Shakhtar were saved in the match against Hoffenheim

Shakhtar were saved in the match against Hoffenheim

Shakhtar Donetsk had a draw with the German Hoffenheim in the debut match of the Champions League group stage. Nagelsmann’s team took the lead twice, but could not hold the victory on the Kharkiv stadium pitch.

Unlike the Tuesday matches we mentioned, there were practically no similarities in the match between Shakhtar and Hoffenheim. The Donetsk side, which plays by Lucescu’s record with 4-2-3-1 formation, came out against Nagelsmann’s progressive team, who put his players on the pitch in 3-3-1-3 formation.

The Ukrainian team did not expect immediate pressing from the guests, therefore the goal on the sixth minute after the ball loss in the midfield from Patrick looked surprising. Bittencourt using Hoffenheim’s numerical advantage in the midfield cut through lost Khocholava and Rakitskiy with his pass and Grillitsch threw the ball right over Andriy Pyatov. By the way, the Shakhtar goalkeeper spent a bad match, but we will return to that later.

The Miners tried to respond, but they way to Baumann’s goal was closed through the central zone and the wings could not accelerate. The problem became the reason for Shakhtar still playing by Lucescu’s working pattern, but without confident full-backs in performance of Srna and Shevchuk. However, Ismaily proved that not only Marcelo is allowed to go on the run in Brazil. Having got the ball on the left wing, the left defender swept through to the penalty box, put Nordtveit on the lawn and shot to the far corner. However, 11 minutes later Nordtveit responded with a goal to Pyatov’s net from the curl after a corner kick. The Donetsk team’s goalkeeper went on interception and as it often happens in his career didn’t reach the ball.

In the second half of the match Shakhtar took over the initiative and Kovalenko’s replacement for Bolbat shook up the hosts’ midfield line. Permanent threats to Baumann’s goal and final 63% ball possession in the second half meant future danger from the hosts. The substitute from Paulo Fonseca was extremely timely. Maicon replaced Alan Patrick, who became the reason for the first conceded goal, and the Brazilian, having broken away from guarding bitingly shot to bottom left corner of Hoffenheim goal.

The German team once again proved that Nagelsmann taught them to use space in offense. Whereas the defense still looks quite vulnerable. At the same time Shakhtar, the advantage of which was always confident defense and midfield, lost in the aspect in the first half of the match. Thankfully for the Ukrainians, the accurate replacements of Paulo Fonseca and Ismaily’s individual qualities allowed the Miners to get one point.