In Champions League Group E, Shakhtar Donetsk and Juventus hold the key to see out Chelsea in what will be the shock of the European competition. With Ukrainian side Donetsk needing only a solitary point to qualify as group winners, they and Juventus can both play at a comfortable pace to see themselves through to the knockout stages.
However, the fight for top spot is never over until it is mathematically impossible and Antonio Conte knows his Italian side can finish in first if they are to claim victory at the Donbass Arena. Up against the Ukrainian team who have only tasted defeat twice in the whole season, and with a previous record of 49 games unbeaten themselves, this is going to be an extremely tough fixture.
Shakhtar boast an incredible achievement of playing eighteen Ukrainian Premier League games and winning seventeen, having lost just once this campaign. Even in Europe, Mircea Lucescu’s men have only lost once and with attacking midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan bagging nineteen goals in twenty-four games, Shakhtar are a club bleeding talent.
With home victories over Nordsjaelland and Chelsea already registered in the Champions League, Juventus know they are up against one of the in-form clubs in the whole of Europe. Playing away from home hasn’t been Shakhtar’s strong suit in the competition but at home, they are a force to be reckoned with. The highly-impressive Willian, coupled with defensive midfielder Fernandinho and striker Luiz Adriano are only a handful of players capable of winning games on their own.
But they aren’t the only ones.
Serie A winners and current leaders Juventus are the only team who are unbeaten so far and aren’t in a position to finish first in their group. Malaga, Schalke 04 and Borussia Dortmund are the other teams to have completed the group stage unbeaten. Can Juventus join them? Having recently lost only their second ever league game after going the 2011/12 season without defeat, the former Champions League winners are within touching distance of qualifying to the knockout stages once more.
The likes of Claudio Marchisio, Andrea Pirlo and Arturo Vidal have already received masses of praise as they continue to dominate the midfield and with the ever-reliable Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci at the back, the Italian side don’t make a habit out of conceding. With only PSG conceding less goals (three), Gianluigi Buffon has only let four goals past him and recent clean sheets against Chelsea and Nordsjaelland demonstrate their dominant presence at the back.
Two clubs who share a desire to avoid defeat meet in what will be a tense finale to the Champions League Group E stage. With Chelsea attempting to avoid becoming the first ever club to win the competition and get eliminated at the first hurdle the following season, many expect Shakhtar and Juventus to play out a tactical draw. Yet with the amount of talent that will be out on the pitch this evening, expect anything but that.
Where To Watch Online: Shakhtar vs. Juventus