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.
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
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 trial 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.”
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
- 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)
- Dinamo Zagreb vs. Atalanta (8pm, live on BT Sport Extra 3)
- Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Manchester City (8pm, live on BT Sport 3)
- Atlético Madrid vs. Juventus (8pm, live on BT Sport ESPN)
- Bayer 04 Leverkusen vs. Lokomotiv Moscow (8pm, live on BT Sport Extra 4)