Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Game to Watch: Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Juventus
by Samuel Charles, December 4th, 2012 12:51AM

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

[UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE] Group leader Shakhtar Donetsk hosts Juventus in Ukraine on Wednesday where freezing temperatures are expected for the final round's hottest ticket. The Italian champion needs at least a tie to guarantee progression, and eliminate reigning titleholder Chelsea.

VIEWING: Shakhtar Donetsk-Juventus- Wednesday 2:45pm ET, FoxSoccer2Go.com

Group E: Shakhtar Donetsk has 10 points, Juventus 9, Chelsea 7 and FC Nordsjaelland 1. Chelsea hosts FCN on Wednesday. Juve is the only team remaining that can still win its group, or be eliminated.

Scenarios: Juve advances with a tie, and wins the group by beating Shakhtar. Chelsea advances only by beating FCN as Juve loses, which eliminates Juve. Shakhtar has advanced, and wins the group with a tie or better.

Prevailing wisdom said Shakhtar would finish third in Group E, as Chelsea and Juventus battled for first. Thinking that ignored the vast quantities the Ukrainian power brings to bear in a couple coveted categories -- talented Brazilians and cold hard cash.

Shakhtar has nine Brazilian players, all attackers or midfielders. Fernandinho is an incredible box-to-box player who appeared for the Selecao, as did Ilsinho, and Willian, who has four goals in five UCL games. Alex Teixeira and Douglas Costa are creative threats, although Luiz Adriano is suspended in this game for his deplorable goal after a drop-ball in the 5-2 win at FCN.

How does a mining town in a frigid climate 7,000 miles from Sao Paolo, like Donetsk, lure all these gifted Brazilians to play for Mircea Lucescu, formerly of Inter Milan? Its not rocket science.

"Of course money is the main thing," Fernandinho told AFP

Shakhtar’s owner, Rinat Akhmetov, is worth $16 billion, or $4 billion more than Chelsea’s Roman Abramovich. Juve’s 3-0 domination of Chelsea during round five in Italy saw Abramovich fire another coach. Roberto Di Matteo, who won Chelsea’s first Champions League trophy last spring, was let go, and Rafa Benitez took over.

Juventus and Shakhtar tied in Turin two months ago, 1-1. While disappointed with the draw, Andrea Pirlo, Gigi Buffon, Giorgio Chiellini, Arturo Vidal, Claudio Marchisio, Kwadwo Asamoah and Juve’s goalscorers by committee, may be happy to see another tie on Wednesday. But the two-time European Cup winner must choose between pushing for a victory, which would earn it a second-place opponent in the knockout stages, or settling for a draw, which may be hard to come by.

What to Watch: These two teams may feel each other out for a bit, but there will be goals, and the first will put immense pressure on someone. Either Shakhtar will be in danger of losing its top seed at home, or Juve will be facing elimination, there should be high drama either way.

Shakhtar has won every home game this season, and this is one of two its had circled for months, it beat Chelsea 2-1 in the other. Shakhtar tops the group with a tie, but its fans, its billionaire owner and its bevy of Brazilians are gifted, confident, and starving for the spotlight. They will be seeking to impress, and that means playing to win.

However, Juventus is incredibly rugged, physical, and refuses to lose. It went 49 straight games unbeaten in Serie A, and proved it again during the opening game at Chelsea, recovering from two goals down, and leaving with a 2-2 tie.

That comeback at Stamford Bridge could be the reason Chelsea goes home instead of Juve --- if this game ends in a thoroughly entertaining draw, as I predict.

Notes: Armenian Henrikh Mkhitaryan, with 18 goals in 17 league games, is a non-Brazilian on Shakhtar to keep your eye on. ... After earning its first Champions League title last spring, Chelsea could be the first winner ever knocked out after the group stages -- just six months later. ... Persistent rumors suggest Juve will pursue a big money striker in January, if it advances, which would make it a real threat to win the tournament, as it will also have its head coach back. Antonio Conte’s suspension ends on Saturday.



1 comment
  1. Andres Yturralde
    commented on: December 4, 2012 at 11:08 a.m.
    Awesome breakdown. Thank you.


Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
MLS Trade Central: Friday's deals    
After two disastrous years in England, Brek Shea is back in MLS, signing with expansion club ...
MLS lines up exciting tripleheader for first Sunday    
MLS will open its 2015 season on March 6 when the defending champion LA Galaxy hosts ...
Video Pick: Alex Meier on Fire     
The leading scorer in the Europe's highest scoring league is a player you may not have ...
What They're Saying: Chris Wondolowski    
"I'm not over it. I'm not sure I'll ever get over it. [Pause] I actually think ...
U.S. U-20s win at San Pedro Sula    
San Pedro Sula is no easy place to play as the USA (2-1 loser in the ...
Press and Lloyd combine for all seven in U.S. win    
After a tie and loss in its first two games at the Torneio Internacional da Brasilia, ...
What They're Saying: Juergen Klopp    
"He took a wrong turn at some point. But everything is back to normal now. He ...
TV Report: MLS expansion teams ink local deals    
As expected, New York City FC has entered into a multi-year agreement with YES Network, while ...
Timbers land Wake's Vidovich to run T2    
The Portland Timbers, who dipped into the college ranks to get head coach Caleb Porter, have ...
Veterans in demand as Re-Entry Draft concludes    
Stage 2 of the 2014 MLS Re-Entry Draft offered up fair doses of everything, as did ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives