Jagoba Arrasate Real Sociedad
Real Sociedad manager Jagoba Arrasate during a training session ahead of their Champions LEague clash against Shakhtar Donetsk, November 26. Reuters
Real Sociedad manager Jagoba Arrasate during a training session ahead of their Champions League clash against Shakhtar Donetsk, November 26. Reuters
Real Sociedad manager Jagoba Arrasate during a training session ahead of their Champions League clash against Shakhtar Donetsk, November 26. Reuters

Shakhtar Donetsk and Real Sociedad will both be desperate for three points when they clash in a UEFA Champions League match on Wednesday night in Ukraine.

Group A is nicely poised with all four teams mathematically still in with a chance of qualifying for the last 16. Manchester United lead the group with eight points from four games, with Bayer Leverkusen, who host the Premier League champions on Wednesday, second with seven points.

Shakhtar are third having picked up five points with Sociedad's hopes hanging by the slightest of threads with just one point from four games.

Sociedad, who lost 2-0 at home to the Ukrainian side, absolutely have to win on Wednesday, while Shakhtar's hopes of qualification will still be alive, unless they lose and United draw at Leverkusen.

"We respect Shakhtar and their players, but we need to win and that means we must play our best regardless of our opponents' strengths," Sociedad manager Jagoba Arrasate said. "Maybe Shakhtar beat us in the first game because of the advantage of their European experience.

"However, this autumn we have already come a long way. Tomorrow's [Wednesday's] game will be our fifth in the Champions League and we will try to use everything we have learned in previous matches this season.

"You can never lose hope and we believe we are capable of continuing our European campaign. We will do our best to win in Donetsk. The task is simple -- to win this game, and then we'll see. Of course, if we want to succeed, we will need to show something special. I think my team can surprise our opponents, but we'll need some luck."

Shakhtar, after selling several of their key players in the summer, including Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Fenandinho, have not quite had the impact that they did last season in the Champions League, and manager Mircea Lucescu is determined to set the record straight starting with a win against Sociedad.

"We started this campaign very well with a win in Spain -- I think Real Sociedad were quite surprised by our performance," Lucescu said of the 2-0 win. "But they came to their senses, and even though they lost in Leverkusen and Manchester, results don't always show the true standard of a team.

"I expect a very difficult game, because Real still have a chance to qualify. As for us, except for our game in Leverkusen [a 4-0 loss] we have looked good -- but making the best use of our scoring chances is our main problem. I want my players to play as well as they did at home to Manchester United and Leverkusen, but this time we need some luck.

"It's always important to show that we are stronger than our opponents. Whether we get to the knockout stage or not depends on many factors. We need to use our chances better, but the most important thing is to show football of the future."

Team news: Lucescu has a full squad at his disposal, while Real Sociedad will be without long-term injury victim Esteban Granero. Gorka Elustondo and Carlos Martinez are doubts after missing the win at the weekend against Celta Vigo.

Key men: Shakhtar Donetsk: The home side will look to striker Luiz Adriano for goals, after the Brazilian got his name on the scoresheet in the 4-0 victory over PFC Sevastopol on Saturday.

Real Sociedad: Carlos Vela netted an amazing four goals in a 4-3 victory over Celta on Saturday and the former Arsenal man will look to continue his goalscoring touch on Wednesday.

Where to Watch Live

The game is scheduled for a 1.15 am IST start on Thursday morning with no live coverage in India. You can catch the action live online by clicking the link HERE. To live stream the action in North Africa and the Middle East, click HERE. To watch the match in the U.S. via Fox Sports click HERE. To catch all the action via live streaming in the U.K., click HERE.

Expected lineups: Shakhtar Donetsk: Kanibolotskiy; Srna, Kucher, Chygrynskiy, Ismaily; Stepanenko, Fred, Douglas Costa, Alex Teixeira, Taison; Luiz Adriano.

Real Sociedad: Bravo; Zaldua, Mikel González, Inigo Martinez, De la Bella; Bergara, Zurutuza, Castro, Xabi Prieto, Griezmann, Vela.

Prediction: 2-0 to Shakhtar