Barcelona will try to consolidate their lead at the top of Group H of the Champions League when they host Shakhtar Donetsk.
Barcelona are poised to face Shakhtar Donetsk on Matchday 3 of the UEFA Champions League. The Catalan giants have won their opening two games of the season and will try to extend their winning streak to three games in a row. Meanwhile, the visitors will try to cause an upset and keep their knockout ambitions alive.
In the 2023/24 season, the Catalan giants have been on a roll. So far, Xavi’s men have gone unblemished. They may have had a couple draws recently, but their overall game has been extremely strong.
Barcelona opened their Champions League campaign with a 5-0 thrashing of Royal Antwerp, followed by a 1-0 victory over FC Porto. They’ll try to make it three in a row now.
Meanwhile, the visitors have had a good start to the new season as well. With 21 points from ten games, they are presently third in their domestic league. However, they have not fared well in the Champions League.
They were defeated by FC Porto in their first match. The Portuguese are club were never really troubled as they ended up winning 3-1. Shakhtar managed to restore some damage by defeating Royal Antwerp 3-2.
They will now face a star-studded Barcelona club, and a positive result appears to be an uphill fight. Meanwhile, The Hard Tackle examines both teams and attempts to forecast the methods they may employ.
The home team will be without the services of Sergi Roberto, Jules Kounde, Frenkie de Jong and Pedri for this fixture. Meanwhile, Raphinha and Robert Lewandowski will have to race against time to get into the squad.
17-year-old Marc Guiu, who scored the winner in their last outing could be named in the UEFA Champions League squad for the first time. Despite quite a few star players being unavailable, the Catalan giants have been doing well, and they will look to continue in a similar fashion.
Xavi will continue with the 4-3-3, where Marc-Andre ter Stegen will be in goal. Joao Cancelo and Alejandro Balde will continue as the full-backs. In the heart of the defence, Ronald Araujo could pair up with Inigo Martinez, who had a decent outing last time out.
In the centre of the park, Oriol Romeu will take care of the defensive side of things. He will have the support of Gavi and Ilkay Gundogan, who feature on either. They will look to control the possession of the ball and dictate the pace of the game. As for the offensive unit, Joao Felix could feature as the number nine, with Lamine Yamal and Ferran Torres out wide on the flanks.
Darijo Srna’s team will line up in a 4-1-4-1 formation where Dmytro Riznyk will be in goal. The back four will consist of Yukhym Konoplya, Valeriy Bondar, Yaroslav Rakitskyi and Irakli Azarovi. They will have the tough task of stopping a star-studded Barcelona attack.
Taras Stepanenko will be the defensive midfielder who will sit in front of the backline. Oleksandr Zubkov and Heorhiy Sudakov will start out wide in the centre of the park. They will look to provide width to their attacks.
Dmytro Kryskiv and Yehor Nazaryna will feature in a more central role. The duo will look to ensure that Barcelona do not dominate possession too deep in their half. The 22-year-old striker Danylo Sikan will be the lone man up top for the visitors.
At just 16 years of age, Yamal has established himself as a first-team regular at Barcelona. He has taken the football world by storm. The teenager has featured in 12 matches this season and has three goal contributions to his name.
It has been an exceptional start for him, and he will look to add to it when he takes the field against Shakhtar Donetsk. With some of their star players out injured, the teenager will surely look to win it for his club.
Barcelona 2-0 Shakhtar Donetsk
The Catalan giants have not lost this season. They might been struggling with injuries to their key players, but their performance on the pitch has been spot on, and their recent results suggest they could take away all three points from this fixture with ease.
Shakhtar Donetsk have not had a bad season either, but they might not have enough in their tank to challenge the Catalan giants. They will surely give them a tough fight but in the end, Xavi’s team should come out on top. The Hard Tackle predicts an easy 2-0 win for the home team.