19 September 2019
Shakhtar Donetsk will kick-off their 2019/20 UEFA Champions League (CL) campaign on home turf as they take on Manchester City at the OSC Metalist for the Group C opener. These two sides facing off in the CL has become some sort of tradition, as they’ve been paired together in the group stage for the third year in a row already. Although Shakhtar pulled off one triumph in their previous four H2Hs, Manchester City won the remaining three clashes, each time to nil.
It’s been a tough ride for the hosts, who have picked up only one triumph in six CL games last season (W1, D3, L2), eventually finishing third in Group F behind Manchester City and Olympique Lyonnais. Disastrous defensive displays have seen Shakhtar concede 16 goals across those fixtures, allowing over 1.5 match goals five times in the process. The Miners’ defensive struggling has continued in the Europa League knockout stage, where they were swept aside by Eintracht Frankfurt 6-3 on aggregate (2-2 H, 4-1 A). It will be a daunting prospect for Shakhtar to come out on top here as they’ve pulled off just one win in their last nine European outings (W1, D4, L4).
On the other hand, the visitors have successfully negotiated each of their previous six CL group stage campaigns, winning seven of ten CL games last season (W7, D1, L2). Before a narrow 1-0 loss to Tottenham in London, each of City’s four CL away games in the 2018/19 campaign has featured three or more goals with three of them witnessing both teams score. The Citizens have secured two wins in their last three CL trips to Ukraine (W2, L1), with all of those fixtures producing over 2.5 goals. Also, only one of Manchester City’s previous 15 CL matches has ended in a draw (W8, D1, L6), and that only draw has come away from home.
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