Real Madrid lost to Shakhtar Donetsk twice in the Champions League group stages last season, as they needed to be undefeated in their four matches against Borussia Monchengladbach and Inter Milan in order to progress into the knockout rounds of the 2020-2021 Champions League.
This year, Real started their Champions League campaign with a narrow win over Inter, needing a late goal from Rodrygo Goes, set up by young substitute Eduardo Camavinga in his UCL debut for Los Blancos, to win. They then lost their second match of the campaign, falling on the wrong end of a 2-1 upset against Sheriff.
This Tuesday, Los Merengues will seek revenge on Shakhtar in a road match. And they must exact vengeance on the Ukrainian sleepers without three attacking players, who will all be out for this third Matchday of the 2021-2022 Champions League.
According to a report from Manu de Juan of AS, Real Madrid will not have Eden Hazard available, as he still has not recovered from an injury scare in Belgium’s heartbreaking 3-2 UEFA Nations League loss to France.
Joining him injured are attacking midfielder Isco and striker Luka Jovic. The magician from Malaga has aggravated a back injury that he suffered before the break and the last fixture against Espanyol.
Jovic’s injury could be the most serious of the three. The Serbian star suffered an ankle injury during training this weekend, and there are fears he could be out for a significant period of time. Madridistas will need to keep a close eye on this status. Last season, Real Madrid were forced to use Mariano Diaz, including in the Champions League knockout stages, when both superstar striker Karim Benzema and Jovic were injured. That is far from an ideal situation.
Shakhtar are a tough team, as Madridistas found out first-hand last season. Real Madrid have Vinicius Junior on the left wing, Benzema at striker, and Marco Asensio in the attacking midfield as a bench option if needed. None of these attacking players missing on Tuesday night will be crucial starters, but they are all great options off the bench for Carlo Ancelotti. So the available players must really buckle down and get the job done, especially with the Sheriff defeat still fresh.