Our prediction for this Champions League match:
Real Madrid will be looking to make a flying start to their Champions League campaign when they host Shakhtar Donetsk at Alfredo di Stefano Stadium on Wednesday evening. Los Blancos did well to win the La Liga title last term, and they are now on a quest to regain the Champions League trophy. Even though Eden Hazard remains in the treatment room, Zinedine Zidane’s troops are seen as hot favourites to win the opener.
Despite a couple of fine performances at the start of the season, Serbia international Luka Jovic is unlikely to start against Shakhtar. The Minners, on the other hand, have established themselves as the dominant force in the Ukrainian Premier League, but they face an uphill task in their Champions League opner. In their last meeting in the elite competition Real Madrid recorded back-to-back wins over Shakhtar Donetsk (4-3, 4-0).
Highlighted Player (Karim Benzema):
Striker Karim Benzema came through his youth club Bron Terraillon in Olympique Lyon were he went through all the youth teams.
On January 15, 2005 Benzema made his debut for the first team of Lyon that season but did not have much playing time. In the 2007-2008 season he was indeed a permanent fixture in the team and he got his break . He grew that season right into a crowd favorite and clubs like Arsenal, Juventus, Manchester United, Real Madrid and AC Milan showed interest in him.
Benzema in 2008 (like 2005, 2006, and 2007) was in the champions with Olympique Lyon and had no interest in leaving France. In 2008, Karim was named best French footballer.
Highlighted Team (Shakhtar Donetsk):
Despite the fact that they were founded back in 1936, Shakhtar Donetsk were struggling to win the Ukrainian Premier League trophy until 2002. The Miners have established themselves as the dominant force in Ukrainian football and it has to be noted that they won their ninth domestic trophy in 2014.
Shakhtar Donetsk were playing at Donbass Arena in the past, but due to war in Donbass the club temporarily moved to Arena Lviv. In 2009 the Miners won the UEFA Cup trophy under Romanian boss Mircea Lucescu, beating Werder Bremen in the title game. Croatian full back Dario Srna was named the man of the match. Dynamo Kiev are considered Shakhtar Donetsk’s main rivals and there have always been fireworks in meetings between the two sides.
Shakhtar have a rivalry with Metalurh Donetsk as well and the two local rivals face each other in the Donetsk Derby. Chelsea ace Willian, Manchester United star Mkhitaryan and Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho all played for Shakhtar in the past.