Aiming to put their Ligue 1 woes aside, Monaco is preparing to host Shakhtar Donetsk at Stade Louis II for the first leg of the Champions League playoff round on Tuesday night.
Niko Kovac’s men beat Sparta Prague 5-1 on aggregate to get here, while the visitors beat Genk 4-2 in two stages to reach the last hurdle.
Another early-season wobble has affected Monaco’s Ligue 1 title bid in the first two weeks, but with the principality team once again trying to make a name for themselves in the Champions League, their priorities may be far off. of domestic play today.
However, Kovac’s men have only taken one point out of the top six on offer in Ligue 1, with a Terem Moffi penalty giving Lorient a 1-0 win the weekend after Nantes managed a 1-1 draw in the first week of the match, and a match with the last surprise package of the season, Lens, is sandwiched between his two legs with Shakhtar.
The Monegasques are already playing catch-up with title favorite Paris Saint-Germain, but have so far had no trouble making a name for themselves in Europe, scoring 2-0 and 3-1 victories over Sparta de Prague to advance to the playoffs. round.
It will follow a season in the Europa League group stage if Monaco finally suffers the loss to Shakhtar, so Kovac’s men have a kind of safety net, but a team fighting for the Ligue 1 title until the last weeks of last season he is just prepared. dine at the upper continental table.
Monaco has gone four games without keeping a clean sheet at home in any competition, perhaps a slight concern for Kovac given Shakhtar’s fondness for goals, but with several key names ready to return from the bench, there should be no repeat. from the sadness of Saturday. exit against Lorient.
Unsurprisingly, the arrival of former Sassuolo manager Roberto De Zerbi at Shakhtar has brought many goals with it, and the thirteen-time Ukrainian champions are already firmly on their way to regain their stronghold on the national crown after Dynamo Kyiv’s dominance of the last season.
A small issue against Oleksandria aside, Shakhtar successfully marched over Inhulets, Lviv, and most recently Metalist 1925 Kharkiv on Friday night, with captain Taras Stepanenko and newcomer Lassina Traore scoring the goals against the latter in a 2-0 win.
A pair of 2-1 wins over Belgian Genk in the Champions League third qualifying round saw Shakhtar engage in a decisive battle with Monaco, and the Ukrainian giants have only lost one of their last eight league matches. Champions away from home, a streak that includes a victory over Real Madrid and draws with Manchester City and Inter Milan.
Shakhtar’s successes over Los Blancos in last season’s group stage were ultimately in vain as they failed to advance to the knockout rounds, but after having held their own against Europe’s elite teams away from home in Of late, De Zerbi has every right to feel optimistic about a positive result in Monaco.
Since the 1979-80 UEFA Cup, Monaco and Shakhtar Donetsk had not met in a competitive match, with the Ukrainian team winning 2-1 at home before suffering a 2-0 loss to withdraw in the first round, though Monaco soon lost. against Lokomotiv Sofia in the second round.