Real Madrid will look to increase their lead in Group F when they host Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Los Blancos are two-for-two in Europe this season but they’re up against an unbeaten Shakhtar side who sit second in the group after victory over RB Leipzig and a draw with Celtic.

While Real have more of the happy memories from past meetings between these two sides, fans will have a hard time forgetting their clashes at this stage of the competition in 2020/21, which yielded back-to-back wins for Shakhtar.

Here’s all you need to know about this one.

Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is highly unlikely to play as a result of the back injury which kept him out of the weekend’s draw with Osasuna, while Lucas Vazquez remains out with a groin issue.

Luka Modric is back in training but may only be fit enough for a place on the bench, and the same goes for young midfielder Eduardo Camavinga.

Real Madrid starting XI (4-3-3): Lunin; Carvajal, Alaba, Militao, Mendy; Tchouameni, Kroos, Valverde; Rodrygo, Benzema, Vinicius.

Bench: Canizares, Pineiro, Nacho, Rudiger, Vallejo, Odriozola, Camavinga, Ceballos, Modric, Hazard, Asensio, Mariano.

The only expected absentee for this one is left-back Viktor Kornienko, who is not expected back until January as he continues his recovery from a knee injury.

All eyes will be on winger Mykhaylo Mudryk, who could add an extra zero to his ever-growing price tag with a big performance here.

Shakhtar Starting XI (4-1-4-1): Trubin; Taylor, Bondar, Matvienko, Konoplya; Stepanenko; Shved, Bondarenko, Sudakov, Mudryk; Sikan.

Bench: Pyatov, Shevchenko, Kozik, Kryvtsov, Mykhaylichenko, Djurasek, Kryskiv, Ocheretko, Petryak, Topalov, Zubkov, Traore.

Shakhtar have been tricky customers in Europe so far this season, but reigning champions Real Madrid are a new level of competition which they haven’t experienced just yet.

Real aren’t at their strongest in defence or in midfield, but their potent attack should do the vast majority of the heavy lifting here, with Shakhtar likely to adopt a bit more of a defensive setup than we’ve seen from them so far in the competition.

It’s got all the ingredients of a fun game, but expect Real to come out on top.

Prediction: Real Madrid 2-0 Shakhtar Donetsk


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