Shakhtar Donetsk RB Leipzig Champions League

Shakhtar Donetsk – RB Leipzig: Leipzig Ruthlessly Dash Shakhtar’s Knockout Dreams (0-4)

It was a decisive night of Champions League football in Group F. On the final day of the group stage, Shakhtar Donetsk and RB Leipzig faced off in what essentially was an elimination match before the knockouts as the winner would get a berth in the Round of Sixteen. In the end, the German side prevailed without really having to break a sweat.

Tactical analysis and match report by Neel Shelat.

The 2022/23 season has been an unprecedented one in the world of Ukrainian football. In spite of the Russian invasion, over seventy top-flight league fixtures have been played on Ukrainian soil, albeit in empty stadiums. The 2021/22 season was, of course, suspended suddenly so no champion was crowned, but Shakhtar Donetsk won direct qualification to the Champions League by virtue of being placed first. They have been playing their continental matches in Poland, and had done a remarkable job of staying in contention for the knockouts till the very end of the group stage.

They got what arguably was the biggest result of their season (prior to kick-off in this match) in the reverse fixture when they put four past Leipzig in Germany. That ended up costing Domenico Tedesco his job, and he was eventually replaced by Marco Rose. The 46-year-old head coach had properly imprinted his preferred style of play on the side now and they were starting to reap rewards with an unbeaten streak of nine matches, of which seven were wins, heading into this one.

Shakhtar lined up in their usual 4-3-3 formation. Anatoliy Trubin was in goal behind a back line Yukhym Konoplya, Valeriy Bondar, Mykola Matviyenko and Bogdan Mykhaylychenko. Captain Taras Stepanenko . . .

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