On Tuesday, Shakhtar, in the fifth round of the UEFA Champions League group stage, will play against Hoffenheim. The game is very important for the miners – in the case of a win or even a draw, they maintain the chances of reaching the playoffs of the tournament. The city of Sinsheim, where Shakhtar will play, is 70 km north of Stuttgart. It was to the airport of this city that the letter with the delegation of the Oranges and Blacks flew in the morning of Monday.
In addition, it was delayed for over an hour: first, the coating was treated with special antifreeze liquids and then waited until the "window" in the air aisle was released. Before boarding the plane, Shakhtar players, including Rakitsky and Marlos, were not in the waiting room at the Kiev airport. I could not hear the usual laughter and jokes. Even the main black and white joker, Tyson, chatted quietly with Ishmaeli and Alan Patrick about something and looked a little worried.
"Now the balance of power for Shakhtar is a little worse than the first game with the Germans," said soccer expert Sergey Morozov. "Now some players have begun to recover after bruises. I missed Stepanenko." , played with a slight injury, but surpassed Ismaili, Kovalenko plays a little.It is unclear when Marlos will return. Shakhtar "because of injuries and disqualifications, someone is constantly falling out of the team, and the team is not as disputed now as on the eve of the first game with Hoffenheim, so a lot will depend on the psychology of the game. And that, among other things, will affect the image of Paulo Fonseca, who rose to a very high level after the last season of the euro. What if the miners & # 39; remain at least in the Europa League this year, their image will remain. That is, in Germany, Fonseke will have to fight for the image of the club and for his personal image.
How do I see the course of the game? Hoffenheim will play intense football from the first minutes because they also have information on the current status of Shakhtar. In terms of intensity of the game, the miners & # 39; are now losing 10% to the Germans. And the owners will try to force from the first minutes, but we can resist at the expense of psychology and attitude.
We are pleased with the win and the draw. She will give us a chance on 12 December to defeat Lyon in Kharkov, who may come not by the strongest squad. A "Hoffenheim" in a side game is unlikely to be able to take points in Manchester as well, certainly not win. Yes, I drew the balance of the fight for 3rd place in the group. But I think, according to current Shakhtar, with that potential, it will be strategically more advantageous to play in the Europa League. The Champions League is more prestigious and financially more interesting, but strategically – to create a new team – is more important to play in a simpler tournament. "
Stuttgart found the letter from the miners & # 39; with gloomy and unhappy weather and 4 degrees on the thermometer. Having passed the passport and customs formalities, the team made a one-hour trip to the site of its temporary deployment – to the quiet town of Bad Schönborn, 20 km west of Sinsheim.
Remember that "Shakhtar" before the Champions League lost points in the match with the "Lviv". The guests passed the whole game at their gates and did not allow the champion to score at least one goal.