Real Madrid will be hoping for a repeat of their 5-0 victory last month when they host Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday night.
Apart from the dominant win, Real have failed to impress in the Champions League this season, barely squeezing past Inter 1-0 on the opening day before slipping to an almost credible 2-1 loss to the Minnows Sheriff.
However, Shakhtar have fared much worse, with their solid performance in the group stage last season – when they finished above Inter and only missed a knockout spot on a head-to-head record – now a distant memory.
They have not yet scored in the competition, and they only get points thanks to a goalless draw with an underperforming Inter side.
Here is everything you need to know before the match …
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November 1, 2021
When is kick off? Wednesday 3 November, 17:45 (GMT)Where is the match played? Santiago Bernabeu TV channel / livestream? BT Sport (UK), Paramount + (USA)Highlights? BT Sport YouTube channelJudge? Benoît BastienWHERE? Willy Delajod
Benzema is available / Soccrates Images / GettyImages
Long-term absence from Real Gareth Bale, Dani Ceballos and Federico Valverde will all be watching this from the stands.
More worrying. Talisman Karim Benzema was also in doubt after missing the team’s match against Elche. However, he should be back for this one after returning to training this week.
Rodrygo is likely to be absent, while Mariano is definitely gone after suffering a blow to the nose this weekend.
Shakhtar’s attacking options are weakened with the highly ranked Lassina Traore and Junior Moraes both out.
At the back, Mykola Matvienko will not play a role, in another blow for ex-Sassuolo coach Roberto De Zerbi.
Real Madrid: Courtois; Vazquez, Militao, Alaba, Mendy; Kroos, Casemiro, Modric; Hazard, Benzema, Vinicius Jr
Shakhtar Donetsk: Trubin; Dodo, Kyvtsov, Marlon, Ismaily; Maycon, Stepanenko, Antonio; Tete, Fernando, Solomon
As you may remember, Shakhtar doubled over Real in last season’s Champions League group stage.
They won the first match 3-2 in Madrid, before securing a more comfortable 2-0 victory at home. Yes, almost at home. Shakhtar is currently playing in Kiev due to the ongoing instability in Donetsk.
Before these meeting pairs, the two sides also took part in the group game 2015/16. Real won both of these matches, 4-3 and 4-0 respectively.
Last time Real gave a sharp reminder of how good they can be when everything clicks.
Although it seems unlikely with five goals this time, if Los Blancos can come close to replicating that performance, Shakhtar has little chance to stop the flow – especially with Benzema back in the fold.
Prediction: Real Madrid 3-0 Shakhtar Donetsk
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