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Pressure mounts on Real Madrid ahead of Shakhtar clash

Real Madrid, Shakhtar Dontesk
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Real Madrid will be ‘under pressure’ to beat under-strength Shakhtar Donetsk in their Champions League curtain-raiser, reports in Spain say.

Real Madrid kick-off their Champions League journey on Wednesday night, as depleted Shakhtar, arrive at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Multiple coronavirus cases have crippled the Ukrainian side ahead of their trip to the Spanish capital. Almost the entire starting line-up won’t be able to lock horns with Zinedine Zidane’s men.

Indeed, just 13 Shakhtar’s first-team players took a trip to the Iberian Peninsula.

That said, Los Blancos will have no excuses as they look to bounce back from a shock 1-0 home defeat to newly-promoted Cadiz.

An underwhelming performance against the Andalusian minnows has led to unrest among the Real Madrid supporters and a dressing room inquest.

According to Spanish outlet AS, Zidane’s team will be under severe pressure to outpower the injury-plagued visitors.

The French manager won’t have the likes of Sergio Ramos, Alvaro Odriozola, Dani Carvajal, Martin Odegaard, and Eden Hazard at his disposal.

But, the focus will be on Real’s attack that has drawn a blank in two of five competitive outings this term.

The 13-time European Cup champions have netted just six goals so far, which is quite alarming.

After falling flat against Cadiz, Zidane’s players have a point to prove, but it remains to be seen whether they can rediscover their winning mentality.

With a trip to arch-rivals Barcelona on the horizon this weekend, Real Madrid face an uphill battle of picking up momentum against Shakhtar.