Bayer Leverkusen did almost the unthinkable when they thrashed Ukrainian powerhouses Shakhtar Donetsk in the third match day of their UEFA Champions League Group A encounter, running out 4-0 winners at home against a side that has troubled the likes of Barcelona and Chelsea in previous season’s competitions.
And now, they have a bigger task on their hands – getting a result from Ukraine when they travel to the cauldron that is the Donbass Arena for their match day four encounter against the Ukrainian champions. The likes of Barcelona, Chelsea and even Manchester United have struggled in front of the home support with United barely managing to escape with a 1-1 draw on match day two.
Leverkusen currently lie at second on the table, one point behind leaders Manchester United with Shakhtar Donetsk in third place with four points from their three matches. While the Ukrainians have not won a match after beating Spanish side Real Sociedad in their first match day, Leverkusen could complete a hat trick of victories in this season’s competition if they manage to come away with a win from Ukraine.
But it’s easier said than done and Shakhtar will be looking to get a result to stay alive in the competition, knowing well that anything other than a victory puts their future in the competition at the hands of the other teams, leaving their qualification into the knockout stages to fate.
And that is something they will not be comfortable with. And Leverkusen has a lot to worry about as well. In Eduardo, Alex Teixeira and Taison, Shakhtar Donetsk have a fearsome frontline, something the paper thin defense of the Germans will struggle to cope with in the bitter cold and that is the one thing that is giving the Ukrainian side hope against their German opponents.