In Review

Champions League: Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Man City preview, team news, predictions, TV and live stream details

Fernandinho is set to play in defence for Pep Guardiola’s injury-hit side

Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Manchester City
  • What: Uefa Champions League group C, matchday one 
  • When: Wednesday 18 September 
  • Where: OSK Metalist Stadion, Kharkiv, Ukraine 
  • Kick-off time: 8pm (BST) 
  • TV and live stream: BT Sport 3 and sport.bt.com

Manchester City have a defensive injury crisis with only one fit centre-half available for the Champions League group C opener against Shakhtar Donetsk. 

Aymeric Laporte is out until the new year with a knee injury and John Stones has joined him on the sidelines. England international Stones is ruled for four to five weeks with a muscle injury. 

With Nicolas Otamendi the only fit central defender, City boss Pep Guardiola is set to pick midfielder Fernandinho in his backline on Wednesday night. 

Guardiola said: “He will do well because my players are well. We will create something, it is what it is.”

The Manchester Evening News added: “The Brazil midfielder has trained specifically in that role this summer, once it became clear that the club would not sign Harry Maguire.

“Fernandinho has not started a game yet this season after arriving late for pre-season - he was injured whilst on Copa America duty in the summer.”

City come into the match off the back of a 3-2 loss against Norwich at the weekend. But despite their defensive issues the Premier League champions will be confident of securing a result in the Ukraine.

In the 2018-19 group stage City hit nine without reply in the two games against Shakhtar.

Dinamo Zagreb host Atalanta in the other group C fixture (8pm, live on BT Sport Extra 3).

TV and live stream details

The group C game at the OSK Metalist Stadion is live on BT Sport 3. Coverage begins at 7.15pm and the match kicks off at 8pm. There is also a live stream of the game on sport.bt.com for BT Sport customers.

Man City head coach Pep Guardiola watches his side in action against Wolves in Shanghai

Lintao Zhang/Getty Images for Premier League

Team news and starting XIs

Shakhtar Donetsk team news

Uefa.com says midfielder Andriy Totovytskyi and defender Davit Khocholava are on the injury list for Shakhtar. Brazilian attacking midfielder Taison is also a doubt, but may be fit to start.

Man City team news

Nicolas Otamendi and Fernandinho are set to start as the centre-half partnership and the Manchester Evening News also predicts that City will give a full debut to right-back Joao Cancelo. 

Midfielder Phil Foden is out because of a virus while winger Leroy Sane is out long term with a knee injury.

Pep Guardiola is likely to stick with his favoured 4-3-3 formation and in attack Riyad Mahrez, Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus could start as the front three. Sergio Aguero and Bernardo Silva are other options available for Guardiola.

How the teams could line up
  • Shakhtar Donetsk possible starting XI (4-2-3-1): Pyatov; Bolbat, Krivtsov, Matviyenko, Ismaily; Stepanenko, Alan; Konoplyanka, Marlos, Taison; Moraes
  • Man City possible starting XI (4-3-3): Ederson; Cancelo, Otamendi, Fernandinho, Zinchenko; De Bruyne, Rodri, Silva; Mahrez, Jesus, Sterling
Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling celebrates the winning goal against FC Schalke 04

Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images

Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Man City pundit predictions

Darren Plant, SportsMole

“While City are having to contend with defensive issues, it would come as a surprise if they do not get three points on the board on Wednesday night. Shakhtar have the quality to pose a threat going forward, although they may struggle to keep their opponents out at the other end. Prediction: Shakhtar Donetsk 1-3 Manchester City.”

James Richards, Squawka 

“How will Manchester City react to the defeat at Carrow Road? That is the key question everybody is asking and with good reason. They have a massive advantage over a Shakhtar side that is a far cry from the glory days, one they in fact beat 9-0 across their two meetings in the previous campaign. Pep’s side cannot be complacent, but given the form of Raheem Sterling, there is unlikely to be an upset so we are going for a comfortable City win. Prediction: Shakhtar Donetsk 0-3 Manchester City.”

Joe Krishnan, London Evening Standard

“Guardiola’s side may be feeling fragile after their slip-up against Norwich but they had absolutely no trouble brushing aside the Ukrainian giants in last season’s group stage. They strolled to a 3-0 success here in October last year and while their defence has been somewhat porous of late, the Premier League champions have never had trouble scoring goals - especially with Aguero and Sterling both in fine form. Expect a comfortable evening for the visitors to begin their European campaign with a morale-boosting victory. Prediction: Shakhtar 1-3 Manchester City.”

Uefa Champions League trophy

Michael Regan/Getty Images

Champions League results and fixtures 

Tuesday 17 September results
  • Group E: FC Red Bull Salzburg 6 KRC Genk 2; Napoli 2 Liverpool 0  
  • Group F: Inter Milan 1 Slavia Prague 1; Borussia Dortmund 0 Barcelona 0 
  • Group G: Lyon 1 Zenit St Petersburg 1; Benfica 1 RB Leipzig 2 
  • Group H: Ajax 3 Lille 0; Chelsea 0 Valencia 1
Wednesday 18 September fixtures    Group A
  • Club Brugge vs. Galatasaray (5.55pm live on BT Sport 1)
  • Paris Saint-Germain vs. Real Madrid (8pm, live on BT Sport 2 and BT Sport Ultimate)
Group B 
Group C 
  • Dinamo Zagreb vs. Atalanta (8pm, live on BT Sport Extra 3)  
  • Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Manchester City (8pm, live on BT Sport 3) 
Group D 
  • Atlético Madrid vs. Juventus (8pm, live on BT Sport ESPN)  
  • Bayer 04 Leverkusen vs. Lokomotiv Moscow (8pm, live on BT Sport Extra 4)

Recommended

Forget titles, Newcastle’s first battle is to avoid relegation
Newcastle’s new chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan and part-owner Amanda Staveley
View from the terraces

Forget titles, Newcastle’s first battle is to avoid relegation

Exiles, revolting prisoners and sporting health
Bashar al-Assad
Podcast

Exiles, revolting prisoners and sporting health

The Ashes: a tough task for England down under
Ben Stokes: England’s missing talisman
In Focus

The Ashes: a tough task for England down under

‘Poisoned chalice’: a tough job for Raducanu’s next coach
Emma Raducanu was beaten by Aliaksandra Sasnovich at Indian Wells
In Focus

‘Poisoned chalice’: a tough job for Raducanu’s next coach

Popular articles

The tally of Covid-19 vaccine deaths examined
Boy receiving Covid vaccine
Getting to grips with . . .

The tally of Covid-19 vaccine deaths examined

Why some PCR results are negative after a positive lateral flow test
Pupils at a school in Halifax line up for lateral flow tests
Why we’re talking about . . .

Why some PCR results are negative after a positive lateral flow test

Insulate Britain: what do they want?
Insulate Britain protesters
Profile

Insulate Britain: what do they want?

The Week Footer Banner