On September 19, in the opening match of the group stage of the Champions League, Shakhtar Donetsk will host Porto in Hamburg, Germany.
In a conversation with a Aroged correspondent, former player of the national team of Ukraine and Shakhtar Adrian Pukanych predicted how today’s confrontation with the participation of the Pitmen would end:
– Don’t underestimate Shakhtar. Many experts argue that, at best, the Pitmen will continue to play in the Europa League, but the Donetsk team have proven before that there are no authorities for them in the most prestigious continental football tournament. Yes, there are a lot of young people in Shakhtar now, but the leading players have vast international experience accumulated in matches at the club level and for the Ukrainian national team.
– And yet, who do you consider the favorite in today’s fight?
– “Porto”, which has a lot of mature football players. Yes, Porto is also losing leaders who move to wealthier clubs for big money. But it’s interesting that they only sell those players who already have an equivalent replacement. In this we need to follow the example of Porto, which is why the Portuguese are predominantly very stable, both in the international and domestic arena.
– You named the favorite, then please clarify with what score the Portuguese club will win?
– Why will he win immediately? The favorites don’t always win. So I am inclined to think that in Hamburg everything will end in a 1:1 draw. And this will be a good start for the Pitmen.
– In your opinion, what can help Shakhtar not lose?
– I already spoke about experience. Secondly, motivation, the Pitmen in the Champions League, as a rule, please with the desire to play through I can’t. Still, it is after fights like today’s that you can find yourself on the radar of scouts of foreign giants. Thirdly, although Porto operates intensively, the Donetsk team can compete with it in speed. It is mobility that can become a reliable assistant for Shakhtar in finding the shortest path to the opponent’s goal.
– But so far Shakhtar, even in the UPL championship, are unconvincing in attack.
– This is really a problem, and then, as luck would have it, “tip” Traore was out for a long time due to injury. Today, much will depend on the choice of the Pitmen’s helmsman Patrick van Leeuwen, who must weigh everything and settle on an effective tactical scheme. By the way, perhaps it is so difficult for Shakhtar to win in the UPL championship because there is a new head coach at the helm. It takes time for his players to adapt to his requirements and imbue him with his playing philosophy.
– Unfortunately, today not only Traore, but also leading defenders Mykola Matvienko and Valeriy Bondar will not help Shakhtar.
– These are serious losses. On the other hand, this is a chance for rotation players to prove themselves. I think that in the debut Shakhtar will act very carefully so as not to miss an early goal. When he is convinced of what the opponent is worth, he will gradually move the game away from his goal. The most interesting thing will happen after the break. I believe in Shakhtar.