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Preview: Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Inter Milan - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Tuesday's Champions League clash between Shakhtar Donetsk and Inter Milan, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Both Shakhtar Donetsk and Inter Milan will be looking to bounce back from opening-night Champions League defeats when they lock horns in Ukraine on Tuesday evening.

Shakhtar started their Group D campaign with a 2-0 defeat at Sheriff Tiraspol on September 15, while Inter suffered a 1-0 home loss to Spanish giants Real Madrid in their section opener.

Match preview

Shakhtar Donetsk head coach Roberto De Zerbi attends a news conference on June 15, 2021© Reuters

Shakhtar would have fancied their chances of getting their Group D campaign underway with a win over competition debutants Sheriff on September 15, but goals from Adama Traore and Momo Yansane decided the contest, meaning that there is already pressure on the Ukrainian outfit in the section.

Roberto De Zerbi's side have made a fine start to their domestic campaign, though, picking up 22 points from their nine matches to sit second in the table, and they will enter Tuesday's contest off the back of a 4-1 home success over Veres Rivne on Saturday afternoon.

Shakhtar's run of four straight domestic titles was ended last season by Dynamo Kiev, and they actually finished the campaign without a trophy for the first time since 2014-15. As a result, the Miners started their European campaign in the third qualifying round and had to beat Genk and Monaco to advance to the group stages.

The Ukrainian giants have previous when it comes to advancing deep in this competition, reaching the quarter-finals in 2010-11, but they have been knocked out in the group stage in 11 of their previous 15 participations, and a big effort will be required to finish either first or second in the group.

Shakhtar have only actually won four of their last 20 Champions League fixtures, while they have not beaten Inter in any of their five previous meetings, drawing three and losing two of such encounters.

Inter Milan coach Simone Inzaghi reacts on September 12, 2021© Reuters

Inter, meanwhile, suffered a 1-0 loss to Real Madrid in their Group D opener, with Rodrygo's 89th-minute effort proving to be the difference between the two sides at San Siro.

Simone Inzaghi's side are unbeaten in their three matches since the one-goal reverse, though, overcoming Bologna and Fiorentina in the league before sharing the points at home to Atalanta BC on Saturday.

A total of 14 points from six matches has left Inter in third spot in Serie A, two points behind division leaders AC Milan, and the Italian champions will now be hoping to kickstart their Champions League campaign, as it would be seen as a failure if they were unable to advance to the knockout round of the competition.

Inter are the last Italian side to win the Champions League - lifting the trophy in 2010 - but each of their last three campaigns have ended in the group stage; last term, they only managed to win one of their six matches to finish fourth, which also saw them fail to drop into the Europa League.

Shakhtar's Champions League record in terms of victories will concern their fans, but the Nerazzurri have won only three of their last 17 matches in this competition, suffering eight defeats in the process.

Shakhtar Donetsk Champions League form:
  • L

Shakhtar Donetsk form (all competitions):
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W

Inter Milan Champions League form:
  • L

Inter Milan form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • D

Team News

Inter Milan's Lautaro Martinez celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates on September 12, 2021© Reuters

Shakhtar will hope to have Mykola Matvienko available for the contest, with the centre-back missing out against Veres at the weekend due to a head injury.

Fernando and Junior Moraes will both be unavailable for the home side, though, meaning that there could be a spot in a wide area for Marlos.

Head coach De Zerbi will certainly make changes from Saturday's league fixture, with Maycon, Dodo, Lassina Traore and Ismaily among those set to return for the European fixture.

As for Inter, Arturo Vidal, Joaquin Correa, Stefano Sensi and Gabriel Brazao will all miss Tuesday's European contest through injury, but the Italian outfit did not suffer any fresh issues against Atalanta on Saturday.

There are not expected to be any surprises in the away side's XI, with Edin Dzeko again set to join Lautaro Martinez in a front two, while Ivan Perisic and Matteo Darmian should operate as the wing-backs.

Denzel Dumfries and Matias Vecino are among the players pushing for spots in the side, but Inzaghi could decide to name an unchanged side from Saturday's league affair.

Shakhtar Donetsk possible starting lineup:
Pyatov; Dodo, Marlon, Matvienko, Ismaily; Maycon, Antonio; Tete, Pedrinho, Marlos; Traore

Inter Milan possible starting lineup:
Handanovic; Skriniar, De Vrij, Bastoni; Darmian, Barella, Brozovic, Calhanoglu, Perisic; Martinez, Dzeko

SM words green background

We say: Shakhtar Donetsk 1-2 Inter Milan

This is a difficult match to call, with both sides under pressure to pick up a result due to their losses on matchday one. We are expecting a tight game in Ukraine but believe that Inter's superior quality, particularly in the final third, will just shine through to help them pick up an important three points.

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Inter Milan's Lautaro Martinez celebrates scoring against AC Milan in Serie A on February 21, 2021
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