Champions League

Shakhtar need victory for the nation

2015-02-17 13:32
Shakhtar Donetsk (File)

Kiev - Shakhtar Donetsk are hoping a surprise Champions League victory over 2013 winners Bayern Munich on Tuesday can bring some brief cheer to their troubled nation.

Ukraine's military said on Monday that Russian-backed separatists had shelled a district in the eastern city of Donetsk despite the ceasefire negotiated by the leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine in Belarus on Thursday.

The ceasefire had forseen the creation of a neutral 'buffer zone' and withdrawal of heavy weapons responsible for many of the 5 000 deaths in a conflict that has caused the worst crisis in Russia-West relations since the Cold War a generation ago.

"We need victory more than ever before with regard to the situation we are experiencing, for our supporters in Donetsk," Shakhtar chief executive Sergei Palkin told the Football 1 TV channel.

The Ukrainian champions have been forced to play their home games in Lviv, more than 1,000-km from Donetsk, since July.

Bundesliga leaders Bayern are in top form, having thumped Hamburg SV 8-0 on Saturday, but Palkin believes his coach Mirceu Lucescu is more than capable of tactically outsmarting Bayern counterpart Pep Guardiola in the first leg of their last-16 encounter.

"Lucescu may definitely outplay Guardiola but it is important our players put into practice all his instructions," he said.

"They have to give all they have... and put pressure on in every area of the pitch. This is the only situation that gives us a chance."


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