Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Real Madrid: 3 things that will shape the outcome

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Real Madrid travel to Ukraine in search of the three points that will see them finish top of Group A.

Donetsk won't be their destination however, thanks to the troubles that still exist in the region. Instead, the game will be played 1,200 kilometers away in Lviv.

Shakhtar may well be designated as the home side, but given that their natural fan base is at the opposite end of the country, it arguably hands the advantage immediately to their visitors.


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Rafa Benitez's side arrive in the country fresh from a stern El Clasico test and ready to do battle. Let's take a look at three things that could shape the outcome.

Fortress Lviv

The hosts have lost just five matches in official competitions going back to September 2014.

Unfortunately for them, three of those have been in the Champions League - even group minnows Malmo turned the Ukrainians over last time out.

Only Paris Saint-Germain and Dnipro have managed to outfox Shakhtar on their own patch, however, so the assignment, especially taking into account the journey, could prove a little tougher than Madrid might like.

Temperatures of -3 are expected by kick off, another factor that may fall in the home side's favour.

Perfect ten

The task that awaits Shakhtar is enormous.

Los Blancos have already seen ten shut-outs this season and with Keylor Navas continuing in such fine form, there is every reason to think that he will protect his proud record in Lviv.

Real may have to do so without Sergio Ramos at the heart of their defence as the ex-Sevilla man has an operation on a troublesome shoulder.

Pepe and Raphael Varane have more than enough about them as a partnership to keep the likes of Taison, Fred and Viacheslav Shevchuk at bay - none of whom have found the net in this season's competition.

Record Ronaldo

No doubting what will be on a misfiring Cristiano Ronaldo's mind. Goals, goals, goals.

During a few recent games, the Portuguese star has looked out of sorts, even anonymous at times.

He'll want to change that and the sooner the better. Top scorer already in this campaign, and five goals ahead of nearest rival Lionel Messi in the all-time list, a goal or two here will do wonders for a player who doesn't often suffer with a crisis of confidence.

With Gareth Bale back to supply the bullets and Karim Benzema also over his recent injury troubles, the return of 'BBC' could not have been more timely.

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UEFA Champions League
Gareth Bale
Karim Benzema
Cristiano Ronaldo
James Rodriguez
Real Madrid

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