Olexandr Kucher, Fernandinho, Ilsinho, Luiz Adriano, Răzvan Raţ, Dmytro Chygrynskiy and Darijo Srna – along with substitute Olexiy Gai.
Srna, Chygrynskiy, Rakytskyy, Rat
Teixeira, Mkhitaryan, Douglas Costa
Piszczek, Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer
Blaszczykowski, Gotze, Reus
Please follow and like us: