Real Madrid have already qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League as they currently lie on top of Group A with 10 points from four games. The Spanish giants have not lost a single game in the group stage and are determined to maintain their unbeaten streak when they face Shakhtar Donetsk at Arena Lviv on Wednesday.
Despite having secured qualification, Real Madrid will be eying the top spot in Group A, which is possible if they defeat Shakhtar Donetsk in the return leg as well after having thrashed the Ukrainian side 4-0 at the Bernabeu.
The home team, who are currently in the third position in Group A, can increases their chances of making it to the knockout stages of the Champions League, by creating a major upset and defeating Real Madrid. Shakhtar Donetsk may have been in an incredible form in the Ukrainian premier league as they top the table with 12 wins from 14 games, but their task have only got difficult with a wounded Real Madrid side, who lost to Barcelona in the EL Classico on Saturday.
Hence, Real Madrid players will try to come up with a huge win against Shakhtar Donetsk and prove themselves as one of the teams to beat in the competition.
"After such defeats [as Madrid's against Barcelona on Saturday], players always try to prove it was an accident. Madrid's players, coaches and management have been under big pressure in recent days, so I expect to see a very motivated team tomorrow. They will do everything to redeem themselves," UEFA official website quoted Mircea Lucescu, Shakhtar coach, as saying.
Though Real Madrid's form might have been excellent in the Champions League, their form in the La Liga have not been great with back-to-back losses against Sevilla and Barcelona. Real Madrid are under huge pressure to perform, but their manager, Rafa Benitez does not believe so.
"I don't think we are in crisis. We have a great team and wonderful players. Defeats in two consecutive matches can't change that. We are very disappointed because of the Barcelona result but now we have the next objective in front of us and we want to win as soon as possible to please our fans," said Benitez.
With players such as Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and James Rodríguez in Real Madrid's ranks, they are never short of quality, but these players have failed to deliver as a unit in crunch games of late. The trio must have been disappointed with their latest results and must be eager to perform against Shakhtar Donetsk, which are alarming signs for the home team.
Benitez's focus is only on sealing three crucial points away from home.
"We have to be focused on our next game against a strong team with a very experienced coach. Our goal is qualifying from first place in the group so we need only win here," added Benitez.
Real Madrid are set to miss defender Sergio Ramos and Marcelo with injuries, while Shakhtar Donetsk will be without Olexandr Kucher and Darijo Srna, who are both suspended.
Where to watch live
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Shakhtar Donetsk vs Real Madrid is scheduled for an 8.45 pm local time (1.15 am IST, 7.45 pm GMT, 2.45 pm ET) start. Ten HD will broadcast the Shakhtar Donetsk vs Real Madrid match live in India, with the online live streaming option on Ten Sports Live.
Viewers in UK can watch the Shakhtar Donetsk vs Real Madrid game live on BT Sport Extra, while the match can also be watched via live streaming online on Watch BT Sport or by downloading the BT Sport app.
ESPN 3 will provide the live coverage of Shakhtar Donetsk vs Real Madrid champions league in the US, while the Champions league game can also be live streamed online on Watch ESPN .