Shakhtar Donetsk host German champions Borussia Dortmund this evening and whilst it’s not the ‘glamour tie’ of the round, it’s certain to be a mouth-watering one.
Expect goals – Shakhtar ousted Champion’s League champions Chelsea from Group E and Dortmund finished above Real Madrid in Group D. That doesn’t happen by accident, but rather by design.
Both teams have an immense arsenal of attacking flair – the likes of Mario Gotze, Marco Reus and Robert Lewandowski travel to face Darijo Srna, and Razvan Rat in defence for Shakhtar.
The Ukrainian’s are no slouches up front either with Fernandinho in midfield behind Douglas Costa, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and Alex Teixeira who all have goals in them.
The only omission will be the departed Willian and I think it’s safe to assume that without him they are a different kind of animal. But, at home, in front of their own fans they will be looking to control possession and test the Germans’ backline for sure.
Mats Hummels and Neven Subotic are expected to be fit and available for Jurgen Klopp’s selection and they are widely regarded as one of the best central-defensive pairings in the world at the moment.
Robert Lewandowski is one of the most sought-after strikers in the world presently – he’s been courted for transfer by both Bayern Munich and Manchester United and with very good reason: he’s scored 20 goals in 30 games for his team so far this season, 4 in 6 in the Champion’s League and he’ll be looking to improve on that in Donetsk tonight.
While the world watches Jose Mourinho fight it out with Sir Alex Ferguson in Madrid, two other domestic champions go head to head and, in all seriousness, it could be the better match.
Both sides will play attacking football from the first whistle, mark my words and, in Madrid, neither side will want to lose and we could see something of a stop-start stalemate at the Bernabeu.
Either way, both of these ties are set to be fantastic demonstrations of the huge pool of talent European football has to offer.
image: © jbl767