Matchday 6 of the 2012-13 UEFA Champions League is already upon us, and amidst numerous tantalising ties, none perhaps stands out more than Juventus' trip to the Ukraine to face Group E leaders Shakhtar Donetsk. With the Bianconeri not yet guaranteed a place in knockout phases of the competition, Angelo Alessio will field a full-strength side at the Donbass Arena on Wednesday.
Matchday 2 Result: Full Time - Juventus 1-1 Shakhtar Donetsk.
Kickoff: Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Juventus; Donbass Arena, 20:45, Wednesday, Dec. 5.
With Shakhtar Donetsk already comfortably through Group E, it is down to Juventus and Chelsea to fight it out for the remaining qualification spot. Following the Old Lady's 3-0 demolition of the Blues, Juventus gained a two-point upper hand heading into the last matchday.
Despite Chelsea looking likely to defeat FC Nordsjaelland, Juventus simply need to take a point away from their visit to Donetsk to seal qualification. Furthermore, if Chelsea fail to win against their Danish opposition, Juventus' result against Donetsk is meaningless—Juventus will qualify.
Shakhtar Donetsk Team News
With qualification secured, Donetsk have the luxury of fielding a weaker squad against the Bianconeri, giving key players a much needed rest. However, despite this, manager Mircea Lucescu will be looking to leave Group E top of the group—a loss to Juventus would not allow this to happen.
It is no secret that Shakhtar forward Luiz Adriano will miss the clash against the Turin giants following his breach of FIFA fair play. The Brazilian striker was handed a one-match ban by UEFA and will serve it out this Wednesday.
They come into the match following a comfortable 2-0 win against Kryvbas in domestic league action.
Expected Lineup (4-2-3-1): Pyatov; Srna (c), Kucher, Rakitskiy, Rat; Stepanenko, Fernandinho; Teixeira, Mkhitaryan, Willian; Eduardo.
Juventus Team News
Following a 3-0 pumping of crosstown rivals Torino over the weekend, Juventus come into the clash against Shakhtar full of confidence. Despite this, they will count themselves lucky not to succumb to defeat at the hands of the group leaders in their Matchday 2 clash. Although it finished 1-1 in Turin, Juventus were clearly shellshocked by the attacking prowess of their counterparts and cannot afford to go behind early.
Juventus midfielder Simone Pepe is ruled out through injury, but Giorgio Chiellini is expected to make a return to action—albeit off the bench. Arturo Vidal, who was rested on a precautionary basis over the weekend, will return to the starting 11.
The Bianconeri, however, will be without talented midfielder Claudio Marchisio, who will serve a one-match ban after receiving three yellow cards thus far. It is expected that Paul Pogba will slot in for the Italian international.
Expected Line-up (3-5-2): Buffon; Bonucci, Barzagli, Caceres; Lichtsteiner, Vidal, Pirlo, Pogba, Asamoah; Giovinco, Vucinic.
- Against Italian opposition, Shakhtar have a very poor record. In fifteen matches in European competitions against Italian teams, they have won just 4-of-15 matches.
- Juventus have fired 38 shots on target in this year's installment of the competition, the most out of any club.
- Shakhtar have netted the equal most goals in this year's competition, scoring 12 times across five matches.
- Currently, head-to-head between the two sides reads: Shakhtar 1, Juventus 1 and one draw (previous encounter).
- Andrea Pirlo's promotion to the first team during his time at Brescia, came under the watch of Lucescu. Pirlo went to debut in Italy two days after he turned 16.
- Lucescu's record against Juventus is just one win out of 10 encounters. That victory came when he was managing Brescia in 1994.
Who will win between Shakhtar and Juventus?
Shakhtar 1-2 Juventus. Despite boasting an impressive win record at home, Shakhtar will come up against a Juventus side hungry to top Group E. Following defeats to Inter and AC Milan in recent weeks, the Bianconeri will be looking to put criticism behind them by sending a message to Europe.