Shakhtar meets Dortmund in Champions League
DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) — Shakhtar Donetsk hasn't been sitting idly by during the Ukrainian league winter break, waiting to welcome German champion Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday in the first leg of the last 16 of the Champions League.
The three-month winter break doesn't end in Ukraine until March 1, but Shakhtar has been playing friendlies, and won 10 out of 12.
The team is at full strength and is excited to showcase its newest acquisition, 25-year-old Brazilian forward Taison, who came from Kharkiv Metalist during the winter transfer window.
"We have to keep a clean sheet at home. Shakhtar is working for this match as if it was a final," Taison said after a friendly with Zenit St. Petersburg in Dubai on Jan. 22.
Shakhtar reached the knockout stage at the expense of defending champion Chelsea, while Dortmund successfully made it through a group that also included English champion Manchester City.
To reach the quarterfinals for the first time since 1998, Dortmund will have to once again demonstrate superb play on the road against a formidable opponent that is quickly making a name for itself in Europe.
Dortmund will also need to bounce back from a 4-1 loss at home to seventh-place Hamburg over the weekend.
Firmly in second place in the Bundesliga, Dortmund will be without midfielder Kevin Grosskreutz, who has the flu, and influential defensive midfielder Ilkay Guendogan, who has an inflamed toe. Left back Marcel Schmelzer is back after a foot injury.
Sports Photo Galleriesview all
- 27538Oklahoma tornadoes: The 'Big Dog,' the little boy and the hug that triumphs over tragedy
- 15649Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms drink in success of 'Hangover' series
- 10393Oklahoma tornadoes: Woman meets the military officer who shared the clothes off his back
- 9809Oklahoma tornadoes: Thunder reverses the role, takes a turn at cheering on the community
- 9381Hobby Lobby argues case before federal judges
- 8402Story behind the photo: Family members describe desperate search for one another after EF5 twister
- 8325Blake Shelton's "Healing the Heartland" televised tornado benefit set for Wednesday at Chesapeake Energy Arena